I am intrinsically a loner, except when I’m with other weavers. It’s not that I’m socially inept – far from it, I hope – but that I choose whose company I wish to be in. I can occasionally do ‘hail fellow, well met’ types of conversation, but general girly chit-chat, for example, is not my cup of tea. My husband is the opposite. He’s the sort of guy that can make everyone feel great – he’s the teller of jokes, the butt of jokes, the comedian. He treats everyone the same, no matter who they are or what they do. That’s a tremendous talent.
Anyway, I digress. Whilst walking this morning, I was thinking about interaction – how we choose to interact with other people. Sometimes, I choose to be very isolated and to focus as much as I can on what I’m doing currently – a project, a time-based activity, whatever – and cut out interaction in general. That’s easy for me to do because I live in a large house with only one other person, and I work at home whilst he goes out for his employment.
Sometimes, however, we need to interact with others – whether through conferences, or social events, or even just meeting someone in the street and getting into conversation. Most people need that kind of interaction to feel that they are part of the world and its workings, to feel needed and wanted, even appreciated.
And yet, with so much information coming at us continually through gossip, the news, tv and work interaction, we are sometimes in danger of not allowing ourselves to see ourselves truly. It’s comparatively easy to live life on the surface, and not to delve into what our lives mean to us and how we are living them.
For quite a lot of people this isn’t a problem – they don’t want to know – and the thought of even thinking that there might be more to life than just living it is frightening itself. But for others, this realisation that life is deeper than just living is an exciting thing, and one that can lead to introspection, a more richly lived life, and perhaps more meaningful interaction with others.
On another vein in this thought process (isn’t it amazing how much flashes through your mind in the space of a few seconds that takes ages to try to articulate?!), sometimes I choose not to read magazines about craft. I choose not to see what other people are doing, as it can deflect me from my purpose. And yet, later, I love to sit down and catch up with the world of craft around me, from the UK and beyond, and appreciate what other people are so single-mindedly doing. That connection is of vital importance to me, but only when I am ready to accept it, when I have got to a stage in what I’m doing that I can allow other influences in.
It’s almost as if we are like frogspawn – each of us in our own little bubble that protects us until we reach a certain stage of development when that bubble can safely be eliminated and we can interact with each other and the world. Each new project puts us back into frogspawn mode until the idea or development of the project is strong enough to face the world and be exposed. As artists, I think most of us need that mixture of both protection of ideas and room to grow them, and then to face the world and interact with others.
It’s so hard to put into words those fleeting moments of clarity that you sometimes experience, so I hope you can understand and forgive my clumsy attempts to articulate my thoughts this morning.