Saturday, June 22, 2019

Last week on Art With a Needle

Two weeks ago Idaho left a comment on my blog about doing research before purchasing new stuff and I responded by saying how I know I should do that, but I find it hard -- my inclination is always to dive right in and learn by doing, even if that brings missteps.  Last week Idaho commented, "My art group is split between those who just go for it and those who dip toes in cautiously after gathering lots of info...  Info gathering can often be seen as procrastinating, and that can be true -- If I find just one more relevant piece of info I'll be confident enough to give it a go -- that sort of thing.  I DO find myself doing that and have to suck it up and proceed to diving in!"

That made me remember one of the most commented-upon blog posts that I ever wrote, in 2011, about a writing teacher who divided people into two groups: planners and plungers.  If you're a planner, you're big on writing outlines, filling sketchbooks, making diagrams and templates before you get to work on the actual product.  If you're a plunger, you dive right in and start working.  If the teacher makes you turn in an outline before the paper is due, you write the paper first and then write the outline.  Maybe you'll have some false starts and sections destined for the trash can, real or virtual, but working is how you figure out what is it you want to say, what it is you want to make. 

I re-read that post just now, including the comments that many people left on it, and it did me good.  Made me realize, again, that you have to figure out how your brain operates and then develop work habits that go with that rather than fight it. 

Shannon suggested that if I'm trying to do calligraphy that's more-like-art-less-like-letters I should look at Arabic script.  "I frequently find it exquisite, and as a non-Arabic speaker I'm drawn to it simply for the artistic forms," she wrote.  Shannon, you are absolutely right, and in fact it was seeing the work of Golnaz Fathi, a wonderful Iranian artist who makes art from Arabic script that helped me decide to do calligraphy as my daily art this year. 

Golnaz Fathi

I am so glad that you reminded me of looking to Arabic as an inspiration, because it's been on my to-do list since I made this decision.  I promise to start something this week, and I'll show you what I come up with.

Here's my favorite miniature of the week:


  1. Oh my! How else would you create "happy little accidents" if you didn't plunge right in? You are right. Find your style. If I find something I want to do and figure it out in my head, sometimes that's enough, and I stop right there. I discovered "interleave" by Lorrie Faith Conner. If it wasn't for the fact that I could not figure out what "draw the line on the left side" meant, I probably wouldn't have gone on to make my first interleave and then experiment and go on to make twenty or thirty more (and different) and get Lorrie's permission to spread her technique! Love your blog.

  2. I'm definitely a plunger. I have lots of fun and usually wind up doing some creative thinking and troubleshooting (and sometimes scrapping) along the way as I figure out how I can actually accomplish the things I have in my brain. And I also frequently realize later that there's a better way to do something. I used to feel bad for not planning more, but I've realized that frequently, even had I planned more, whatever problem I ran into was one I couldn't have predicted accurately before hand so I left off feeling bad about it.

  3. Oh, sorry. I meant Lorrie Faith Cranor, not Conner.
    Jackie Watkins