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.)