Weave Truth with Trust
From the WordPress prompt book for 2014: Quote me. Do you have a favorite quote that you return to again and again? What is it, and why does it move you?
My title today is my favorite textile quote – according to weaving historian Mary Meigs Atwater, it was the motto of the Weaver’s Guild of London. *
When it comes to creative endeavors, I feel a dilemma – I always feel that the world really does not need even one more voice cluttering up its peace and quiet, so unless I have some stunningly original subject matter, I should not waste time or paper on self-expression. But on the other hand, being happily occupied with creativity keeps me from impacting the world in more negative ways, so maybe it’s okay. I am currently reading a book that is helpful on these issues – If You Want to Write by Brenda Ueland, from 1938. (She says in the book that by “writing” she means any creative endeavor you pursue.) It is full of quotes that I am sure I will return to again and again.
I think this quote expresses the way I feel about speaking out to the world –
“…at last I understood that writing was this: an impulse to share with other people a feeling or truth that I myself had. Not to preach to them, but to give it to them if they cared to hear it. If they did not – fine. They did not need to listen. That was all right too.”
It’s so important to me to document the handmade objects made in the past and to inspire appreciation for those who made them – and I love to provide a resource for others who need information about some aspect of the textile crafts – but if that turns out to be a really tiny audience, I’m okay with that.
I found this quote helpful in thinking about “wasting time” making practice art –
“I want to assure you with all earnestness that no writing is a waste of time – no creative work where the feelings, the imagination, the intelligence must work. With every sentence you write, you have learned something. It has done you good. It has stretched your understanding.”
It says to me that it even if my creative efforts don’t have a deep positive effect on the world as a whole, they are still good, because they have made at least one person better – me.
It reminds me of something else that one of my weaving friends said years ago – “It’s just as important to know what you don’t want to do, as what you do.” She never regretted time spent on trying new materials and techniques, because even if she didn’t want to repeat them, she was closer to figuring out her unique path.
And my new favorite quote is from artist Jeanne Norsworthy** – “To create is to take a stand. You must know what question to ask in order to find the answer in the work of art.”
It is a very simple idea, but one that has not occurred to me before – when I start a sketch or quilt (or blog post) – what question am I trying to answer? I have been drawing some of the trees here on the farm – when I look at the tree I have chosen to draw, it’s so easy to say, “What is it about this tree that I am trying to show?” Maybe it’s the lines of the branches, maybe it’s the colors hidden in the bark. Whatever it is, once I see what element I’m trying to capture makes it so much easier to make little decisions as the piece progresses.
I think the best quotes are the ones that make you say, “Yes! That’s what I have always felt, but couldn’t find the right words for!” If you have a favorite quote about creativity, would you please leave it in the comments? I would love to hear it.
*Searching online today, I could only find information on the Worshipful Company of Weavers, and I am not absolutely sure they are the same group.
**Jeanne Norsworthy was an artist who painted many pictures of my favorite place, the Big Bend of Texas. She died in 1998, so there is not much about her on the Internet, but here is a link to a book of her work.