Leasson Two - Wendy D.

The rebel within…

When I first read through this week’s workshop about exploring the rebel within, I thought, ‘This is one area that I don’t need a lot of help with’ as I have never fit well within the norm. My husband snorts out loud at that this thought. I am certain he is thinking that this is all she needs more of… encouragement to cultivate her inner rebel. Lol! My son’s words of guidance to him on the day we married were… “If you want to get my mom to do something… Tell her not to!” Hmmm.

He is right! I have never taken well to rules, or being told I couldn’t do something, (just ask my son!). Not that I set out to be so contrary. I was just curious enough to try to figure out the ‘why’ and ‘why not’ of things on my own. I rarely accepted the norm and while growing up, this never helped me to fit in, even when I wanted too. But in true fashion, instead of trying to figure out the rules of fitting in, I learned to celebrate my being different. It's become ingrained for the most part. To see things from another angle, an alternative perspective, try another approach. Questioning, challenging and often unsettling, and sometimes upsetting, this has served me well, but not always… ah well; it has provided an interesting life.

Playing with the expanded square at first seemed to take me off focus from the first exercise… Cutting up paper and gluing it back together to create patterns and break the rules… hmm! I understood the ‘breaking down’ of the box, to challenge the rules of creating the box, the exploration of the unexpected images that surfaced. I also appreciated the questioning that you suggested we explore while doing this.

It was in the questioning that that helped me to ‘refocus’ and begin. I discovered that, though I rarely have difficulty being the rebel, transitioning from thirty years in technology where there are LOTS of rules, back to the right brain thinking, has created its own insecurity in embracing that ‘natural’ inner rebel.  Where I normally challenged the ‘why’ and explore the ‘why not’ in other aspects of my life, I kept thinking that I had to do this exercise right, follow the instructions, and strive for ‘rule’ perfection. I also knew I needed to get past this. The questions helped. They helped me to give myself permission to ignore the rules… Lol!

So, I did.

I didn’t use black paper. I didn’t use paper at all. I used cloth, a very fine, soft woven and fragile piece of cotton – certainly not as structured and behaving as paper. The cut-out pieces moved, shifted, stretched and frayed…  and when I put them back together, they did not always fit. A few times, I thought of ‘behaving myself’ and to go back to the instructions, the rules, to use paper. But no, I persisted.

I kept reminding myself that this was a good practice for me. Nothing would be broken, harmed or destroyed… So just do it.

On top of this, I am a textile artist from way back, before the tech part of me, and refinement of technique, execution of stitch and perfection in the end product, have long been standards (and rules) that guided my work. But, I let this stuff go too…  I tried embracing the imperfection and discovered a new ‘perfect’ for me.

I like it… Not very radical for sure, but a good start for me. I love the freedom that came from just letting the fray hang out there… bringing a softness, a vulnerability, a sense of gentleness and timelessness to something that could have been (should have been?)  very structured.

So, I cut, stitched, embraced the fray and imperfections, to create something perfect for me. This has been good…

Footnote: As I was writing this I realized that in so many aspects of my life, as a student, as a techie, as a mother and a woman, I have intentionally resisted the reading of instructions, the following of rules, in favour of discovery through curiosity and tenacity to figure it out on my own. I strongly believe that’s where new ideas, new possibilities and, new discoveries come from. But as a fibre artist, all my fears and insecurities smash up against this and stall out the right brain thinking… I seem to need permission to let my inner rebel flourish with the same curiosity and sense of discovery… Working on this! Thank you!