The Joy of Obsession

Often referred to as a negative, I’ve always thought of obsessions as a lifeline to exploration, creativity, joy and boundless energy. Being obsessed with something (rather than someone) results in any number of truly awe-inspiring things, such as these artists who carve thread spools into amazing miniature works of art.

Or Andrea Love whose website is filled with animations that she creates using felted wool.

How does one work through the fear that inevitably arises when creating if one isn’t obsessed with whatever it is you’re working on? I love creative, obsessive people (and thankfully so does my husband!)

My latest hand stitched piece began as a challenge for myself – Pick a fabric that is on top of the pile and do something with it. And so it began. The fabric that lay before me is a color I find problematic. It’s a kind of pinkish, salmon flesh tone. There’s nothing wrong with the color, it just isn’t a color that speaks to me, particularly. But I had set myself up with a challenge and so I was determined to see where it took me. That was in the beginning of November.

The beginning…

I began playing around, trying different threads and thread weights adding texture in the form of hand dyed cheesecloth, wrapped wooden beads, etc. At one point in a moment of desperation I took some pastels and just painted right over the fabric and the stitching. Gasp! I know. I know. Sometimes taking drastic measures is exactly what’s needed, though.

And slowly, very, very slowly it began to take shape. There were plenty of moments when I thought – well, worse case scenario I’ll just use this piece to demonstrate various things, including what to do when you don’t know what to do or how to proceed!

But I kept at it and eventually began seeing things I liked, as opposed to all the things I didn’t. And once that happened, I began to turn a corner with this piece. However were it not for the fact that I’m obsessed with hand stitching, creating and designing, there’s no way I would have stuck it out. This piece would have been put into a corner and forgotten about. I credit my obsessiveness, dogged determination and perseverance as the reason that didn’t happen.

Perseverance – 23″ x 18″

The joy of being obsessive.

4 thoughts on “The Joy of Obsession

  1. It was an exciting journey taken with you. It was interesting how between videos some elements disappear and something new appears in it’s place. It takes guts to take out stitches for me. It really is a process and that has been a valuable takeaway for me. I look forward to the New Year learning more about the creative process and stitching.

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    1. I’ve learned that ripping out is just part of my process and that takes some of the worry out of it. I’m excited to begin the next piece and am happy others want to come along for the ride!

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  2. As always, love your blog post. I agree that watching and listening to your process from beginning to close to end has been fascinating. I also love how in our Stitch Along – Making Waves – we are learning the mechanics of improvisation in small doses to become a large template and should we take advantage of your process. I am learning so much in the process. I love creativity but am very timid and doubtful of myself when trying new things – afraid of failure. Once I finally started, you have removed that barrier for me. I love learning how you teach us – if that makes sense. I know I’ve said all this a million times but – Thank you!! You are so greatly appreciated Ariane!!

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    1. Thank you so much Sandy. ❤️ I’m so happy you feel this way. That makes me very happy! I really appreciate you telling me this as it’s nice to know that what I’m doing is helpful. One never knows unless people say!! So thank you.
      I just got the stretchers for both this piece and the other one I did over the late summer/early fall. I have an idea of how I’m going to adhere them, but we will see how it goes. I’ll post in our group when I’ve figured it out. In the meantime it’s back to our stitch along. Trying a couple new things, so we’ll see how that goes. ❤️💕❤️

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