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Friday, August 20, 2010


What I do when I'm stuck

I make shadow puppets.

I'm no draftsman, and the designs are very much created to stay within the limits of my abilities. Technically they're far from accomplished. But I don't really care. I rather like 'em.

Artistically it's often a good idea to try your hand at something that doesn't play to your best strengths. Knowing that there's a limit to what can be expected of you can free you to have fun and fool around, and that's very good for your imagination. I came up with a whole new plot solution after a particularly blocked week where I gave up writing - seriously, I was that stuck - and just made puppets. Then I had a whole series of ideas that got me out of a horrible impasse.

It's a curious thing as well to see what kind of energy comes out in your alternative projects. My puppets are rather dark and intense, which is not unlike my writing. This is through no particular intention; the puppets look the way they do because I can't seem to make them look any other way.

I bring this up now, I guess, because I'm overdue-pregnant and in something of a holding pattern, so artistic holding patterns seem like a relevant idea. Anyone else do alternative art projects in different forms when they stick on their main ones?

I find mapmaking fills that for me. It's detail oriented but physical, involving thought but not phenomenal amounts of concentration.

Usually by the time I'm done, or impatient with the process, I feel fired up to do more "real" stuff.

The other nice thing is that my main artform combines programming and writing, so getting stuck on one means I can move to another for a bit.
I knit Icelandic wool sweaters. I take old designs and figure out how to knit them in one piece with no seams even for the arms. I will get fascinated on making complicated mutli-coloured designs that can only be properly seen when the entire sweater is done.

If you use the right wool it still has lanolin on it, so it is wonderful for the hands, and after being worn for a while it felts on the inside of the sweater making it waterproof.

Mr. Mmy has some sweaters that knit 20 years ago -- they really last and are great for outdoors in the autumn.
Oh, and I forgot to say I like the shadow puppets muchly
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