I think at times I must overwhelm my partner a little bit. These past ten years have been filled with workshops, longer courses, equipment purchases, a need for supplies (I’m losing track of my large sheets of paper), finished projects, stalled projects, failed projects. Even with my little bit of spare cash earned by doing some graphic design on the side, there is always a need for just that next helpful dose of household funds.
“I’m worried this new one is another enthusiasm,” she comments, “and that it will be like all the others.” Maybe while growing up I drove my parents slightly batty that way, too.
Some years ago I finally noticed something a little strange in my life. In the same way as I have projects left hanging, our home is ornamented by books with bookmarks midway through them. (These are my bookmarks, you see.) And the strange thing is these books with such bookmarks pull me back towards them at certain times of the year. Fall and early spring seems to be for poetry, late spring for philosophy, early summer for things like “Finnegans Wake”, and there are other patterns I’ve still to discern. Books started are eventually finished but not in the same calendar year. I think took me three years to read “Les Misérables”.
All this comes to mind as I consider my contributions towards our next ’zine (#4 if you are counting). I struggled mightily to find a response to the item I had from our first meeting for #4. Even after weeks of spending time with Paul’s chosen text/word, nothing was working for me in or out of the camera, and as the next meeting came closer I began to despair. Two days before our second meeting I stumbled across photogravures I made during a course at the Vancouver Island School of Art some years ago which was taught by Jenn Robins – the prints themselves were based on photos I’d made of some church windows. I don’t recall what possessed me to look through that portfolio, and I was stunned by one of the images. It contained the response I needed to make. Yet without that stumbling and the work behind it I would have never recognized the possibility such image making possessed as a valid form of response.
So the projects left hanging are – literally or metaphorically or both – simply strands. For many of them their destination warp and weft are still to come, if at all (yet another strained metaphor – it’s a bad habit). Yet I’m so green at this kind of work in the world that only recently have I started to value the false starts and missteps and boxes with hurting fragments. Or maybe I’m finally old enough to accept how harvesting must proceed side-by-side with purblind creation. It is as if I’ve been mesmerized up to now by straight lines, by the tidy narratives that certain frightened folk trot out from time to time about art.
Oh, and my next course is in Toronto this coming September – paper treatments for bookbinders.