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Thread: ARTS: Enjoying the Tedious

  1. #1

    ARTS: Enjoying the Tedious

    Last week I started a new weaving project, last night I was working on the 3rd step of the process for getting the warp onto the loom and was contently going about my work. Im at the point when Im threading the heedles, which means I have to take each of the 350 threads and thread them through a piece of metal with a hole in it. While doing this, I have to make sure to go through the right heedle, keep the threads in order and double check before moving on.

    My significant other came home while I was doing it, and just shook his head at me. How is it that you find this enjoyable? I laughed. And then I thought about a facebook post I had seen earlier in the day. The poster was complaining that the fun part of weaving doesnt last long enough. Because you have to spend all this time making a warp, wrapping the warp, threading, tensioning. And then you finally get to start weaving and it goes too fast. Then you have to finish the project which means the dreaded twisting of fringes or hemstitching, and wet setting.

    It made me laugh to think of the time I had already spent on this project... I wont call it the not fun part.

    So my question to all of you, do you enjoy all the parts of the process? Whether it be cleaning the wool, rinsing the dye from the fiber, or tearing out several rows of a piece because there is a problem.

    What does this have to do with practice? On the face of it, the dropping of likes and dislikes allows us to enjoy the process more. But deeper, I think it is connected with samu. The heart of dedicated work practice. Diligently doing something with your whole self.

    Can you approach the tedious portions of creation as much as you enthusiasm as the fun parts?

    Gassho,
    Shoka
    (she/her)
    Sat
    Last edited by Shoka; 03-03-2021 at 01:54 PM.
    香道 笑花
    Kodo Shoka

    Please don't take anything I say as anything more than just a normal person's thoughts on the topic. I'm just stumbling through life trying to be helpful, but really don't know much.

  2. #2
    When I started painting, I made a conscious decision that I was not going to focus on the finished product, but on the process. I enter the process. I wallow in the process. I lose myself in the process. At some point I decide to step out of the process. This has made all the difference for me.

    There are plenty of people who say, "You know, I have always wanted to paint."
    There are plenty of people who say, "You know, I have always wanted to write."
    There are plenty of people who say, "You know, I have always wanted to play an instrument."

    But I think that most of the time, what they want is to have painted a painting, to have written a book, and to have played music. That is not the same thing. If you want a painting, best to buy one from someone who enjoys the process of actually painting, of giving a part of their lives over to the process of painting. Are there parts of the process I enjoy less? Sure. But those parts are as much filled with the million decisions* as any other. I paint because I love painting. I also happen to appreciate paintings, but even if I didn't I would still paint.

    Gassho
    Nengei
    Sat today. LAH.

    A great artist I know describes the process of creating a painting, from start to finish, as a million decisions. At any point you have the option of making your painting better, or worse, by the decision you make at that moment. A poor decision amplifies itself through the remainder of the process, so you want to make more good decisions than bad ones.
    Last edited by Nengei; 03-03-2021 at 02:30 AM.

  3. #3
    Nengei,

    Absolutely! The whole process can be the joy, not just the end project. When I tell people how many hours go into making a small items such as a beanie they are often shocked. If I just needed something to keep my head warm I would go buy it.

    My brother is a musician and he loves practicing. Not just the final playing of songs, but actively enjoys working through hard sections, doing the finger exercises, scales and theory.

    Gassho,
    Shoka
    (she/her)
    sat/lah
    香道 笑花
    Kodo Shoka

    Please don't take anything I say as anything more than just a normal person's thoughts on the topic. I'm just stumbling through life trying to be helpful, but really don't know much.

  4. #4
    Member Seikan's Avatar
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    Apr 2020
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    Massachusetts, United States
    This is a great topic to reflect upon. Reading the thread just now, I came to a realization as to why I've made some abrupt changes in my creative pursuits.

    For years (decades, really) I focused most of my creative efforts on photography. That said, I thought of myself more as a visual artist that used photography as the primary medium. I rarely went out and captured photos of what I saw. Most of my work was carefully planned out ahead of time with regard to setting, model, props, theme, etc. While I was usually quite happy with the final results of my efforts, I often struggled through the shooting and editing process (especially the latter, as I can be too much of a perfectionist).

    Over the past few years, I have switched back to writing as my primary outlet. The only reason I really gave myself for the switch was that I wasn't as inspired to create new photographic art anymore. While that is still true, I'm realizing now that it was more of a resistance to the process itself. I still had/have plenty of ideas for things to create, but I didn't want to labor through the process of manifesting those ideas visually through photography. With writing, I truly enjoy the full process. I love working and re-working a single short poem over weeks or even months until it feels right. It never feels laborious.

    Thank you Shoka for starting this discussion. It provided the exact impetus that I needed to better understand why I changed my focus.

    Gassho,
    Seikan

    -stlah-
    聖簡 Seikan (Sacred Simplicity)

  5. #5
    Great topic. Thank you.

    With writing I find I often have to keep working through that feeling of tedium, and then I get to the point where it is the words and images and stories. Once it is all about the words and images and stories, any sense of tedium vanishes. Sometimes the first 10 minutes or half hour or whatever of a writing session is painfully tedious. But it usually passes if I keep working.

    Gassho, Jim
    ST/LaH

    Sent from my SM-T510 using Tapatalk
    No matter how much zazen we do, poor people do not become wealthy, and poverty does not become something easy to endure.
    Kōshō Uchiyama, Opening the Hand of Thought

  6. #6

    ARTS: Enjoying the Tedious

    It's taken me 6 mo to work on the dedication/intro to my book of poems. I started with 24 pages. Now it's 4 and it might go back to 6. I uploaded all the poetry in a few days. The editing process will take me 7 months of sporadic work i have 4 versions of the body of the work. I love working, writing, editing, producing a honed piece of writing. Often the poetry is entirely different from where I began. The beauty of a book of a poetry might begin in an outputting of emotions but the real poetry is sculpture in my editing process! The truth is I love to write and I love poetry. Many poets work like me. William Stafford, the Pulitzer Prize winning poet used to set aside 4 to 5 hours early in the morning to work. The rest of his day was set aside for teaching. Preparing lessons, lectures and workshops. In the evening he would relax.He kept to a schedule making the poems 1/3 of his day, writing and editing, the rest his college teaching career. At his death he was called the grandad of America Poetry. He has been my model since I was 29-years-old. I sent him a portfolio of my poems when I was 38 and he gladly critiqued my poems. He had a gentle hand.
    Gassho
    sat/ lah
    Tai Shi
    Last edited by Tai Shi; 03-04-2021 at 01:50 AM.
    ...Thought and action/ your life would never experience, (even before you were born), But he also being the Devine Cannot, He etched every moment of your existence, With His own hand... Haifiz

  7. #7
    Fantastic thread.

    When I think of the craft of spinning, I cannot separate the act of spinning at the wheel from the process of preparing the fiber and say: the work at the wheel is spinning and nothing else is. It is all spinning. It is all process.

    When I think of my photography work, I cannot separate the act of taking the picture from the act of loading the film and say: only taking the picture is photography. It is all photography. It is all process.

    When I am putting away my orchid growing compound, do I say: now I am not engaged in growing orchids? At what point am I not growing orchids? I am always growing orchids. I am always in process.

    It's like saying only when I'm awake and with my partner am I in love.

    If there is tedium in anything we do, it is part of what it means to be engaged in process, which is ongoing and never ending.

    Gassho,

    Hensho

    sat
    Hensho: Knitting Strands / Stranded on a Reef
    "Knit on with confidence and hope through all crises." -Elizabeth Zimmerman

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