Saturday, August 30, 2014

That Sense of Closure

Sketchbook Collage, 2012
How do you know when you're really and truly finished with something, ready to let it go and ready to let go of as many of the remaining bits as possible?

I've been thinking about this for quite a while now, with respect to some of the creative things I used to do ~ spinning, weaving, dyeing, deconstructed screen printing, batik, discharge ~ and wondering when it would be time to really let go of these things, as fully as possible.

Spinning and weaving are kind of no-brainers in this regard, because I sold my equipment and all supplies four years ago.  I sometimes still miss spinning, but it's simply never to be again.  My wrists simply burned out and the last time I tried to spin, just before selling my wheel, in just five minutes my wrists were howling.

I finally made the decision this week to let go of my fiber reactive dyes and supplies, as well as most of my silk screens.  I'm giving it all to a young woman in Eureka who dyes and sells clothes for a living.  As often as I've thought I might want to dye again, the truth is, there's simply no reason for me to do it.  I've still got a 15 inch high stack of surface designed fabrics that I haven't used and might possibly end up selling.  In truth, I was never as good a fabric dyer anyway, as I was a dyer of spinning fibers.  To some extent this was the difference between using fiber reactive dyes for cloth compared with acid dyes for spinning fibers.  There was a much steeper learning curve with fiber reactive dyes, and as much fabric as I did dye, it was rare that I created something I really loved.

When I actually imagine the process of dyeing ~ and consider the fact of having to reestablish a learning curve, and the fact that I can't physically stand at the sink for long periods of time rinsing out fabric, and the fact that dyeing/rinsing uses an enormous amount of water ~ then pretty immediately I realize it's just not going to happen for me again.

Similarly with deconstructed screen printing, which was perhaps my favorite surface design technique, and batik and discharge ~ there's too much involved, too much cleanup, too much time at the sink, no room to lay things on the floor to process overnight or wait to be ironed out.  Much as I enjoyed these, I'm done with them.

Yesterday I began sorting through and condensing several big notebooks of dyeing swatches and information, as well as articles I've had for years (in some cases 35 years) on projects and techniques I will never get to.  Most of this amounted to throwing everything out that can't be recycled to print on the back of.  I've also let go of even more books in my collection, not all art/craft related, that I truly never will read again.  Most of these books had consistently made the cut for years, but now they've been cut as well.

I went through my collection of glass seed and accent beads yesterday ~ not the first time I've culled, actually the 3rd or 4th time ~ and am in the process of listing small collections of color-related beads at Etsy.  Believe it or not, I still have way more beads than I'll ever use.

It seems that as much stuff as I can let go of, there's always more to get rid of.  So to answer the question I began this post with, I don't know whether there's really such a thing as final closure.  I think, as grieving is, closure is likely a lifetime process of letting go.


Jan said...

Yes. And thanks, once again.

ruma said...


Grande Idée et le concept.

du Japon, ruma❃

Judy Sall Fiber Art said...

I love that you have found a dyer to gift your supplies to! I'm sure she will greatly appreciate it, and you will gain space...

MulticoloredPieces said...

Hi, Connie. Paring down may be a good thing. You come out feeling lighter and freer. Lately I've been wanting to move to a small place; tired of all the work of a house and yard. Tiny sounds very good to me. Ah, well, such is life. Can't complain. Hope you can find better living arrangements and ways to create art painlessly.
best, nadia

Maggi said...

I can really relate to this. I have been finding more and more that all the things I have that I no longer use are a real distraction.