I spent a delightful evening visiting with Teresa Bennett of TSB Textiles in her studio at Greensborough. Teresa taught me to weave, so it’s always a bit special to spend time with her. That, and she’s a wonderful artist and weaver and I love the chance to see what she’s done lately. If you’re over the Greensborough side of Melbourne, you should certainly stop in and see her work.
Teresa was very gracious tonight as I bubbled over with ideas for new directions at Metafour Studio. I talked and talked, as I put a quick warp on the Cricket loom, and as I drove home I thought about how very much it matters to have community with other artists. I arrived home and burbled on some more at my long-suffering partner, afire with all the ideas I have that haven’t yet made it onto my looms.
What interested me was that I didn’t actually have any new ideas this evening. But the act of discussing them with another weaver and textile artist, who could see immediately where I was going with an idea and what problems I would have to solve to make the work successful, absolutely energised me.
My creative process happens in a flash of inspiration, which I capture in one of my notebooks for later exploration, or, if it’s a fully formed idea that I simply must weave into being right away and all the materials are already on hand, then it’s straight on the loom.
Then I like to let the idea percolate in the back of my mind, until I know just how I want to approach the weaving. (Of course, that often flies out of the window once I start to work with the yarn and find that I need to make adjustments.) That can be a long process, and I might lose interest in the idea before it ever comes near a loom. I might pick it back up again later on, one day when I’m faced with an empty loom and I’m wondering what to put on it, but the urgency is gone.
Being with other artists keeps the excitement in my work alive, even more so than the great satisfaction of seeing a piece off to a happy home with a new owner. There’s just something about speaking with someone who understands your process, to get the ideas flowing. Maybe they can unstick you from a design problem you’ve been having, or maybe they will just be honestly interested as you talk about the technicalities of your work.
I knew when I started Metafour Studio that community with other artists would be very important, but it seems impossible to underestimate the true importance of that community. I want to be sure not to forget that, as I go along.