21 July 2010

It's as Simple as Bliss

Blog hiatuses always seem to require an explanation, but as I've been thinking about why I haven't blogged in 6+ months, I realized that my story is really of interest only to me, possibly my mother, and my future biographer (HA!). Suffice it to say that having stopped blogging, it was really hard to start up again. That darn inertia. (Being married to a physicist has its perks. I can blame my laziness on immutable laws of the universe.)

Unsurprisingly, my blogging hiatus coincided with an art hiatus, and it's only been the past couple weeks really where I have found myself slipping back into high gear, rather than trudging through the doldrums (and mixing my metaphors).

And now if you would indulge a seemingly tangential story, I promise you that it leads right back to the present.

A year ago (or more or less, my sense of time for this is distorted), I followed a link in an email to Christine Reed's blog, BlissChick, where she writes about discovering and truly living an artful life of bliss. The first post I read was on mindfulness, which is something that speaks to me deeply. I added her to my bloglines subscriptions, even though I thought the concept of living your bliss to be a little "hooey." But something niggled to me to subscribe and I did.

At the time, I was living a good, creative life. And it was a very good life. Co-owning Stitch Your Art Out with Cynthia surrounds me with creativity and community every day. It is a blessing to be able to share the joys of fiber art and craft with so many. At home, my husband encouraged me to work on my own fiber art and find my voice as an artist. And for a while I did, leading to the Bellefonte Exhibit and the Centre Pieces Quilt Show. But then I fell into a artistic slump and created nothing for months.

All the while, I kept reading Christine's blog, kept learning about how she found her bliss , and realized that something was missing. I was happy and comfortable, but where was my bliss? The question kept niggling at me. I knew I was ready to expand my life and move forward as an artist.

But what was my bliss?

I had an inkling it was in mixed-media. I liked the idea of blending paper and paint and stitch and cloth. For months I collected paints, books, and ideas. I surrounded myself with intentions and wielded my supplies like a totem, as though wishing and wanting are enough in themselves.

It took more courage than I realized to head into my studio and begin to create in this new media. I prepared some journal pages and some paper-cloth substrates. It took a couple days in this humidity before they were cured enough to work with. I started painting and inking and within minutes was enthralled in creative ecstasy. I learned to break the rules and find that I can create something beautiful from cloth and paper and glue and ink and paint and stitch.

Every day since then has been a revelation. I see the world in a completely different way. Everything seems possible now. I know that I'm still learning about this new method of expression. And I'm open to it for however long it takes.

I discovered who I am in a truly meaningful and life-altering way: I am an artist and I need to create. I had found my bliss.

I think back to that little niggling voice that compelled me to subscribe to Christine's blog even though I thought it was "hooey." It's like part of me knew that I needed to find my bliss. I kept reading because I was so compelled by her story. And by following her story, I came to understand the concept of bliss. That understanding changed my life: because in order to find something, you must first believe that it is real.

It really is as simple as bliss.


Abbey said...

I'm glad your back blogging Kim. I really appreciated this blog. I too struggle to pull out that artist in me. I know it has to do with fibre...but does it have to be just knitting something to wear or sewing something to wear? I don't think so but what is it? I think I hold myself back because I think I have to take a class in what I want to do or I'm afraid to try it because it might be hard in frustrating and so I don't let myself just dive in and experiment. I'm still young though so maybe some of that comes with age. Anyway, thanks a lot for this thought provoking blog entry!

Kimberly said...

Thanks Abbey! You'll find it. There is something to diving in, but to a certain extent, I think you have to be ready to dive in. I started quilting 10 years ago and it's taken time for me to move from traditional quilting, to creating my own patterns, to art quilting, to painting and mixed media. For me anyway, I had to move in increments...learn something, feel comfortable with it, begin to feel constrained by it, and then search for a way to move beyond. But who knows what your path may be!

Anonymous said...

Where is my bliss?..... in my sewing room buried? Mom