Wendy D.

Really Big or Really Obsessive…

I am a self-confessed ‘idea-obsessor’! And I am capable of scaling that idea from ‘here’s where we start’ kind of thinking to full on ‘blue-sky swipes’ that can make your head spin. It is what you do, when you grow up in a world of imposed-limitations that you refuse to allow to limit you. Lol! I can build a Barbie car from a shoebox; or given the chance: a full-circle, environmentally sustainable fibre-community-based social enterprise that could develop a legacy piece within the community... LOL, on this one too!

I am obsessive in my ‘ideas’ and hang on with a ‘cancer-crab’ tenacity that can become my undoing at times. This is not always a good thing… except maybe, for the making of experiences and stories, and lessons (I hope!) of what not to do again.

Those ‘what not to do agains’ have possibly made me less outgoing with my ‘idea-obsession’ and a little more hesitant to act on them, but they continue to ‘live’ in my head, just waiting for their moment to launch. Trying to manage that impulsiveness and frustration from holding back, I have tried to be comfortable with ideas that I can ‘control’, ie small steps or maintain ‘status-quo’. But I can’t stay there for long...

Working with what I can control brings a comfortable process of thinking through, working through, that inevitably leads to dreaming, planning, restlessness and, eventually, frustration when I can not move the mountains that are blocking where I really want to go. When I get there, I cannot see around, over, through or under and I stall out. Thus, staying where it is comfortable and controlled can be a way for me to manage the restlessness momentarily and to keep moving… but the frustration doesn’t go away, nor do the ideas that are haunting me.  

While writing this, I am aware this is not just about ‘my ideas’ in my head! In my work, I find that I often focus on small, comfortable pieces. Small bits that feel safe and not risky in the ‘wasting of time, materials’ and in most case, easy to hide if they fail, relegated to the UFO pile.

But trying to ‘go big’! I will plan, plan, plan and plan again before finally ‘taking the big breath’ and jump in. Then the anxiety and frustration of scale, the inability to ‘hide it’ and OH! the investment of time, energy and materials! Wow! So many chunks of that mountain to climb.

But, there have been a few pieces threatened to be relegated to the studio floor, and then, pushing, pushing through… have become a surprise! A big surprise! and to no one more so than me.

Last spring I was one of the organizers of a local fashion show and it seemed like it was a good idea to consider entering ‘something new’ that would push my boundaries. Six months of pursuing vision; stitching fibre, heart and story into every inch of that creation, making time, giving time, obsessing, fearing and pushing through yet again…  letting the journey unfold, hoping, trusting it was going somewhere...  and at midnight before the show, it almost ended up in shreds on the studio floor. I was so uncomfortable at the outcome, so out my norm, I was almost afraid to submit it, sharing with anyone who asked, that it was just a crazy experiment. But when ‘The Empress’ New Coat’ debuted to an audience of about 200, much to my huge astonished surprise, it was a hit! Everyone wanted to touch it, feel it; know the story within it… and yes, how long did it take and how did I do it? All those crazy six months, enormous amounts of time, materials, uncertainty and frustration, all became just a memory.

Now, it is year two, and the 2nd show is coming up fast! Ideas are abounding, as are all the challenges and uncertainties around the creation of last year's piece! How do I ‘top’ last year’s ‘go big’ and beat down all the mountains that I put in my way then, and now? (Ideas are easy! Execution is a bit more daunting!)

After last year’s experience, you would hope for some level of confidence and sense of direction in beginning. And, yes, there is lots of encouragement to ‘go even bigger’ and get those ideas out of my head! To touch them, feel them, work with them, live with them, experience them, place myself in them… and make them real…  or there is always the UFO pile…

So I have begun. Wild Places is on the table now, all five metres plus of her, just waiting to show me what we can do together… now if I could just climb over the mountain that is sitting in front of my studio door…

“For myself, size really doesn’t matter… making time, giving time… stitching myself into every piece, even when I have no idea where it is going, but trusting the journey ...now that's my ideal obsession.”