Accepting the Unwanted
I started this piece when I was on the move and wasn’t even sure why. I had been travelling a bit over a few weeks and was feeling a little ungrounded. Part of me, maybe due to it being late Autumn, wanted to hibernate and move inwards. But instead, I was go go go…
So I started on the train, choose stunning pinks and reds. One of the wools I used was older than the other, a little stuck together and weathered. For some reason, this seemed important. As I started weaving the brilliant red wool, I started thinking about contrasts. As I pulled uneven bits of the older wool from the bundle, I started to create little knots, circling the thread in on itself a few times and tightening. As I ran my fingers along the threads, the woollen bumps would interrupt the flow, a little like the bumps in the road that come up as we journey through life.
Again, I returned to the weave, this time weaving the knotted wool alongside each other. The pattern began to emerge; smooth tightly woven wool with lumps and bumps scattered like a music box. I loved the feel of running my fingers along the smooth and then coming up against the raised knotted bits. As I continued to weave like, I was still unsure as to what the piece was about, but loving the feeling and the look.
It was only as the piece started taking shape that its message began to uncurl. I was beginning, through the situations I was finding myself in, to realise that life was becoming full of paradoxes. I was going through a hard time at my art therapy placement, yet through these difficulties I was learning so much. I was beginning to see that all these ‘difficulties’ that happen through life, were, in fact, great ways of understanding more about myself and others. If something happened, was it really good or bad? Why was I so quick to judge; to torture myself if things weren’t going so well and crave desperately for things to go great. Life is filled with the smooth and the bumpy, and often, when we look back on situations we deem as good or bad, there is always a much bigger picture.
As I continued to weave, I also thought about all those aspects of not just life, but also of myself. Are there gnarly aspects to my personality, mistakes I make, silly things that I do? Are there people that I hurt or situations where I put myself first? What about those aspects of myself that I don’t like; my perfectionist self or criticising self. I could see these knots were the knotty parts of me. How could I be creating something that looks so beautiful, so stunning to the eye, and yet was filled with self disapproval?
In the end, I began to see a square shaped piece emerging, filled with the beauty of the knots. The stunning reds and pinks blended and merged, creating a pattern of marks and notes, like a song written on a page. I began to see it all, all of those lines and knots and tensions, as all of those parts of me, and of life. These parts of me that I was so desperate to shun, to change into something better, were in fact part of my design, part of the beauty of me.
I placed the piece on the canvas, giving it the shape and time it needed. I mixed the paint, attempting to create a vibrant red that would form the foundation of this piece. The whole of me, all those aspects, were not to be subdued or repressed. They were to be given a vibrant, bright and magnificent red. I really enjoyed the intensity. I really enjoyed just how bold it looked.
Perhaps the creation of this piece has taught about ownership. Owning all those aspects of myself. I feel as though I have spent a lifetime trying to be good, good for someone else. Of course, love is often doled out based on our behaviour and how we please another. Yet, after decades of this, the material slowly began to bring me back to what was important. Once again, it became a great teacher. It reminded me of the perfect nature of all that I am.
My intention is good. I will always try to do my best. Here I am, gnarly bits and lovely bits. Its all me!
Title and Year: Accepting the Unwanted (2020)
Material: Wool, Acrylic, Canvas
Dimensions: 31cm * 31cm * 2cm