finding inspiration

crochet :: square doilies

so these are the colors for an installational component i'm making for my show. they relate directly to a series of drawings. i'm making square doilies. they are going to be "key" - to inform you of the meanings of the colors in the drawings....

i wish i could own a whole wall of crochet thread - like what they have in lacis. i'd want to just keep it like an art object...

||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||| shift gears..... |||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||

been thinking a lot lately about how i feel like the larger conversations going on - at least the ones i've been a part of, and i'm talking political, art, life - feel like they are so retro. like we are back in 1980-something. and i keep finding myself muttering [mostly to myself] really? really? we have to discuss this again in this way? really ?!?! isn't there a better, newer, more interesting way to talk about this now???  maybe part of it is that i'm feeling tapped out. making a body of work for a show is really draining.  i'm looking for a "fill -up" in terms of inspiration and instead i'm feeling like i'm being bombarded with things that aren't helping. and feeling like just re-hashing isn't the best use of brain-powers.

i rambled in my sketchbook the other day:

the constant seeking... it stems from where? and what - REALLY- am i hoping to find?
the doubt and the fear creep in and sit alongside a very small kernel of hope. 
what should be most nurtured is also so easily pushed aside.

for what?
what fills that empty space? 
i keep thinking about ruts. the significance of them. the comfort. the routine.
but then the eventual rebellion.
how many days can you eat yogurt with cashews and apricot jam before you just want something else?

flavor of the month

it seems rarer and rarer that i encounter something that just seems pure intentioned. 
that sings.
and then sings to me.
and then through me.
that makes me want to do more.
try more.
is this just growing older?
or am i allowing cynicism to overtake.
or is it something all together different?
and so.
i still seek.

and for that i'm grateful.


and so here are some things that i find inspiring and "true". a quote from jim jarmusch. a quote from kurt vonnecut. a snippet from ira glass of this american life [from a series on storytelling that i make my students watch a part of semester after semester]. and elizabeth gilbert's ted talk on nuturing creativity. i haven't read [nor do i think i will] eat, pray, love - but her talk. her talk is good. in many ways. 

happy spring.
there's a post on poppytalk - latest make believe collection
still time to get $5 worth of jet pens goodies if you are so inclined....


Oh... so many things to comment on from your post. Firstly, Jim Jarmusch has to be one of my fav directors, writers, producers and I'm liking his quote even though the artist in me cringes at the way he encourages to 'steal' but I think he's right in saying nothing is original but authenticity is invaluable... In regards to the conversations you are having, my theory is that we each develop our theories on certain topics and probably re-hash those time and again because we find them to be our truth on the subject and want to get our point across... maybe? Or maybe you just need to have the same discussions with different people? And lastly, loved the TED talk by Elizabeth Gilbert. I have to admit I'd never heard of her before Eat, Pray, Love. She's so on target about the fear things within the arts. I think it's because we take our life experiences, our really personal responses to them and create something from them to be put on public display to potentially be shot down in flames... or not, maybe just the act of making things so public is what leaves us feeling vulnerable... and on that note here's the link to another great TED talk by Brene Brown on The Power of Vulnerability.. it's really worth watching:
oh my.. and oh dear. funny i had a blurb years ago after i first saw Liz Gilbert's ted talk:

though i'm not sure my blurb will help you in any way.. i just want to add that I feel you. whatever that it, that morsel of hope - aspiring for a heart that sings instead of mumbles, i'm all for that. tired of wearing a straight face, out-witting anyone at a game we're all bound to lose. its alright. we're already there. here. its perfect. :)
Kathryn said…
Amazing quotes, love. And love those threads, sigh.

I have to say Gilbert's talk doesn't do much for me except annoy me. Everyone thinks differently. It goes back to why I put down her book after a few pages when the topic of religion comes up. The whole notion to just leave the idea of creativity up to chance and some other entity drives me batty. My belief is that persistence, hard work, and only awareness of yourself and how you work brings success (or failure) in what you do. I think she's on to something but the way she talks about it as an outside element, just seems like a cop out to me. If you succeed, it's because you worked hard to be authentic to yourself and your idea. If you fail, you missed something, and the best thing about failing is, you learn from those mistakes. Hope that makes sense! ;-)
lisa s said…
gaby - thanks for your comment - i have watched the vulnerability one and like it a lot too.... ;)

katerina - it's always nice to read/see/know of other artists and their own inner turmoil/struggle...

kathryn - i like your point. and mostly agree. i was more interested in gilbert's thoughts on the fear -

but i have to say - that for me it's not JUST about working hard to get authentic and then success. i agree that failing is good b/c you learn from whatever mistakes - and hopefully can figure out how to re-invent or rectify them. but i do think there is something to be said about the act of making itself - the process of it. for me sometimes when i'm NOT in my head and working hard or working toward the idea is when something magical and really GOOD happens for the work. i don't subscribe to an outside element per se - but i think it's interesting to think about where creative pressure comes from. and i do think there is a larger consciousness in terms of creativity that many artists tap into. and that sometimes it's best just to get out of my own damn way.

my interpretation isn't to just leave everything up to chance but to instead allow for some relief. you are not wholeheartedly a genius or a failure based on one piece of work [or even a series of works]. and if it helps to think about the working coming from an outside source - what is the harm? i think truly successful work does stem from hard work and introspection - but i also still really believe there's often an indescribable other component that comes in. that epiphany - ah-ha - oh my god i'm so glad i've seen this moment... it feels otherworldly in a really good way. :)
Kathryn said…
Great reply! I wonder though what happens when you reverse it. If things are going badly, you can blame it on that outside source and miss something about you that you need to be aware of. I guess I'm coming off a lunch I had last week with a friend who blamed all of her bad luck (and there was a hell of a lot of it) on that outside force and was making no effort to fix it. Like it was beyond her means. I guess that's where that reluctance to be open to an outside force comes from, when it can be used against you. I agree wholeheartedly about that gleeful moment when you are in 'flow' in the studio. I just think of it as tuning out my inner turmoils and just not thinking sometimes. Sorry, I tend to SOO rational about everything which drives people crazy sometimes. This is something you'll figure out about me soon!
lisa s said…
i call that victimhood - and i find it very unattractive in any aspect of life ;)

i don't think blaming some "other" for bad things or your incapacity or willingness to work through things is good or productive. but i think if thinking that it isn't always your fault -- as in WHY did i let that happen and so now i'm immobile - then - that *might* be helpful. if it helps you see the mistakes/failure as potential to grow then all the better....

rationality? we need more of it ! i think i'm constantly trying to over-analyze and so i'm even more intrigued with the idea of investigating other courses ;)
Eireann said…
I hear you on the cynicism. I think it is something about missing community that is non-competitive and very present and engaged and deeply thoughtful. About wanting to be provided for on the same level and in the same way as you feel you provide. Feeling alone in the big sea of work.

Get back on this side soon, lady. ;) I will not be in the US (unless for family thing or cataclysmic loss of visa) til March 2013, and then in Boston for a conference. :O

miss you xo
Anonymous said…
'THANKS' is nowhere enough to express my appreciation and admiration for your courageous expression of the frustrations you have been experiencing with your work lately.

Juggling SO MANY commitments (professional and personal) in one's life is VERY draining of one's energy....especially when one tries to do one's best with each one. Thus, one's creativity can suffer from the physical and emotional fatigue.

Prioritizing, time management, multi-tasking can only carry one so far. Sometimes one has to step back and really re-organize, reduce, and/or ask for help in sharing some of these 'burdens' from one's spouse, other family, and/or a very close friend(s). Mid-career, or mid-life, sometimes means re-evaluating some of these things.

On the other hand, Glass' notions of the need to keep practicing one's craft are wonderfully apt for me. It took me many years of effort to learn how to write the kind of thing that i felt met up with my standards. BE PATIENT with yourself while you continue to develop your already AWESOME talents!!
Christine said…
Lisa, I love your blog posts! So thoughtful and always close to the things I'm already thinking about. I love the Jarmusch quote is awesome. And I have to say, I really liked Elizabeth Gilbert's Ted talk. I watched it ages ago and I really understand the paralyzing feeling of moving onto the next thing, whether your previous idea was hugely successful or not! It's still all very intense. I take great comfort when I read or talk to other creatives about their feelings, process, etc and know that I'm in this boat with all of them and we all have similar emotional situations. I know Eat, Pray, Love isn't for everyone, but I actually loved it. It brought up more conversations with myself about guilt and freedom, and want vs need. But if you're curious, read the book, don't see the movie, which is fine, but as all adaptations are, it's very short compared to the book and skips over some important conversations. Thanks again for the great post!
Sophia said…
By far one of my favorite quotes from Ira Glass. I literally keep these words on my notebook because I find it so helpful when I get stuck or unmotivated.
Katrina said…
oh, lisa, you. such a courageous post here. so many things i could say but i think mostly that it's good and healthy and normal and maybe necessary to question our work sometimes, so long as that questioning is not debilitating. to ask why. to really ask why. and to know that we need breaks, to step away, to vacate, like any other professional.

these quotes are great. the ira glass made me cheer. and the gilbert, i know what she's getting at. it's a combination of showing up for work and also creating a space for imagination and creativity to be impulsive or alive within our structure and routine of showing up to work, right? to keep showing up. i used to tell myself, "stay in the river of creativity, just stay in there swimming."

go you. that's what i have to say. go, you, go. and you will make something even bigger for stopping to question. yes, yes, yes. good things here, friend. very good.
Cally said…
wanted to lots of thing about all your posts but have a major brain fog day (you should have seen the typos in this one short sentence) so I'll just say - great!
First of all, beautiful color choices.

The constant seeking is something I believe keeps me going. It can get annoying and the more tired I am the worse I am at relaxing. Nature is almost always a solution, even just an hour of it.

And about Elizabeth Gilbert. I am a fan of her TED talk and find her pretty likable in general. I'm intrigued by how many seem utterly turned off by her.

You always bring up interesting topics and questions. Thank you. I've been away for too long.
Gracia said…
Waving hello to you from own creative rut. Next Monday, Louise and I take down our show and we know it will be a relatively quick affair to dismantle. We know it will be sad to bundle it all up. But perhaps in taking it down (it's been on since early Feb.), we will be pushed forcefully out of a creative rut and severe case of the ho-hums.

I like the video included here that talks about the work made along the way that "disappoints"... yes, here's to that! From that, from sticking at it, from this comes the good stuff.

Thanks for the reminder to keep plugging along and following that which drives you.

g xo

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