Tying Knots

When I was in primary school the fad was to make friendship bracelets. A quick lesson from a classmate, a selection of a few colours of embroidery thread I convinced mum I had to have (lucky my mum was a big supporter of craft activities), and I was set to make the bracelets. I taught myself new designs, the patterns formed in my head (there was no Internet to look up or YouTube videos to watch). Each night before bed I would make a new bracelet. I made a lot of them.

For the life of me I can’t remember how to make them. I do remember I enjoyed knotting the thin threads and making up my own designs. As an adult, I thought I’d try and connect back to this childhood joy. Right now, macramé is back in fashion, and I thought I’d make my own hanging pot.

I bought a DIY pack and followed the instructions. It was much more difficult than I thought it would be. I had to undo the knots and start again at least three times, and I made such an error I had to contact the lady I bought the kit from for some more rope.

What was going on? The mistakes I were making was unbelievably stupid and why wasn’t I picking it up like I had when I was ten?

Adult brain.

I was second guessing without realising. I wanted to get it perfect the first time. I just wanted to get it done, and I was fixated on the end result.

When I was about ten, I didn’t have any of these expectations. I simply gave it a go. It’s this approach I’d like to get back to, but it’s not easy. My adult brain too easily interferes. Also, my adult brain learns much slower than when I was ten, a child’s brain is like a sponge and simply soaks up new information, and my adult brain is overloaded.

Wanting to give macramé another go, I booked into a workshop. Sometimes it’s much easier to be shown, and have a teacher there to help you out when you are all knotted up. Plus, there are a few tips which can help out, and keep you from getting over tangled.

finished hanging potplant.JPG

During the workshop, I connected more with how I approached making the friendship bracelets when in primary school. Also, I found a meditative state when I knotted. Maybe it was because I had more confidence because I wasn’t second guessing myself. While knotting, I worked at my own pace and rhythm. I found a way to relax, to have fun, to play, and reconnect to my inner child, whose approach to learning is something I should apply more in my life. This is what I’ll be attempting to do when I make up the DIY macramé hanging plant kit I have sitting on my kitchen table. I might be tying knots, but I’ll be having fun.

The Perspective of Art

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

We’ve all heard this saying and something similar can be said about art and the creation of art. During the first lesson of my intermediate art class, the teacher took us through mixing colours to create tones, tints, and shades. The mixed colours were used to create a colour palette on canvas and then to paint a small image, the purpose to attempt to create the colours seen.

I’m very nervous in art classes. For me, I’m not so good, I’m learning and trying to develop my own skill in its intuitive uniqueness. I’m more of a free-from artist, even when I write, so it was natural for me to add my own approach to what I was painting. When the teacher came by and asked me what I was doing, I answered I was making it up. She re-illiterate the task, and left me to it. Re-create the colours you see in the still life. At one point I had to add more blue to the purple and something about high or low tones. But why, if what I was doing was painting what I was seeing?

I was painting the colours in my own perspective, which was unique to me – just as I do when writing. If describing a scene or an object, I use my perspective and so my words would be different to someone else who saw the same scene or object. The point here for me, is that I gained an insight to my creative expression which is similar in both writing and painting. I create what I see, but I don’t always see what everyone else sees.

This makes it tricky to teach art. How can art be taught when it’s down to the personal perspective and expression of the creator? There needs to be a basic understanding, which of course that’s what the teacher was trying to teach me. I don’t want to mix colours and always get brown, but it’s in the creativity where the perspective changes right from the first brush stroke. Once the basics are learnt, then it’s about bringing alive my own perspective, whether hidden or intuitive. It’s about valuing the perspective of art, the creating, applying intuition, adding a little logical thought, and then simply letting it be to shine out in the world.