The Thing And I – A Risky Business


I thought I’d just share a thought about experimenting as I chug along with my homework.
One thing I have noticed is that there is quite a lot of risk involved in developing a piece of work from more of an unplanned perspective. I think it goes like this…

You start by creating some new things that might be unfamiliar, wonderful or just rather odd. You then appraise them and decide that you have some favourite pieces, or have ones with a bit more possibility.
You know these are not the end product, although you may just sit and stare at the wondrous things for a while.
You also know that you are being encouraged to develop more complexity, to consider what potential the piece holds. It’s a bit like carving away at a lump of wood – somehow there seems to be something more wanting to come out!

It’s then that you have to take a risk. Do I risk this bit of material and try something that I know will change it, especially if I really like it anyway? If it’s a bit of a treasure it can be really hard. I have found this whilst working on ‘The Thing’. At the outset, I quite liked the strange knitted nonsense that came to fruition, with all its hairiness and textures, lumps and bumps. I then took the first risk – cutting up a piece of felt and weaving it into the holes.


Risk two was sewing organza into it and having some of the hairy yarn and bumpy surface die back. At this point I cut slits in the organza so the yarns could come through in a small concerned moment. Risk three was sewing anything into it at all because I loved the colours anyway and I knew that in committing to this step, it would take a long time to cover it in stitch. In any case, what stitches would I do? Risk four came in presenting it back to the group with the suggestion from our Wise One that lots more stitch was in order!


In carrying on, the surface has got flatter and things have become hidden. I want to say that they have been lost (I’m just reminding myself that I’m talking about a piece of knitting here!!), but actually they have just become more subtle and the whole thing is different, not worse. The textures have been knocked back but the stitching is now adding something new and coming into focus.


It has helped me to hold my experiments more lightly and go with the possibility of transforming something because many things can be repeated if necessary. That said, the time you invest in it turns it into a treasure, so I have developed a kind of meerkat behaviour where I regularly plop it on the floor and sit up a bit and look at it from a distance to ask myself if an area needs a bit more, or I need to do something different.

I think that in future I won’t be quite so anxious about something turning out ‘as expected’. As an educational trainer, I am always delivering this message about young children engaging in the process of creativity. I am only talking about a bit of fluff and nonsense I have lovingly called ‘The Thing’ but this is about engaging in the process and this bit of homework is definitely teaching me a lesson.

I will post when finished…whenever that is!

7 thoughts on “The Thing And I – A Risky Business

  1. I’m intrigued by ‘thing’ and admire your boldness. I am definitely ‘risk adverse’, so fearful of ‘spoiling’ something I’ve created that I often delay or fail to complete it altogether. Hence the pile of unquilted quilt tops in my bedroom cupboard! I need to get processing and enjoy the ride!

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