“Discomfort” & Designing

I’m working on something new, which is always exciting and uncomfortable at the same time. *Digression alert* That word -uncomfortable – is also used when you go into a doctor’s office to have a surgical procedure done and they say, “This might pinch a little” or when you go to the dentist to get your wisdom teeth pulled and they say, “You may feel some discomfort.” It’s like that.

When I was in college at Parsons School of Design there was a great deal of talk about design, composition, color theory, but no one sat us down and said, “Look, sometimes a design will just come to you and from start to finish it will be wonderful and you’ll love it and so will everyone else.” And then imagine that person laughing until tears are streaming down their face, only to follow this hopeful comment with, “But most of the time, that actually won’t happen. Most of the time you will follow an idea only to hate it and start all over again. Or you’ll have an idea, love it, start making it, become disappointed with it, tweak it, work on it some more, tweak it some more, hate it, tweak it, like it well enough, keep at it, and if you’re lucky, end up loving it. Or sometimes you’ll have an idea, work on it, decide it’s okay, keep working on it, like it well enough, finish it and realize it’s garbage. And then other times you’ll just hate it, start to finish and wonder whether it’s too late to switch careers.” Okay, actually I do seem to recall one of my teachers saying something like that once. It didn’t go over well.

The point is, most people never talk about the act of designing, but maybe they should. Except for saying hate, they should refrain from using that word, but everything else, because designing something isn’t linear, it’s more fluid and bumpy than that, kind of like life. Some days are easy and pleasant and everything seems to fall into place and other days are a struggle, things go wrong, everything feels off, and then there are all the days in between. That’s just the way it is. The trick is to be okay with the days when everything goes off the rails and to be grateful for the days when things are just okay. The good news is years and years, okay, decades of practice makes those off days feel less “uncomfortable” because you know you’re just having a moment and it will pass. With my River Rocks ~ A Small Pouch design, I had a great many of those “uncomfortable” moments, only to end up loving the end product.

With this new design, things are going along more smoothly, which is lovely and I’m so grateful.

My latest design in the making

*Disclaimer: I speak from my own experience and while I think others will be able to identify, there may be some out there whose experience of designing is completely different. Those people sit down and everything they do is fabulous and gorgeous start to finish and they never have doubts and always love everything they create.

I have no idea who those people are.

6 thoughts on ““Discomfort” & Designing

  1. Hi! I followed the Sue Spargo 90 days. I never ordered the otter project but want to do the rocks. I see where you have presentations online but also where some members wanted thread kits. If today is lesson 12 does that mean you are finished discussing this and are moving on to something else

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Donna, there is one more video that will come out tomorrow, but lots of people are just getting started or are waiting for their threads or somewhere in between. I created a private FB group for this very reason; people can begin any of the various projects, post their progress, ask questions, get support, etc. We’d love for you to join us there, if you feel like it – https://www.facebook.com/groups/295815111542402 Just answer the two questions and someone will approve. I’m always working on new things.


  2. Ariane, the post was amazing today. Just the right amount of levity and reassurance. All days will not be the same creatively and that’s ok. Love the projects and the posts. I haven’t started either but hope to this fall.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Debra. 💖 You are in good company as I think there are a great many who have not begun yet. And anyway, that will give both Global Artisans and The Thread Gatherer plenty of time to catch up on all the orders they have at the moment. It’s a win-win!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Lovely essay and so true! Any writer will admit that writing books is HARD and involves endless days of pages that end up deleted, plots that go off on unexpected and sometimes unworkable tangents and it is enormously frustrating.
    But the more you write, the easier it flows, and then the easier it is to let your own, unique, authentic voice come out in the words.
    I’ve learned too, as a late-blooming actor, that just making the 100% commitment, without letting myself worry about how ridiculous or untalented I might look, is both extremely hard work (you have to learn the skills and practice the craft endlessly to learn it) and incredibly liberating As I watch myself get better over time.
    What is so lovely about your posts is that they reflect so well your generosity of spirit and basic joy in life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Barbara❤️ I think of my writer friends often and it is exactly as you describe. I love what you say about making the 100% commitment. Go all in or go home! It’s such a pleasure watching you grow as an artist. I’m honored to be your friend.


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