Loose Threads. A phrase that has been floating around in my head for some time now. This is usually how it starts for me, a new image or project. Words. Then the words turn into images. Every artist has that thing that propels them forward into new creative territory. For me it is usually these nagging phrases. On rare occasion it is a single visual symbol that appears in my head, that I then promptly look up the definition for - bringing me back to dance between words and images again.
So what is it about this particular phrase for me - loose threads? I like the idea of something being held together yet pulled apart by the same thing. That fragile yet strong piece of fiber can create a protective layer above your skin or snag on something in an instant and begin to unravel, leaving a noticeable absence and disruption in it's place. As I'm writing this I'm realizing that this accurately describes the dichotomy a mother of young children may hold inside of them. Yet ask me why this particular visual metaphor came to me and that I have no clear answer for. I suppose the image of fabric can be traced back to comforting blankets I wrap my children in every night. But was that the thing that triggered the metaphor or was it something else? And why did it happen to come to me in the term "loose threads"? Perhaps my subconscious recognized the conflict in my mental state and made an association with a familiar object? Beautiful and mysterious how the mind works.
I seem to come back to the idea of opposing forces in my work quite often. The push and pull that exists within us, such as the early metaphor I came across in college that never left me, of the serpent eating it's tail. What I wouldn't give to know why we are drawn to a particular creative line of investigation over and over again. It's as if the overarching message present in our artwork is somehow etched into our souls. It's something that cannot be erased or deviated from. And if we are honest with ourselves while making work, it's a pretty clear mirror into our core. I was asked by a student recently how they should go about finding their artistic voice. I answered, "you already have, just listen.".
If it were possible to lay out every work of art we ever created and read it chronologically like chapters in a book, I think we would be amazed at the power that it holds within it. At times while we are making work it may feel like we are veering off track - going in a new direction - or intentionally splitting off from where we were prior. Yet in hindsight, it is all bound together like a perfect book. Each piece revealing something about that particular chapter of our lives. It never ceases to amaze me when I look back on work and try to tie one series to the next. It all lines up and tells a story - one bigger than I could have planned, and definitely bigger than any one single image could ever tell.
So when pondering the mind of an artist I can't think of better words to describe it than pure magic.