overindulgent optometry

New Year. By this i mean both: The one day in January (New Year – day 1 of 365), the first day of the year, and the new cycle (new year – 365 days dates marked anew). What does it mean? In the majority of the western world, people might be aware of setting out resolutions for improvements in the year ahead, as a way of welcoming the new year…

My blog had been about hopes for future last month (resolutions, in a way). In this sense, i have done it backwards (or forwards) compare to tradition, and so, let’s do a review of my work in the year 2020, instead, in today’s blog post, the first blog post of 2021.

Today, the first Saturday of January 21, which falls on the day after New Year, 2020 is definitely behind us! Even if it is only in the number we put at the end of a date, despite the fact it may still feel to a lot of us like lock-downs are not quite over yet…

So, what has my Arts Health work been this year?

I have had my website for 14 years (13 years in 2020) 14 years in 2021. In anthropomorphic terms, my website is now a young person…

How do i feel about my website? Are its proverbial mannerisms that of a rebellious teenager? Have i managed to include what i wanted to include? I am not sure.

2020 has brought a significant development in the way i work online. In the way my work is presented and translated into Thecreativehook‘s online presence. That has been very positive.

I have been blogging more regularly: the year when we could not go anywhere brought a greater balance between my physical work, my actual crochet pieces that i make (my crochet blankets, my crochet amigurumi bears and animals, and my crochet hats and jumpers) and my online presence.

Sure i have made more crochet items, finished more crochet projects, but i have also presented these more regularly and their stories have become more detailed as i have gone along. This brought me a feeling of greater balance between my physical ‘real world’ work, and my website ‘online world’ work. And i am pleased about that.

I have been able to work more than before, because of the simple inability to plan anything or go anywhere. For this i am grateful.

All the major changes happening in our lives in the way we connect with others, and with our selves in 2020 caused by the pandemic have lead to small yet significant changes in my work:

  • i have rediscovered sewing as a way of creating unique pieces for myself and others (see below images of the Christmas presents i have made and my own harem lounge sweatpants, which i love and wear a lot, and see HERE for my dungarees).
  • i have continued crocheting and developed it and perhaps even focused, understood, and transformed my crochet work further. My crochet has somewhat crystalised and evolved into what i want to make and what i do not. (Things i kept going back to, things i kept revisiting and developing are my BLANKETS, CREATURES and WEARABLES. See my CREATIONS pages here for the gallery of each of the above sections with the examples made to date, and search the blog categories to discover the stories of each individual piece in their individual blog post mentions).
  • i have gone back and reworked old pieces into things repurposed, used old bits of crochet samplers i made over the years which have been abandoned at one point or another… I have mentioned one of my journeys of such repurposing in my December blog post HERE and another one early in the year HERE. (There are still a few of these in my stash of current WIPs, so keep your eyes peeled, as this is where you will find them as and when they do get finished)!

I have decided to share my work differently, and in a sense, add a different process to my creativity…

A friend had said to me when she saw a photo of my red winter jumper: ‘I need some of this style in my life‘ and so i listened. I knew the jumper meant too much to me to give away, plus it would not fit my friend and i did not have sufficient resources to make another one; instead, i have had a blanket made from the photos of the jumper stretched flat on the floor, and gifted this instead…

I have discovered the process of having images of my crochet work printed onto fabric products which can be given as presents a little while ago, read HERE

This way i get to keep my blankets as well as share them with others. I get to have my cake and eat it, all at the same time! Because of the work and time invested in making my crochet blankets, i find it hard to part with them.

To raise the money to be able to order some more items printed with my images of my crochet projects, i have decided to sell my Queen Amidala dress (pictured below), so that i can fund my dream of getting a rain coat printed with pictures of all the toys i have ever made.

See HERE on ETSY and if you are interested, or know someone who may be interested in purchasing this tall person fan made costume. (Please do not hesitate to ask any questions you may have).

Have your cake and eat it.

English proverb

The above is a phrase i have only truly understood recently. In terms of sharing images of my crochet work in print, it works perfectly. And it made me think of a little book of essays i have read as part of my Visual Arts course at Salford University million years ago. (Read my statement HERE.)

Printing images of my crochet, that i have proudly made, onto other items for others to use is kind of the opposite of what one of the essays by Berger and Dibbs (1972) from ‘The Ways of Seeing‘ is concerned with.

Instead of the image being of what i could be/ could have (as in the current advertising industry), my work is developing one step forward (or backward, depending on your vantage point): showing off what i already HAVE made! And maybe this is a sign of times, and the getting rid of toxic, unhelpful advertising and the world being a better place for us, more empathetic, starting from 2021.

Reusing an image of crochet again, out of its original context, in a different setting, allows my work to develop in unexpected ways, showing off the pieces i created, and keep them for me after i gift them (crochet amigurumi toys), or me keeping my original crochet pieces at the same time as sharing them as printed fleece versions with others (crochet freestyle blankets). It’s a win win situation.

You could almost conclude, when it comes to my crochet work: I have eaten plenty of cake, and this way, i still have got some left to eat!

I am looking forward to where this way of inquiry into my creativity takes me.

Could i have predicted what my work would become this year? Could any of us have predicted the year to turn out the way it had? In creativity in general, part of the reason of starting is that we do not know what we might arrived at. No, i could not have predicted how my work would develop, and yes, it is exactly where it needs to be.

I am very excited about developing my sewing skills going forward. (I have even decided to book onto a sewing pattern making/ tailoring course in the future, to develop my abilities further).

AND

I have found new enthusiasm for making garments, both in crochet and fabric. These have both been positive developments i could not have predicted twelve (12) months ago.

I have finally understood gestalt psychotherapy in an embodied way. Blindboy explains the theory behind it really well in his podcast titled ‘Gestalt therapy‘. This new understanding of the theory made me start looking at the world in terms of completing a gestalt, a whole. Completing two (2) pairs of harem trousers for my sister in law felt like one of those moments: when you have arrived at a solution/ completed a crochet or a knitting (and now a sewing too) project, and the world seems to make sense again.

I have already talked about a sense of completion in Industrious Inquiry HERE about the sense that completing the blue square blanket, in a vague sense it did then and still does when i look at it now, feels like something has been resolved, finished, completed. I just did not have the language for it back in July:

Psychology is a book full of words for all of the [stuff] that is wrong with us that we just don’t need to be going. [paraphrased]

Blindboy Boatclub

So i have discovered the words, and i am able to understand/ enjoy and hold onto these moments of triumph in my creative work. And hopefully in my personal life also.

My work has developed massively, because i have been able to leave it and slow down and let developments happen naturally, rather than pushing and getting frustrated. It has crystalised and balanced different parts of my creativity, understanding my processes a little more this year.

And for all of that, i am grateful. I am expectant to see what happens next!

Finally, i am able to share the photos of presents i made/ had made, now that they have been gifted and are homed with their rightful owners…

Maybe simple efficiency was part of my original motif for choosing to review my work in January and listing hopes for the future in a December post. I could not well have shared photos of these items before [insert your chosen Christmas Deity] have delivered them…

Either way, feast your eyes:

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