The ones that got away…

I’m always telling people how meditative stitching can be, and how wonderful it feels to ‘let go’ and simply enjoy the process – which is all true, for me stitching is where I’m most myself. But perhaps it’s worth mentioning, that it isn’t always plain sailing. Sometimes, the idea in your head refuses to be captured in stitch. Sometimes, despite everything you do, the piece you’re working on, just doesn’t click. 2015-03-19 12.21.49 Anyone making faster art will also have this experience, I’m certain – let’s be honest, more of what we create goes in the bin than on the wall. But making slow art has the particular downside, that you can invest considerable time – we’re talking days, perhaps weeks – into a piece, only to find at some point, you don’t like it, it doesn’t feel right. Which is the time when you have to decide whether to press on regardless and hope it comes together later, or put it down to experience and consign it to the ‘no’ pile. It isn’t always easy to accept that the time poured into a piece isn’t going to result in the work you’d set your heart on. So just in case anyone else is going through a rough patch on the creative front at the moment and thinks they’re the only one, I thought today I’d show you my collection of might have beens from the last few months, the ones I’m calling my experiments, the ones that got away…

2015-03-19 12.28.11 2015-03-19 12.21.15 2015-03-19 12.34.14 2015-03-19 12.34.49 2015-03-19 12.30.20 2015-03-19 12.32.56 2015-03-19 12.25.23

Keep calm and carry on stitching.

22 thoughts on “The ones that got away…

  1. I so understand the ‘might have beens’:-) These all look lovely, and interesting to me – but I get that they don’t feel right – not time wasted though – I guess ultimately these things help one work out what does!

    1. Thank you. Yes, it’s true, it does help you work out some things. I’ve definitely learned quite a lot over the time it’s taken to ‘experiment’.

      1. Definitely! First step for me is to hide them in a drawer so that I see them unexpectedly. Cut up and rearrange comes when all else fails, but not something to be feared, that’s what I meant, really.

  2. The ones that got away do look rather gorgeous, perhaps they need time at the bottom of the pile, and revisiting later – sometimes we lose sight of what we’ve done because we’re too close. You’re right though, at other times, something just doesn’t gel and you are torn between persisting and letting go. I don’t call it giving up, because who knows, they may come back and find themselves later 🙂

    1. Yes, I think part of the problem is having an idea about what you want to do, but not having found the way to achieve it – yet! It’s not really a negative experience, just part of the learning curve I suppose, but it is a bit frustrating to be honest.

      1. one of my favourite quotes is “life is for learning” – from Joni Mitchell’s Woodstock. It’s a thought I carry around with me all the time 🙂 Tuck them away in a drawer and see what happens ….. and go with what’s working for you now

  3. At least most of my “might have beens” are on paper and can be screwed up and thrown away. Do you ever go back to them a long while later and look at them differently?

    1. Must be honest, I tend not to re-start anything from the pile – well not to date, but who knows. But I do analyse to some extent what didn’t work, which helps with subsequent pieces.

  4. Ha ha! I have a stack of those, some of them dating back almost 20 years (!) I agree that you can learn from misfires, but still I keep mine stashed as far away as I can. Some of yours look quite lovely.

  5. I think they look lovely, but we are always the harshest critics of our own work. I have a hard time giving up on a project once I’ve started, even if I hate it. But, twice I have thrown away a cross stitch project because I just couldn’t stand them any more. Others, they are just languishing in a container in the closet.

    1. It’s funny what these rejects tell us though. I’m beginning to realise that amongst other problems, I have a real issue with greens – sometimes they work out, but others I really start to dislike – why? This whole stitching business can lead you into all kinds of mental exploration.

    1. Oh Elizabeth, thank you – I hope what you’re seeing is a glimpse of what I was trying to reach, but sometimes, the hands just don’t seem able to bring about what the mind desires. I’m sure you have the same experience yourself at times.

  6. There appear to an outsider to be some real beauties here – that piece shown first and third is a delicious riot of colour and lovely swirling shapes.
    But I do know what you mean about those pieces that take shape in the mind in all their glory, often in the middle of the night, only to fizzle out tamely in daylight or, worse still, after hours of work. I’m having rather a lot of those right now … perhaps my aspiration and my ability to deliver are too far apart … whatever it is, it’s frustrating and I can identify with everything you’ve said.

    1. I agree, it is frustrating, I’ve been thinking about this and I like your ‘middle of the night’ expression, it’s sometimes as if you can grade ideas 1 to 10, where 1 is absolutely rock solid and 10 a spider’s web on a dewy morning – perhaps the ones that don’t gel are somewhere in the 8-10 scale, you can feel them with your mind, you just can’t quite grasp them with your fingers.

  7. I’m finidng it painful to contemplate the lost hours that the one’s that got away represent. Except of course they’re not really lost are they as even unfinished things – and goodness knows I have enough of those – provide learning opportunities.

    1. The saving grace with all these pieces, is that stitching for me remains predominantly a meditative process, it calms my mind and relaxes me, so even though the design may not fulfil my wishes, I don’t feel that time has been wasted, and yes, you’re right, we need to see them as explorations and learning experiences to take forward to the next and the next and the next.

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