Friday, April 18, 2014

Blink, and you are missed

Time is interesting.  Listening to the radio the other day I heard the theory that we experience time speeding past when we are older because we are familiar with what we are doing.  Time seems to travel more slowly when we are younger because we are exploring through unfamiliar territory.  And therefore the way to slow down time in later life is to try something new - plunge into the unfamiliar.  Nice idea.
I like to take time.  I like an art or craft magazine for instance to present articles which provoke thought, contemplation beyond what is there on the double page spread.  I am not fond of magazines which dazzle superficially with luscious photographs which sell a kind of blink bling.  Show but no tell.  No time.
I like the way I work because time is taken.  Ideas percolate, drawings show different sides even after the first use in one setting - with time and contemplation they sometimes demand many more settings.  Ideas persist, but are sometimes incomplete until time brings more ingredients - and it often takes time to realise that they are incomplete.  The physical making takes time, stitch by stitch, and now that my hands begin to ache from gradually increasing arthritis, longer is taken.  But I love that I can think, I can listen to the radio, I can even watch some television while stitching.
Changes over time can be delightful, especially in observing the plant world - but we also seem to be drawn to a beauty seen in the gradual disintegration of buildings, paintwork, the fabric of our surroundings ... the quaintness of rust.  The rusting takes time, but our cameras blink at it, just as we blink at our friends and ourselves with our phones. Next!
Yellow Hickory Leaves with Daisy from here
This week I received a card from a friend who knows of my passion for the work of Georgia O'Keeffe.  This appreciation has lasted over time - from before a time when so many greeting cards of her work were available, and it was wonderful to be brought back to that joy again, to think once more about the quality of that persistent attraction.
We may take time to produce our work, but we makers seem to live in a world of blink, of the fleeting: we decide instantly, subliminal brand recognition rules, and in competitions we are afforded but a glance of time to catch the good opinion of the gatekeepers.  Hey ho.  Time to take out my glorious big Georgia O'Keeffe books again for some savouring.


  1. I recently came across the thought that time does not pass, it continues - I don't know where I read it or heard it, but it seemed to be a more optimistic thought than time passing which has a finality and over-and-done quality about it. Time continuing allows for one thing to lead to another and the possibility of future and that is how life seems to me.
    One thing I do know though is that having time is such a blessing - time to spend doing all the enriching things I like to do, without rushing or pressure. Perhaps it's one of the greatest joys of growing older.

  2. Yes, Margaret, we are very lucky to be living here and now to be able to enjoy such luxury.

  3. Olga this post is a surprise,the subject being quite different,its beautifully written. Also loved the idea that Time continues, well am most aware of time in the physical sense right now, it is mid-morning here in India !

  4. Working, stitching being like meditation... I like the idea. I also like the idea of time continuing: I will have to remember this.

    I have always loved Georgia O'Keefe's flowers but the exhibition of her work we saw in Rome made me appreciate some of her other work too. A great artist.

  5. Vijaya - my posts are generally about my work, my travels, and exhibitions. But really the blog is supposed to cover my thoughts generally, so the subject may lurch about.

    Time does continue, in the sense that the earth goes round. We experience the flow time, as we are the finite ones. I always enjoy thinking about how our experience of each day is different round the world - with you in the mid morning heat for instance, while I am being woken by the song of birds at first light!

    Eirene, I have been a fan of Georgia O'Keeffe's work since I first found out about it - when I was still in school. It was wondrous to be able to see many of her paintings when we were in the USA, and to visit the museum dedicated to her work in Santa Fe and also to visit other places that she painted in New Mexico.

  6. I like the idea of time continuing, although in my life it feels like lurches (your word, Olga, about your blog) rather than a smooth continuity. But also the concept of slower time when experiences are new seems quite right to me. I think that's why I do residencies.

    We are in the middle of that awful slide toward time's end (in a personal sense); we are downsizing. Never had we imagined we would, and yet now we must. And the time -- a month or so into the proces -- has gone all wacky-wonky. Waiting for workmen (no women thus far) to show up stretches the time interminably, or, if there's a lot of prep to do, hurries it up hideously. I yearn for a smooth continuum on such days.

    Yesterday I tried to do some drawing but found myself wandering away from the line to the monstrous chores left to do in the house -- chores which have to be put off until more workmen appear. I wish I did hand stitching, but everything is packed that I could even imagine working with. And I actually know that drawing is better than stitching for distracting me.

    So blink and you missed it, combined with excruciating slowness -- an upside down process, it seems to me.

    And this has little to do with art, except that it makes it difficult for me to do any. I like the idea of meditation, and I know I should engage in it, in some way, but those monkeys keep chattering at me:-)