A 2021 100 Day Project Update
Natural Arrangements 2
The last time I wrote about the 100 Day Project, I said I was going to experiment with silk organza...
I cut a piece of silk organza that I had on hand and began to work with it. I only had to bead and couch one blade of grass onto it to see that it would not work in the way I hoped. First, you can see through it completely. Second, the thread puckers the fabric. I would need to use a very delicate thread for it not to do so and I have no desire to do so. I don’t want the thread to fade into the background as it is important to me as an element of the compositions I am creating.
So I returned to the original larger format muslin and continued working for a bit, adding long blades of grass with beads and couching. Even being very gentle with the muslin, over time the grasses started to break. I removed one of the biggest offenders and was satisfied for a while but then more started to break and I had to make a decision to continue on or try something different.
I decided to try something different because a 100 Day Project is, after all, 100 days of experimentation.
I moved back to using the muslin I had precut earlier in the project. BUT I found a PVC square frame I had purchased a long time ago for cross stitching. I didn’t use it for cross stitching because I had a difficult time holding it. See, I have a degenerative condition in my body that causes my connective tissue to degrade over time. My nerves are atrophying and the fascia, muscles and whatever other stuff there is holding my joints together are sort of just fading away despite doing OT exercises. I’ve always been, as some people call it, “double jointed” but what it really is, is a lack of connective tissue preventing my joints from bending in ways they shouldn’t. Doing repetitive things makes it even worse so I need to take care not to work too long on things that cause excess strain on my body.
So while I have this newish tool to use, I have to be careful not to spend too long each day on the project. I’m already feeling it even though I’ve only used it for a few days now.
The results are beautiful though. I hope they are worth it as all of my fingers bent backwards just trying to lift a pan off the stove yesterday. I usually can do basic things like that but, like I said, strain makes it all worse.
I spent three months in occupational therapy before the pandemic began, learning better ways to use my hands, wrists and arms for creating. It was incredibly helpful if only to get my brain into a manner of thinking for constant adaptability. Most people think that constant repetition and basically beating oneself into submission though exercise or whatever will get your body to do what you want it to do. This is an ableist approach to bodies and not at all healthy if you have a disability like I do. I have learned that I need to adapt to my needs and work with them instead of against them.
For example, telling me I just need to work harder or exercise more to do such and such is similar to telling a person who is paralyzed that they just need to work harder to walk. It’s rude, disrespectful and cruel really. I only mention it here because anytime I mentioned my mobility issue in passing on Instagram, I would get a bunch of comments asking me if I tried this or that from people who were able bodied. Don’t do that.
I wish I had a way of holding the frame through a third party device like a stand or something. I’m sure there are things one can buy if there is money but I don’t have money.
And I should note that I am no longer on Instagram. I decided after a year or so of waffling, to pull the plug on my last social media account. Privacy, bullying, and rampant capitalism were my main reasons. I was also helplessly addicted to looking at it. A week ago today I posted my Dear John letter to the platform and pulled the plug on Sunday. I am just starting to get used to not having it as a crutch to fill those few empty minutes here and there and I have to say I really like not having it anymore.
This project was funded in part with a grant from the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council with funds from the Clean Water Land and Legacy Amendment.