Head In The Clouds

If you don’t believe in brownies, you should see my studio. Only a regiment of fairy folk could have created the chaos that now reigns in my studio. Or one slightly distracted fiber artist.

I’m preparing materials for two upcoming events, including a 5-day fiber camp for kids that comes later this month at the same time as the deadline for a big set of teaching proposals for next year. With preparation and development tasks happening simultaneously, my beautiful mind feels not so beautiful. When I should be counting class kit elements, my mind wanders to “what ifs.” And I find myself staring out the window with my head in the clouds.

I used to chide myself for this undisciplined behavior. But as it turns out, it can be a good thing. According to the New York Times, researchers now say:

A wandering mind can protect you from immediate perils and keep you on course toward long-term goals. Sometimes daydreaming is counterproductive, but sometimes it fosters creativity and helps you solve problems. 

Did you notice how much that cloud looks like a lightening bolt? Or how the negative space between the clouds looks like a heart? And I think that dragon is about to chomp the top off one of the pine trees.

I’m back now, but only for a few minutes. Today is my day to do errands in town, which includes picking up some class materials. And while I get lots of good ideas behind the wheel, it still takes studio time to develop those ideas.

Development is not glamorous. It only looks like magic because you don’t see all the false starts and bad middles it takes to come to a good ending. I seldom take pictures of those stages. That’s not because I’m trying to preserve the mystery of it all, but because I’m so busy trying to figure out what the heck to do next I forget to pick up the camera.

Maybe I could get the fairies to start taking pictures. What would you have them photograph?

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In-Spired Breathing

Some time back on the Mayo Clinic site I found a great set of hand exercises. I’ll keep looking for them, but in the meantime thought I’d share this. Mayo had a link to a good article on breathing exercises.

Just for fun, here’s 1532 engraving by Flavius Vegetius Renatus showing an underwater breathing apparatus. Makes those breathing exercises look like a piece of cake.

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Editing Reality

Daniel Pink just pointed to an article from Wired magazine called Accept Defeat: The Neuroscience of Screwing Up by Jonah Lehrer. 

(T)he real reason researchers automatically assume that every unexpected result is a stupid mistake .. is rooted in the way the human brain works… we carefully edit our reality, searching for evidence that confirms what we already believe. Although we pretend we’re empiricists — our views dictated by nothing but the facts — we’re actually blinkered, especially when it comes to information that contradicts our theories. The problem with science, then, isn’t that most experiments fail — it’s that most failures are ignored.

When you read it, replace “science” with “fiber art.” Sometimes we approach our work with assumptions that have us editing out possibilities before they’re even considered. Now that’s a tragedy. Just something to think about during your next critique.

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