Or how life is like a ball of string
I spend much of my creative time playing with string. I receive fairly regular tactile typography commissions where I shape the outlines of words with nails and then fill in the areas by winding coloured thread. As a result, I have many balls of string, thread, wool and cotton lying around my studio and no matter how hard I try, they inevitably snap and get tangled.
As I tried to unwind a particularly stubborn bundle of threads, it occurred to me that without the structure of the letter forms, the threads collapse in on each other and become impossible to detangle. Yet once they are held taught on the nails and woven into a structured pattern, the individual threads work together in unique and beautiful ways.
I started to realise this was a pretty powerful metaphor for our multiple passions, hobbies, activities and pursuits. Trying to keep them all neat and separate is either a futile activity or it results in them all being wound neatly on separate bobbins and we get too scared to unwind them, lest they become tangled again. Wow. When I realised this I knew it was powerful stuff.
As a newly diagnosed Passion Weaver, I want to explore the structure that holds these threads taught, and yet allows them to all interweave in really beautiful ways. What if this was a metaphor for our lives? How do we keep hold of all the threads when so much is going on? What structure can we wind and weave the threads of our lives around?
A life that feels chaotic and out of control might equate to a tangled ball of string.
A life that is focused on order and control might equate to a roll of neatly wound threads on bobbins – full of potential, but nothing is ever created for fear of making a tangled mess.
What if there was a third option? What if there was a structure and process which allowed all the strands of meaning in our lives to interweave and create something larger and more beautiful than the individual threads?
I don’t know what it is yet, but as someone with a messy tangled ball of life threads right now, I love the metaphor and look forward to untangling my life soon.
But instead of winding each one tight and separate, I want to create a structure which allows me to weave my passions together into something large and beautiful.