Monday, February 19, 2018

Mussels and Limpets

On a recent beach walk, when the tide was out, my grandson and I started noticing all the limpets hanging on to the rocks. He tried to pick one off. It's stuck, he said, looking to me for help. Even a very, very strong person couldn't lift a limpet, I told him. Later I read that limpets move about a metre a night, scraping algae and seaweed off the rocks. It seems they're a herbivore, and the same "teeth" that let them cling to the rocks also lets them eat the food they find where they're anchored, in the intertidal zone. 
Mussels too hang on to their rocky homes for dear life. usually in large groups. Their tightly closed shells help them remain hydrated during low tide and to withstand being baked in the sun. Which got me thinking about what I need to remember to cling to - a fitting "ponder" as I come to the end of my year-long Masterclass with Lisa Call.
I have learned much in the last year, and feel well equipped to move forward in my daily practice as a textile artist, and if I lose my way, I know I too will need to come back "home" and to cling to my foundation ferociously, or I will not be able to withstand the waves or the sun that will surely come (lack of confidence, confusion about direction, build up of clutter, to name just a few), any more than the limpet can.
When I think about the specifics of what I've learned in the last twelve months, it is both hugely personal, and something I want to share with kindreds in this creative life. In spite of my hesitation, I'm willing to give it a shot, because I have gained so much from being on the receiving end of wisdom and insights from so many others.  There's something in the sharing of our stories that empowers us all to move forward.
I am just beginning this process of reviewing the year and identifying the most important lessons learned, so I will go slowly. So in no particular order, these are some of the things that come to mind:
1. The only way to get become a better artist, is to keep on doing the work. Why this isn't more self-evident, I really don't know.
2. Breaking down what I intend to do into small steps is as sure a way of succeeding in doing it as any other way I have ever learned.
3. Having systems in place with which to manage all aspects of my life, including my creative life, helps enormously in getting down to work and wasting a minimum of time.
4. Being accountable to someone else to do what I say I intend to do each week is terrific in helping me stay on track.
5. Looking after my physical health - eating well and exercising regularly - is key to everything else.
6. Celebrating my successes is a good thing to do.
Only six to start with - I want to think a little more before going on. Even six are a lot to think about in any depth.

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