Thursday, May 2, 2024

Against Sameness

I'm not sure if you are aware: a very famous pop star released a new album last week. Now, I have nothing against said pop star, but think, have you heard of any other albums being released lately? Surely, that must have happened?? (Other than Beyonce's.) I have been struggling with sameness, a consequence of this hyper-connected society. What is happening to our collective creativity when all of our inputs are the same? This article explains how the publishing industry is basically run on celebrity memoirs and Colleen Hoover. Now, as a reader I have not had difficulty finding boundless wonderful books to capture my attention. But how many more talented authors are not being published because they don't have social media reach, or are writing in styles other than the most popular? Aren't we all missing out?

There has been a lot of talk recently about artists being paid for their work. Many are using platforms like Substack and Patreon to create income streams for themselves. Here's the thing, though: this is still all still rooted in capitalism. Consumers will only consider paying for content if they like that content. As an artist, your potential reach is limited by how palatable and consistent your product is. You guessed it: this leads to sameness. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we had the freedom to create what we needed to create without the pressure of sales? I salute everyone working that day job and creating on the side, everyone publishing free blog posts just for the love of it, everyone who tries new things and shares them without guarantee of payment and success.

When I discover someone who is doing something I have never seen before, I jump with joy. People like Maira Kalman, Ella Frances Sanders (her newsletter is the best I have read), and this guy who writes a daily story on his typewriter. There are people making giant artworks and embarking on ridiculous life experiments for no reason other than they think it will be fun or interesting. And that is the way to live, my friends! My antidote to sameness is limiting what I consume online. Short videos (reels and the like) have been creeping in, so I now avoid them at all costs. I try to only go on Instagram when I have to post something for my business. I stick to YouTube videos by channels I am subscribed to. And of course, I love everyone's blogs about their everyday lives. What other artists should I be paying attention to?

In other news, I picked up my final pottery pieces, which are the most functional I have made such far. I dream of a day I can have my own pottery setup at home, but I know I don't have the time or space for that in my life right now. I love that I can see improvement from the several months I took classes. I will have to pause my practice for now, however, as flower season has started.

Tulips were fast and furious, then over in 3 weeks. Every year I say I'm not going to grow them anymore, and then I few weeks later I put in my order for next year.

I picked up this typewriter at a local thrift store for only $10! I didn't need a typewriter, but who could say no to this beauty from the 1970s? After I installed a new ribbon, it works like a charm.

I finally finished spinning this fiber that was on my wheel since 2020. It's a 3-ply that worked out to about a heavy fingering, so if you are a spinner, you know those are verrrrrry thin singles and why it took me so long to spin this 4 ounces. I'm not enthused by spinning these days (if this is not the perfect illustrative example) but I'm keeping my wheels (plural) because you never know what will inspire.

I also finished up this giant shawl I've been knitting all winter. The pattern is Lake Constance and the yarns are a mismash of various things I had in my stash; I do know that the gradient is Stroll from Knitpicks. The shawl turned out way bigger than I usually knit shawls, but I didn't even finish the pattern! I knew I had to stop early before it took over. I am going to pause on knitting shawls for the time being and work on more wearable knits to incorporate into my dream handmade wardrobe. 

I hope you all are having some warmer temperatures where you are. Coming out of the dark and dreary winter is the best feeling!