Textile Chaos and existential angst
It will surprise absolutely no one to hear that being an artist gives one existential angst. Or perhaps having existential angst is the reason one becomes an artist. It’s a chicken vs egg dilemma, but whichever came first, sometimes seemingly mundane things trigger it, such as organizing my art supplies.
I really like keeping things tidy around my home studio, but my collection of fabrics for doll costuming is starting to spill out of my bathroom closet. I need to keep my toilet paper somewhere!
I have a policy of buying only the fabrics I require for an immediate project, so as to not accumulate vast amount of it in my home. However, this minimalist practice conflicts with being a maker, simply because fabric to a doll artist, is what paint is to a painter! There is only so much of hypothetical painting a painter can do without having an instant access to a full palette of paint colours, ready to paint on a moment’s notice! I mean, it would be ludicrous to suggest that a painter only has enough paint in the closet for just 1 painting at a time, right?
Then why do I feel so conflicted about having a closet-full of different fabrics? Is it because fabrics take up more space than tubes of paint? Is it because there is infinitely more different fabric in the world than there are paint colours?
So, how does an artist live minimally, exactly? I think about this all the time. If it wasn’t for my art practice and all the art supplies and equipment related to it, I think I’d hardly have any possessions at all. Just some furniture to sit on. But does my art truly justify the environmental footprint I’m leaving on this planet? After all, aren’t I just contributing to the clutter problem by having ‘clutter’ to make more ‘clutter’ with? Sometimes I wonder if I’m better off not having anything and not making anything.
Artist are makers. We are compelled to create objects with our hands for some reason. We make stuff from other stuff, therefore we need to buy and have stuff to create our stuff from. Why? It’s some sort of a pathological compulsion, I think, and I sure am thankful that doll-making is my particular pathology. I could have had it worse – I could have had a criminal compulsion, that compelled me to do bad things because they made me feel good. Instead I lucked out with a need to make dolls. Whew!
And that’s the kind of stuff that goes through my head when I clean. Organizing sure is an intense activity, full of angst and nihilism. I think I’m gonna stop now and go do something else, before I conclude that nothing whatsoever matters and everything is hopeless.
Guess I’ll go make a doll. It almost always makes me feel better. Takes my mind of things.
This entry was posted on Thursday, April 23rd, 2015 at 11:37 pm
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