Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Amount woven yesterday: 2.5"
Amount woven to date: 2 yards + 23.5"

I've been reading about resistance . More specifically I've been reading about resistance in relation to the creative life. The book I've been getting my information from is by Eric Maisel. It is called Creativity for Life. In the chapter on resistance, Maisel defines this as the "remarkably stubborn disinclination to do the work of creating." (page 147)

I have never felt resistance to be particularly a problem for me. When it arises, I am usually able to push through it. There is, however, one thing I have been resisting. I have been resisting it for quite a while now. And right now, at this present moment, the resistance is dreadfully intense because the need to do this particular task is pressing very strongly and unrelentingly.

What is it that I am resisting? I am resisting the task of analyzing crackle drafts. Not just looking at the threading or the treadling. I am talking about analyzing the drafts in order to understand the reasons for the color arrangements I get so that, when I create a draft, I can purposefully create the colors to do what I want to do with them (within the limitations of the crackle structure). This means understanding how treadling, threading, and tieup work together. I simply cannot (will not?) break through this particularly resistance; and that inability is beginning to drive me mad because analysis is precisely what I need to do right now.

Maisel's suggestions do not help, because the resistance he is addressing really involves physical action: getting out the paint brush and painting, sitting at the loom and weaving, opening up the notebook and writing. Often I am resistant to beginning a series of dyeing experiments. I solve that easily. I pick out one, and only one, easy initial task that I can do. Usually that is something like covering the counter surface with oil cloth. Once I do that, I just keep right on! The resistance is broken.

Draft analysis does not involve physical activity. It is a mental process. And I do not know how to break through a purely mental process. I do not know how to break through this because I do not understand enough of what is involved to figure out an initial easy first step. Figuring out that first step that might get me going. Maybe I could look at just one block....


Leigh said...

I move that we classify analysis in a totally different dategory from creativity. Let's just classify it as "work" and be done with it. I'd also put things like warping the loom in that category, especially heddle threading and treadle tie-up. Then we can just consider these things necessary evils and not obstacles in the creative process. Do I hear a second on this? Show of hands?

Cally said...

This happens to me more in other areas of life than in weaving, but I find 'proximity' a useful stepping stone. I get out the books and papers I need and set them where I can easily put my hand on them. Then, if I am having a cup of tea and a break from other tasks, I can sit near to them, touch them, start to look them - and before I know it I am hooked and in there.
Sorry Leigh, but I actually like threading headles....

Dorothy said...

I'm curious about Eric Maisel now, what kind of creativity is he on about? His attitude reminds me of when I studied art at school and had to hand in preparation studies for painting classes on Monday a.m. We were taught processes to force out "creative" ideas. We had to analyse by constructive thought process. Very painful, didn't really work for me. I was often tearing things up late Sunday night, up early Monday morning to attack it again (after the subconscious been able to work) (I know that's what my subconscious gets up to all night, I have the weirdest dreams). I think processes for working at creativity often produce repetition, imitation, only by sheer accident do they produce originality. But then, commercial artwork doesn't always require or even desire originality.

Isn't it quite normal for all creative people to experience times of creative block?

I do find it useful to do as Cally does, put things to hand that remind me of what I want to do, remind me I can start when I'm ready. Not always just the tools, sometimes an odd item or picture or words that I think might be the key to what I want to do.