Inspirational quotes can be enormously powerful if we refer to them regularly in our everyday lives. Much like resonating with the vibrations of a tuning fork, when we find a quote that strikes the perfect note within us, we can be driven to stretch ourselves; breakout of our comfort zones and try something new and outrageous. Without such inspiration, we happily abide in the tiny cocoon of what we know. One of my favourite quotes and one that I knew had to be included in The Llama Sanctuary 2013 Calendar (you can still grab a copy for free here) is by an unknown author, but no less powerful for that:
“If you want something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done.”
Magnificent breakthroughs occur when people are aroused by visions or greatly inspired by something or someone, and are prepared to do whatever it takes to turn those visions into reality.
Learning anything new (do you remember your first driving lesson?), can be daunting,exciting, disappointing, uplifting and downright depressing and sometimes we have to be inspired or even pushed into doing something we’ve never done, in order to become better people. Arlene Ciroula from www.spinartiste.com organises a regular competition called Secret Stash, designed to stretch the imagination and test the skills of the fiber artist. Entrants receive a package of materials in the mail, with which they have to design and create something, within a set period of time; usually within a couple of weeks.
Of course, that’s not the way most artists operate. Firstly, you come up with an idea, then you plan the project and gather the materials required. That’s the usual sequence. Having a pile of materials placed in your lap and be told to make something that people will like may be enough to put a spin in your knickers!
That’s what we’ve been playing at over the last few months and it really is fun. Our first project didn’t attract any notice whatsoever. Disappointing perhaps, but I am utterly amazed at how much I learned, not just about fiber working, but about planning and the more conceptual elements. I generally have a good idea of what each fiber is capable, but the competition opened my eyes to a level of design, to which I was unfamiliar. I spent many years designing and manufacturing clothing, both sewn and knitted, but as I look back, I am aware of the limitations I had imposed upon myself. Strict, self-imposed limits were placed on design, according to what I knew would sell in our shop. Of course, that limited the way our customers saw us. At the various fashion and cloth shows, we would ooh and aah over new textures and startling colour schemes, but almost invariably, we stuck to what worked, because we needed to make money.
I didn’t realise until recently, how imposing limitations on the design level, affects every other aspect of life. We place ourselves in an orbit of familiar surroundings. We may experiment with different types of food and then consider ourselves daring, but we must still hang on to something familiar, in order to do so; familiar surroundings, familiar people, familiar crockery even! Take someone to a foreign country, with alien customs and diet and tell them that they must eat in primitive surroundings and most people will feel very uncomfortable. That’s for adventurers!
Well maybe it’s time to have some adventure yourself, find ways to stretch your own creativity; expand your own knowledge; try something completely different. If you enter into such an adventure with a completely open mind, I know that you will surprise yourself. You are capable of doing anything. If you say that you can’t, then you’re right. If you say that you can, you’re right. Fear is the only difference. Let go of all those little fears and do something outrageous today!
Our first Secret Stash project forced me to explore texture and shape, since the package consisted almost entirely of natural cream fibre in various forms. I even explored crochet with copper wire.