1/20/08

Meditation or Patience?

"People who see my work for the first time often say to me, “You must have a lot of patience.” I always have to suppress a grin when I hear this because I am not at all patient. What the viewer may mistake for patience is only the result of my concentrating on sequential small areas over an extended period of time. After focusing intently on a small, highly defined space for many days, I lose sight of the world around me. Patience is not a factor. For me, the experience is more like meditating."

I copied the above paragraph off another fiber/bead artist's website because I could have written it about myself and because I've read the same thing over and over (in slightly different words but the gist is the same) in other beaders' websites, blogs and artist statements all over the web.

Obviously, many of us are experiencing that same sense of focused attention while doing our work that people experience when meditating.

What I find interesting is that you rarely (if at all) ever hear those kind of statements from fine artists in their artist statements and I wonder why? I know that when I am in the process of drawing something, I have that same feeling of focused attention as I have when beading, so I can only imagine that the painters feel it too....I wonder why it's never mentioned?

But my experience is limited...so if you've seen examples of painters and/or sculptors mentioning the meditative aspects of their art making process, please send me a link...I'd love to read it!

14 comments:

SuzyQ said...

Hi Bobbi,
Gosh, that's a really good observation. I've never noticed. I will keep it in mind now as I surf the web though.
It's funny but for me I've often thought of the focused attention needed and how I have always been this way. I remember when I was little, I used to draw endless tiny little bricks and lines in huge drawings of castles....I noticed too that David Chatt mentioned this as well - doing a similar thing when he was a child. I wonder if maybe no one talks about it because their focus on detail is so "instinctual" to them and their process?
Anyhow, great observation and I'll keep my eyes open.
Thanks for writing about this!
Sue

Lainie said...

Your blog and your work are both terrific! I agree that all forms of stitching can be deeply meditative, especially bead embroidery. I'm not sure if this is what you're looking for but you might enjoy this post on my blog:
http://lainie.typepad.com/redthread/2008/01/eye-of-the-need.html

beadbabe49 said...

thank you both for your insightful comments! and thanks for the link to your blog, lainie...it's given me even more to think about...

I think what caught me about the artist's statement I quoted was how often I'd heard it before from fiber artists and how rarely from "fine" artists, like painters and such. In fact, I've read many artist statements (I work at a visual arts center and have been involved in the arts most of my life), and most of them are not particularly similar to each other...but the fiber artists often have these two ideas in common...one, that doing the work doesn't "take" patience, it confers it, and two, the process itself is meditative.
What that led me to was realizing that when I'm drawing, I'm coming from the same place and it "feels" similar to when I'm beading...but, and this is also interesting to me, when I'm doing my digital photography, I'm not in the same space at all....no meditative feel to that process at all...it's much more of a quick, intuitive action...like a lot of painting is...so that may be why the painters don't describe their process as meditative? But drawing is or can be?
See...it's the question of where this all comes from that intrigues me...

The Lone Beader said...

That first paragraph applies to me, as well.

artandtea said...

Hey, that first paragraph could be describing me, too! Many people have remarked how patient I am to work with such teeny tiny beads like that. Grin. I don't consider myself all that patient, I just love beads and all of their beautiful colors. It's being completely in tune with the flow of the universe and working with little pieces of light. Getting into the meditative flow, like you said, Bobbi.
I really enjoyed seeing all of your Basho pieces grouped together like that!
-Karen

Lidia said...

Hi Bobbi - I totally agree with the paragraph - I have little or no patience for many things but I can stitch thousands of beads and feel refreshed at the end. When I don't have time for beadwork I almost feel like something is missing. Here's a link to an artist statement that mentions that his process is medative if I come across others I'll send them on. http://andriesgouws.homestead.com/artstatemt.html
BTW - I love the first 24 Basho pieces in your Flickr album. Lidia

Infovorous said...

Curiously enough, dance is very similiar. Admittedly you end up with what seems in some ways like a much more immediate product, but its truly not any more immediate. With dance you end up training for years before anyone will allow you on stage (not unlike bead art if you carry the metaphor far enough). The key for me was that even though you can easily spend your first two years of dance in the studio without ever seeing the shiny lights, you stop noticing that and start to just enjoy the meditative qualities of sinking inside yourself further to get control of your instrument. Hmmm, perhaps I shall go ramble some more somewhere else now!

beadbabe49 said...

Great to see more comments...it's almost a survey now, lol!

thanks, lidia...I'll check out the link you mention...

infovorous! lovely to see you here...had no idea you read the blog...come back and comment anytime!

beadbabe49 said...

checked indries link, lidia...fine work!

KV said...

Excellent topic, Bobbi -- having been both a fine artist (many, many years ago before I had a family) and now a bead artist, I must say I do find the beading process much more meditative than what I experienced as a painter. However, that said, I was also one of those who could work with either a pencil or pen and ink for hours and days on end forming every single leaf on a series of trees or bricks and cobblestones on a winding city street and that process came pretty close to what we find ourselves doing as we bead.

And then, too, each and every one of us experiences things so differently . . .


Kathy V in NM

KV said...

Finally found the artist statement from a dear friend of ours at http://www.ralphwhiteakergallery.com/about_the_artist.htm#Artist_Statement:0

This is one of the most spiritual persons I know and he definitely uses meditation in his work.


Kathy V in NM

beadbabe49 said...

thanks for your comments, kathy...sounds like your experience is similar to many of us while in the process of beading...and thanks for the link to ralph's site...love his color sense and the feeling it evokes.

beadexplorer said...

I am not patient at all. But beading or other crafts teach me patience. And yes, the first paragraph is just how I think, too!

Robin said...

Ditto the first paragraph and your description of the same thing. Amy Clarke and I wrote about the meditative experience of beading in the intro to our book, Beaded Embellishment. But, like you, I've never read an artist's statement by a "fine artist" (in the traditional sense) that mentions either patience or meditative qualities. Good topic... thanks!