Are you full of questions? Do you always want to know what happens if you do this or that? What would happen if you took that path in life, or this one?
I’m a curious person.
In weaving, that’s a great thing if you want to stretch yourself. I’m a sample queen because of my addiction to wanting to know what happens if I try one yarn, or another yarn; what happens if I wash this fabric on this cycle of the washing machine compared to that one, or if I handwash it? What will happen to the cloth if I combine these two yarns of different shrinkage potential in this way, or that way?
In life, too, curiosity can be a wonderfully enriching quality. You see a book title, or have a discussion with someone about something that they are interested in, and you suddenly find that you want to know more. This happened to me with philosophy – I blame AC Grayling and his columns in the Guardian. They’ve been published in book form, and I picked them up through The Book People for a ridiculously cheap price for all 4 and they changed my way of looking at things. I became interested in philosophy as a subject – huge as it is! Then a student came for a weekend whose son is studying philosophy at uni! She rang him up and asked him for a beginner’s book list in philosophy and that got me reading more. The more I read, the more fascinating I found it. The different areas of philosophy piqued my curiosity, but because I knew that I would get lost if I didn’t restrict myself, I honed it down to philosophy of life rather than, say, religion and politics.
In weaving samples, you quite often find yourself at the end of a set of samples with yet more questions as well as immediate answers to your original query. “Ok, I know this result happens in this particular case, but what if I did that?” And so, off you go again on another quest. I guess this could be called being a sample junkie, but that’s ok for me if it keeps my brain active and questioning.
In life, too, thinking deeply to provide an answer to a question quite often leads down other avenues of thinking. The danger with this in both life and weaving is that the questions can sometimes polarise us when it’s not wise to do that, but if we stop every so often and take a mental step back from ourselves, we can take a more objective overview and decide whether this path is one that we want to pursue, or whether we need to reassess where we’re going.
I do want my sampling to lead somewhere, so I always have an ulterior motive. My driving force is textural effects in weaving, and my sampling informs my artwork. What I’m wondering is: Is curiosity for curiosity’s sake a positive thing?