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In Mon Petit Atelier


About a week ago, I cleaned my studio. I didn’t actually sew anything then, but I sorted and straightened. I took stock. Since then I’ve been fighting Resistance. Steven Pressfield talks about this foe in his book War of Art. Basically it’s that thing that keeps you from doing what you need to be doing as an artist. You resist making art due to things like fear or doubt. It’s when you actually opt to clean the bathroom to avoid sewing (or writing or painting or whatever.) This past week, I was getting a lot of other things crossed off my to-do list, but not any sewing.

Then, over the weekend, after I took the above photo, I set my laptop up down here in my studio, sandwiched right there in between my serger and sewing machine. I hoped just being in here more would inspire me. (I’m not sure if it’ll stay here though. It wasn’t my original intention to have a computer in here. We didn’t have wi-fi when I remodeled this room and I dreamed of having a place just to create, forced away from all other distractions. That’s my main worry—that it’ll be a distraction, that I’ll chose pinning over pinning, so to speak. Yet, I have a notion to turn this into more than a studio, morph it into a multipurpose haven. I’d love a comfy chair in the corner. And place to sketch and paint again. And yes, perhaps a little place for my laptop. It’s such a small space though, so I’ll just have to wait and see.)

Anyway, finally on Wednesday, I did it. You could hear the hum of the sewing machine, smell the heat of the iron. I sewed something! (Once I hem it, I’ll share photos.) I don’t mean to be cliché here, but it really is like riding a bike—a little awkward at first but soon you find your balance and are cruising along.

Part of why Resistance is so strong right now is the sheer volume of projects and ideas I have on my work table and in my head. It’s overwhelming. I don’t know where to begin. I’ve narrowed it down to a few projects that are almost near completion. I’m hoping finishing projects will be reward enough to fuel this spark and keep me burning.

Do you deal with a lot of “Resistance” in your life? How do you fight it?

And where do you create? Does the space serve more than one purpose? Out of choice or necessity?

Most nights when I go to sit down in front of the computer to type up a post, my brain goes to mush. The busy day catches up with me and my body just wants the comfy chair in the family room and my mind wants silly TV. With that said, I’m sorry for letting your comments linger in my inbox. I also have a ton of unread posts in my reader. Just like with my projects, it’s overwhelming so I avoid it altogether. I’m hoping for a little downtime to get caught up. Do know that I appreciate you visiting and commenting.

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19 Comments

  1. Reply
    Snoodles September 26, 2012

    My resistance is to the cleaning and organizing. LOL The projects tumble out of my head into my notebook or onto my sewing table….shared space with my office. Boo. One of these days…. :)

    • Reply
      Liesl September 27, 2012

      Do you ever get distracted by the office-y stuff?

      I hope someday you’ll have your *dream* studio. :)

  2. Reply
    Sara September 27, 2012

    Good on ya for fighting resistance, girl. I experience it quite a lot and find it very frustrating… I’ve got a lot of things I enjoy doing, all creative outlets, but the only thing I experience real resistance with is writing. It’s such a strange feeling for me though, because when the writing’s going well — which it often does when I force myself to sit down and just do it — it’s such an emotional high.

    Oh, I also do it with gardening. There’s a lot that needs to be done right now, but Í keep telling myself that I’ll go out and work if it would just rain a little. We should be getting the first rain of the season soon… hope.

    I also don’t have a designated space in which to create. Not yet, anyway. We’ll be organizing and rearranging the house starting tomorrow, and then I’ll definitely have a studio space.

    xo

    • Reply
      Liesl September 27, 2012

      Ah yes, I know that high. Honestly, sometimes I feel like, for me, crafting is part of the resistance towards *art.* I fear that I craft to avoid making ‘real’ art. Being clever with fabric is quite different than spilling your heart out on a page or canvas.

      Hope you get some rain soon! Should we do a rain dance? ;)

  3. Reply
    nicola.lynde September 27, 2012

    Often times I let myself resist for a certain length of time, try to give myself the break I feel I need. Then usually plunge back in head first, on a day off, home alone, early. Always armed with a pot of tea and plenty of patience. If I don’t have the energy and my whole self in something then it turns out poorly.

    • Reply
      Liesl September 27, 2012

      A while back a reader here mentioned the word ‘fallow.’ I think it’s a great metaphor for that restful period we need to give ourselves between projects. :)

  4. Reply
    LightHouseBlues September 27, 2012

    Resistance, oh yeah… A friend that will never leave…. ;-)
    I have had Resistance all my life, but never understand why until quite recently. I believe it is a big part of the creative process, and it “helps” (forces) us to think outside the box.
    I have that book too, it is a fantastic book, I have it in my cellphone, so whenever Resistance strikes, I listen to the book, walking my dogs in the forest. That ease things a bit. Then I just do as he says; DO the WORK! That maybe not be your best work ever, but you’r on the track again…
    Good luck my friend, and just DO the work! :-)
    Marie

    • Reply
      Liesl September 27, 2012

      So true. Just keep making art—good or bad, even if you doubt yourself, just keep making it.

  5. Reply
    Donna September 27, 2012

    I hadn’t heard about Resistance before but that totally resonates with me. I think I need to read that book, thanks for talking about it!

    • Reply
      Liesl September 27, 2012

      It’s a great book. It applies to more than just Art too. It’s a battle cry for anyone who avoids going after the things they want in life due to “Resistance.”

  6. Reply
    Jessica@CapeofDreams September 27, 2012

    I tell people about my projects because if they are asking me about them I am more likely to work on them. It makes me more accountable. That is in part why I started my blog.

  7. Reply
    ann at thevelvetaubergine September 27, 2012

    This is interesting. I have projects I want to complete (or begin!), but they languish. Not always, but sometimes. I’m home with a toddler and that’s a challenge too. There’s generally time to type things like this out while he’s playing in the same room, but less time to sew with any reasonable attention if he’s around. Also: dangerous tools!

    I agree with Jessica that it’s easier to work on things that I’ve mentioned on my blog.

    Here’s where I work: http://www.thevelvetaubergine.com/2012/09/13/studio-tour/

    It’s tiny, but full of everything I need. I find it inspiring to be there.

    • Reply
      Liesl September 27, 2012

      I’m sure that is hard, having a little one around. I’m pretty spoiled. I always wonder how I would do if I had to share my time and space with someone (a child or an adult.) Off to check out your space!

  8. Reply
    Sara September 27, 2012

    Funny…I too wrote a post on these exact feelings, just a few days ago. Good for you on getting started! I procrastinate by taking a nap! Most of my sewing time is during my daughter’s nap time and I always, always plan to get into the studio at that time…but then a litte computer time leads into feeling sleepy, which leads into napping! Argh!

    • Reply
      Liesl September 27, 2012

      Oh those tempting naps! I could use one right now… :)

  9. Reply
    sweetfemininity September 27, 2012

    I totally relate to that! I feel like when I finally have time to do extra activities, (for me that’s drawing, practicing piano, or guitar) I just… can’t! :P I do think you really have to get over that block before you can be truly productive. It’s great when I can simply – draw! (or write or practice or… ;) )

    • Reply
      Liesl September 27, 2012

      I often find that getting started is the hardest part. Once I get my momentum it’s hard to stop. But yeah, starting…

  10. Reply
    harmony October 2, 2012

    My space is one end of our dining room which connects (open) to the kitchen, the living room and hallway. I could move to a smaller more alone space but A. the main source of heat in the house is a wood burning stove in “my space” and although I have debated several times about “moving out” of this grand central part of the house I sort of enjoy being connected. . .

    Ah resistance – I use to fight it, make deals with myself, commitments, rewards and punishments. The older I get the more I listen to my resistance and the less I worry about it. YES, I can find myself doing all sorts of “other” things to avoid a particular project but usually those “other” things (cleaning, bills, etc) need to get done and instead of feeling guilty I find myself feeling accomplished. The neglected project will A. either hatch at in its own time or B. it won’t. B. is not the end of the world. Being patient with inspiration I find much more rewarding than forcing it. My mantra “all good things in all good time.”

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