Saturday, September 22, 2007

Creature Comforts USA - Art

Ever wanted to really know about art? Here's your chance...

Sunday, September 9, 2007

UFO Sightings

Yes, close encounters of the second kind! Genuine, documentable sightings of the little buggers! No, I don't mean little E.T.s or flying saucers. UFO as in Un-Finished Object.

I've come across dozens of UFOs as I rummage through my many packed boxes moved from the house. Each one causes a little twinge of ... something. Sometimes guilt, for not having finished it and no longer really wanting to. Sometimes pleasure, at finding a project that I'd really like to finish and had wondered where it had gotten buried. Sometimes wonder, as in "I wonder whatever I was thinking?" or "I wonder if I even remember how to do this technique anymore?" And occasionally, a feeling of failure, as I remember something that hadn't gone well, a perceived glitch, a realization that the finished product couldn't possibly turn out as well as my vision demands.

I would be embarrassed to list here exactly how many UFOs are entwined in my life. Suffice it to say that they run the gamut of my endeavors, from quilting, beadwork, knitting, to polymer clay, scrapbooking, and collage. I am a natural procrastinator, yet I suspect there is an additional dimension to this collection of UFOs.

Many crafters are similarly infested with their own UFOs, so much so that the acronym itself is well known (no, it's not original to me) and is often used on blogs, forums, and chat rooms frequented by crafty persons. My scientific research indicates for every crafter that claims to work on and finish one project at a time, there are 23 crafters who admit to having at least several projects in various stages of completion. Collectively and individually we ask "why?" -- why do we buy materials and start multiple projects, only to let them fall aside as we move on to other new, more exciting(?) projects? What's going on here?

Perhaps not so coincidentally, most crafters are women. I wonder, is this flitting from project to project a form of low-risk promiscuity -- a socially acceptable outlet for seeking new, exciting, challenging conquests without deception and broken hearts? (Does that perpetually unfinished Aran wool sweater pine for the caress of my fingertips on its unloved stitches?) Or are we all afraid of success? Of failure? Or are we really "process-oriented" instead of "product oriented" -- starting a new venture for the thrill of dreaming, planning and learning how to do something, then losing interest once the idea starts to become a tangible thing? Are we so used to multi-tasking that we delude ourselves into thinking we can do it all?

Below you see just one clue to my personal dilemma:


Nominally, this is "the sewing table" (see the machine, at left?). How much sewing happens here? You guessed it.

My uncounted, undone projects have weighed on my psyche a long time, and I imagine how free it would feel not to have them (or at least so many). Could I possibly finish them all, or will I have to bite the bullet and fling the more pathetic (or unfashionable) of them in the bin? So far I've been unable to do either.

But it's something to think about, surely, just as soon as I cut out the fabric pieces for this really cute baby quilt I'm starting for a pregnant friend...