What Me Fail? No Way!

I never fail at anything, especially tapestry weaving. I dream up an idea, a design and which materials I will use. I am always spot on. That is how perfect I am. I just don't ever fail.

Take this weekend. I had woven this thin strip on seagrass warp. I posted my results on facebook. Every one admired it. I was on a roll. Yet another amazing success! So if I could make a thin strip with seagrass and hand-painted silk and ribbon, why not a wide piece? I was thinking one and a half feet wide and a couple of feet high. It would be glorious. So what if warping for that tiny strip took me forever because this seagrass stuff is great for making coil baskets and chair seating but not so friendly when trying to wrap it around a loom. But I did it. As I said, I am perfect and I never fail. 

I was having a little bit of an issue with wrangling this recalcitrant seagrass stuff. I wasn't swearing too much although I was glad no small children were around. And this mess of tangled seagrass only fell out of my hands twenty times or so. But hey not everything in life is easy. Perfect yes. Easy, maybe not so much.

Ah! got it warped finally. Noticed a couple of spots where the seagrass looked a little frayed. Not my fault, of course; it came that way and I although I noticed what was I supposed to do? Start over again? No way. I put some tension on that little puppy. Ah, weaving bliss just around the corner. I was dreaming of how beautiful this piece was going to be and how much fun it was going to be to create and how. everyone will celebrate my amazing creation when . . . oh no, not possible, not for me. Snap, snap. Oh that Mirrix can provide the tension but what? Was the seagrass breaking? No, not possible. Oopppps!

Okay, so my first epic failure ever. I tried again. Snap, snap. I tried again. Snap, snap. My language was getting fowler by the minute. Four hours later and a pile of broken, tangled seagrass and I . . . oh no, had epically failed. Could this be me? Could that pile of wasted warp be my pile of wasted warp? No way.

My next attempt was to use the Shasta combs but alas the seagrass was too thick to fit in the spaces between the teeth of the comb. I turned to a different kind of warp.  

I spied some copper wire that I bought years ago at a hardware store sitting on my shelf. Perfect, I thought. Not as thick as the seagrass but I could shape this piece once off the loom. Wouldn't that be fun? And definitely would work because in my mind I already saw the finished product and it was perfect. Had to use the combs because the wire was on a huge bobbin and there was no way I could warp it like that using the warping bar. Warp. Warp. Warp. This was going to be great. So what if my arms were tired of warping at hour five. It was so going to be worth it. I had a little difficulty tying off the end of the copper but that was to be expected. Once I put tension on the warp the tension seemed even and perfect. I was ready to roll. Until snap, snap. Two breaks. Two breaks! Not at the combs teeth but somewhere in the middle. Since as I've mentioned I never (well almost never) fail this was downright shocking. Why were my better angels not looking over my work? I felt abandoned. I was in shock. I was devastated.  The wire had kinks in it. Kinks break. Darn!

copper wire

But I was not going to give up. Two strands of hemp using combs. This was going to be the "third time is the charm." And darn if it was. It was. Eight hours later I had finally warped a loom with a piece that if I can keep my interest might be somewhat the piece I had envisioned although slightly altered from my original vision. Well, a lot altered from my original vision. I'll get back to you once I've played with my third attempt to see if it is a keeper. Only time will tell.

All to say, now that I am able to get my tongue out of cheek: Folks, this is my life filled with fabulous ideas and epic failures. I would say maybe one out of three attempts ends in a satisfying weaving experience and a satisfactory product. I am not even saying a great product. That happens maybe every ten pieces and the jury is out on that. 

Although it might not look like it, this is finally my success story.

weaving 2

Failure is the only way to cross the divide. Failure is how we learn. Failure is how we succeed. So cut that failure off your loom. Give yourself a break. Move on. Find your bliss and know that if you always succeed you have not taken any chances!

 

5 comments

Bettie

Claudia, I’m not sure if I heard it somewhere or read it somewhere else.. or something I started telling myself as I doggedly taught myself numerous creative endeavors… but I repeated it often to my kids, and to a couple of my sisters. It usually went like this: following the usual “What can it hurt? Give it a try.”, I would smile and say “the only true failure is failing to try…”. So, Claudia, from that perspective you are actually right: you don’t fail, you just field-test lots of prototypes until you get it right. Lucky for us, you had that same determination over 20 years ago when dreaming up a portable loom that would take care of your needs. And now, it’s taking care of our needs too!

Patty

I so enjoyed this post. It made me smile and smile again. You are a true artist my dear.

Linda Shenk

Well written, Claudia! The mind’s eye “visuals” were spectacular! You deserve a medal for tenacity. The journey of learning and experiencing is what intrigues me in life. Your story gave me a wonderful perspective in how to give honor to our failures as they are useful tools, even under the cushion of growling! Kudos to you for sharing yours in this delightful story.

Ann Davies

Loved your post. This summer has been an adventure of taking what I’ve learned in classwork with Rebecca Mezoff and actually making my own ideas come to life. No more “samplers” it’s time for the real stuff of life. Kim Piper Werker’s book “Make it Mighty Ugly” is a great resource for “Vanquishing creative demons” and giving creators exercises of how to get out of your own way. Your blog post was a perfect example of taking a creative idea and working it through to completion. Sometimes those ideas work effortlessly and sometimes not but that’s the fun of it, isn’t it? I could just picture that seagrass going all over and then “pinging” under tension. Thanks for sharing your journey!

Liberty

Claudia,
Well thank goodness I’m not the only one!!! 😉

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