powering through the indecision



I know this isn’t exactly seasonally appropriate, but I was feeling these colors this afternoon. The camera batteries are charging as I type.

I’m working on getting some large swaths of white silk for my friend Derek’s music studio/ school— he’s asked me to dye curtains for the large window in the waiting room out front– and along the way, I’ve decided to make a large- ish curtain for our hall window, too. It’s been bothering us for months now; it isn’t placed so that anyone can see inside, and we don’t want to block the wonderful light it lets in, but we feel pretty exposed coming out of the bathroom in the mornings, even if no one can see us. It’s hard to explain how a second- story window looking out onto nothing with no building opposing can still make one feel over- exposed, but here we are. Problems that aren’t really problems.

I’ve been putting this dyejob off for months now because I wasn’t really sure how I wanted to approach it. (Yeah, I think of them as “dyejobs” too.) I’m in love with some of the multi- colored silks we were doing in the Baltimore studio, but sometimes I like the idea of a more tonal, possibly even ombre effect, too. The light in this space will create a glowing, halo effect which would radiate any color I choose, and that has me debating the relative merits of any single color scheme I try to settle on. Is less more, or just less? The surplus of options is a little crushing, and I’m getting a little precious about wasting materials (mostly, the silk). There’s a lot of research about how being presented with too many options can become overwhelming, and I do occasionally find that to be the case when creating; I’ll come to a point where the road goes in any which direction, and I’ll just… flounder for a second.

I find that when I’m stuck like this on a project, the best thing to do is just get started anyway. I know that sounds so counter- intuitive— I’m stuck, how do I get started?— and that’s a big part of the problem. I would get caught up like that all the time; I’d run into a problem, my mind would get snagged on something- frequently something pretty insignificant- and I wouldn’t be able to move forward. The military was good for breaking me out of that rut. There are times when “take a minute to figure it out” just isn’t possible, or pragmatic. I’ve learned that sometimes, if I just start doing the thing, the solution arises. It’s like writing your daily pages when you’ve got writers’ block (which is the absolute damn worst, trust me). You keep doing the thing until the magic happens again. Keep moving. Stay flexible. Don’t let those muscles get cold.

Maybe yellow? A good, clear mustard color would be nice and might go all golden and glowy in the late light. Or green, a chartreuse with some spring tones. Although I think about indigo a lot, too- it seems a little dark, maybe, for a hallway, even one as sunny as ours. Oh, or that wonderful Polyphemus Moth reddish rust— I love that color and fall is coming, it’s so inviting. I should maybe just buy a bolt of silk and leave the sewing machine out, acknowledge to myself that I’ll likely be switching this out pretty frequently.

In the meantime, what projects are you working at the moment? How do you deal with indecision and creative block? Do you take the “polar challenge” approach, like me, and just jump in, try to work through it, or does waiting it out work for you? Do you have a different approach entirely that I haven’t heard of yet? (If so, fill a girl in, please.)



  One thought on “powering through the indecision

  1. Sarah
    August 3, 2016 at 6:27 pm

    This post couldn’t have been more timely. I’ve felt stagnate for weeks. Our move really threw off my game. I spent three weeks solid packing and moving. Now that I’m in our new place, it’s cluttered, cramped, and I need to unpack. I’ve spent three weeks waiting for help to get my shelving put up so I am able to start unpacking. We finally paid someone to get the units out of the garage and up the two flights of stairs to the apartment.

    I put the first one together and filled, it’s like he entire house opened up. I have space. I have room to breathe. I have room to get my groove back. Now it’s a matter of getting motivated to work through the heat. ❤

    • August 3, 2016 at 6:30 pm

      I know the feeling- it took us what felt like forever to unpack the second bedroom, and not having access to my supplies made me feel a little like a caged animal. The heat, though, that’s just a hate to be borne. ❤

  2. August 4, 2016 at 11:33 am

    Usually if I’m honest my stumbling blocks are about something else. Sometimes silly things, sometimes big lurking (and even unrelated) issues. My two approaches to progress are usually some mix of what you have here… Sometimes it is doing a piece where I don’t have to make a choice yet but it pushes it forward – Cutting the fabric, mounting the curtain rod, whatever. But sometimes it means pivoting to something that makes my heart sing, so I can come back to what I’m doing with fresh eyes and a more relaxed mind. And although I act like everything I’m doing is unrelated, I’ve learned that following my wandering mind (within limits ;>) often solves problems in much more interesting ways than I might have done pre-wander.

  3. annacorgihillfarm
    August 4, 2016 at 9:44 pm

    I have an odd approach to crafting, not dyeing, the other stuff I do. If it’s beading I’ll look for a bead that I’m low on or almost out of. Then I design around that bit and use it up. Sometimes I’ll pull out all of one type of crafting material, organize it all differently and pull out bits and pieces in a pile, use that up. Other times I get on a color kick. All the purples!!! All the reds!!!

    I tend to be far more disciplined with the fiber dyeing. I look to see where the inventory is low either in fiber type or color family and work from that.

    Mostly if I have the energy, after doing the MUST do things, I just dive in. If something doesn’t work out I take it apart and make it into something else. When all else fails if I fubar something, well, there’s always the bin.

    I will say I have difficulty creating from chaos. It’s much easier for me to work from order.

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