The Beautiful Sound of Rain

Blessed with the abundant rains the past few weeks, central Pennsylvania is looking a lot like Ireland right now.   In teeming rain this morning, Elsa and I enjoyed a slow walk.   I felt grateful to have a sweet dog to walk, grateful to be out in the world.  Grateful to enter the refuge of our front porch, out of the torrent.  Elsa was patient while I toweled her dry.

With a nuno scarf in progress on my work table, the studio will be a good place to be on this rainy morning.  The first thing I’ll do is remove most of the fiber I already placed for the design.  Among the many reasons why long studio days are preferable to shorter stints is that every studio day has its own vibe, theme, language; it feels good to find and sustain that vibe.  Intervals between studio stints bring along different themes, and what was gained can be hard to find.  If one is doing finishing work, or work-in-a-series, this interval does not matter much.  One of the reasons I love spinning and crocheting and embellishment is that this is portable work that fits in well in the minutes here and there.

But developing one-of-a-kind work that is not part of a series calls for a sustained focus.  When life inevitably intervenes, this focus is challenged.  It may or may not stand up to the challenge.   Then one is faced with a choice: keep working on a piece that no longer makes sense and hope to find the way back, or start over?

There’s a quote from a book by Julia Cameron, which I’ll probably misquote here: “If you give quantity of time to your art, God will supply the quality.”   I don’t see this as a spiritual quote, rather as simple reality.  There’s a quality — a sort of luminosity —  to wonderful art, and capturing and holding onto this quality is beyond the artist’s control.  No matter how one might strain to produce this quality, it can be elusive.  And yet, given a wholehearted focus and lots, lots, lots of time, suddenly as an artist you’re standing in its light.  Ah — just for a moment, then it’s gone and you need to seek it again.

I know it’s a luxury to work slowly and it’s also a luxury of sorts to be able to find moments here and there for creative work.  Is a passion for one’s work also a luxury?  Seems that the need for a more beautiful, functional, peaceful world offers work enough for each one of us to dive in, with passion, somewhere — and be bathed in that same light that the artist feels for a moment when something fine has been created.

Published in: on August 14, 2011 at 3:25 pm  Leave a Comment