Letting go and going with the flow

After posting my last blog I Googled Renate Kirkpatrick, the author of my scrumbling bible and became a fan of her page on Facebook. Her work is amazing and has inspired me to stop prevaricating (I’m expert enough at that), sort through the bits and pieces I’ve already made and start joining them together.

At first I found this process difficult – not technically, because this is one craft that you can dive into, whatever your skill level. But the colours I was using looked dull and unattractive and comparing what I’d done to the illustrations in my book made me want to throw my ‘patches’ in the bin and start again. It was hard to keep going and push through my dislike of how the whole thing seemed to be evolving.

This is always how I feel, whenever I start something – be it crochet, writing, papier-mache, gardening or cooking anything other than everyday stuff. I have a definite idea of how it should look, read or taste and tend to launch into it, full of confidence that it will work because I want it to. But it’s never quite as straightforward as I believe it will be. Some of my experiments really are beyond redemption and have to be abandoned or recycled. I have to figure out where I went wrong and if it’s possible to correct it.

This is when my self-assurance begins to waver. ‘What was I thinking? How could I have imagined that I could ever produce anything of worth? If anyone saw this, they’d die laughing. I’m like a silly child, desperate for approval.’ Self indulgent, maybe, but these thoughts really do run through my head, and it takes considerable mental effort to halt and then reverse them.

When this happens – like now for instance – I have to force myself to take a break and do something completely different, something that doesn’t demand intense concentration. Like trawling through the gossip on FB, for instance, or sharing a laugh and a cup of Redbush with The Artist or even updating my blog. 🙂 I can then return to my task with renewed energy.

If I’m lucky (and I do count myself as being very lucky), this is when the magic happens. Words flow; glue dries; flavours marinate; the sun comes out and when I raise my head and look around, I find I’ve done it. Written a chapter, created a giant bowl, completed a scrumble. And everything in the garden is coming up better than I could have planned it.

Note that I didn’t say ‘as good as’ or ‘just like I planned it’. Because, of course, I never do plan anything – well, not entirely. Like the eager child I berated earlier, I’m way too impatient. I used to think this was a failing but – after more than half a century – I’m beginning to understand that it’s actually a blessing.

When I try to harness my creative impulses I’m the one who gets all tied up. But when I set them free, they never fail to amaze and delight me. Like so many things in life, for me it’s all about letting go and going with the flow.

Let’s get ready to….

So far my approach to Scrumbling has been true to the spirit of the art form – unstructured, haphazard and spontaneous.

I’ve spent many happy moments drooling over the book that started it all, ‘Freeform Crochet and Beyond’ by Renate Kirkpatrick; developed a serious habit for acquiring unusual yarn in every hue, weight and texture and have constructed a carrier bag-full of practice pieces, with no particular project in mind.

I’ve crocheted a scarf, a shoulder bag, a cushion cover and a slouchy beanie hat, originally intended for use as bases. To my frustration, these look great ‘unscrumbled’ – or maybe with just a single rosette attached. That’s not the effect I’m aiming for – but I’m not entirely sure what effect I am aiming for, so it’s a start.

The Artist Formally Known As King favours the ‘less is more’ approach. ‘Stylish and bang on trend,’ he proclaims, Gok Wan-like, as he inspects each unembellished article. But he’s a minimalist in everything but his own artwork, which – while somehow managing to appear brilliantly effortless – is, in fact, obsessively detailed and painstakingly accurate. He simply cannot grasp the concept of creating anything without extensive forethought, planning and research. ‘Scrumbling’ I hear him mutter darkly, ‘is the work of the devil!’ Disorganized, untidy, deliberately unobservant of rules governing perspective, scale and precision – no wonder his extreme male brain is determined to steer me back towards the straight and narrow. Bless!

But even I have to admit that the rapidly unraveling balls of yarn and growing piles of spirals, corkscrews, stars and gum nuts (don’t ask) are reaching critical mass. Ready or not, the time has come for me to start joining them together.

I can’t wait to see what happens.

New home

To my dismay and frustration, I can no longer access the ‘Tao of Scrumble’ blog I started on blogspot. com. It is asking me to sign in and, when I do, it’s not accepting my password. The resetting instructions have been sent to an email address I haven’t had access to for several years, and trying to change that has proved impossible.

It’s all too difficult for me to waste any more time or energy on, so I’ve decided to move. From now on Tao of Scrumble is a WordPress blog – which may actually prove easier to manage. I hope so.

Technology is brilliant when it works. I feel as though I am part of a global community, participating in events and contacting friends from the comfort of  my studio.

But when it goes wrong, there seems to be no reasoning with it and, quite frankly, I cannot spend my life hours trying to understand it’s (lack of) motivation.

I’d rather be scrumbling!