Saturday, 14 February 2015

Loose Ends

How do you feel about loose ends?

a few of the loose ends adorning my studio worktable
I ask, because it is the name of the challenge that our Small Worx group has been given. We are to create a piece of fibre art that explores the theme of Loose Ends. We were also given a picture frame which we have to incorporate into our art.

Hmm. How do I feel about loose ends? I look in the dictionary to give me some food for thought. Loose ends, says one dictionary, generally refers to “a minor unresolved problem or difficulty, especially a final detail preceding the completion of something.”

I know about those loose ends: clothes that need mending filling a basket in the closet; spring cleaning that should have been done last year; boxes of stuff  that need to be brought to the thrift store, and cartons of bottles and cans that should be recycled; another report to be filed.

About those kinds of loose ends I feel annoyed with myself. Why don’t I just pick up my “to-do” list and get it done? The energy it takes to suppress those loose ends while I embark on new projects is much greater than the energy it would take to get the jobs done first. Grrr. Based on those feelings, my “loose ends” piece will feature a tangled mass of threads messing up the fabric of my life.

Another definition of loose ends is “unfinished business.” This sounds more serious. I have those kinds of loose ends in my life, too: words that I’ve said that I need to retract in a conversation or letter of apology; my dad’s incomplete biography, which I promised before he died, that I would finish; deciding what to do with all my crow pieces (a book? A show?)  It's unfinished business. A piece of art work based on this definition would look more like a ragged wall hanging with gaps throughout.

There’s also the phrase “at loose ends,” which has a different meaning altogether. People who are at loose ends are bored, purposeless, without direction. A piece of art based on the idea of “at loose ends” would give off melancholy vibes. It might be composed of long strings in browns and greys of varying lengths laid out on a dull piece of fabric There would be no center of focus in such a piece.  I have days when I feel at loose ends, but thankfully not too many. When I feel at loose ends, it’s a good idea to get out of my own way and turn my eyes outward to see what I can see.  This world is full of things to explore and try, to learn and to practice.

When I checked to see if there were any quotes that used the term "loose ends", I found this: "She was a loose end. I like mine tied up." - from The Vampire Diaries. Okay, I’ll leave it to your imagination what that piece of art would look like. I don’t want to go there.

Actually, sometimes I love that there are so many loose ends in life. We make our lives by taking the threads that are handed to us, and weaving them together. Hopefully, we create something beautiful, but there will always be a few loose ends that still need to be incorporated into the weaving. One of the questions in my current course on end-of-life issues is this:  “Do you have any unfulfilled goals or dreams that you hope to fulfill before you die?” Well, duh! I guess so! Imagine if you would answer, “Nope. It’s all done! I’ve ticked in all the boxes on my life list, neat and tidy. All my loose ends are tied together.” Well, then, what would be left to do? Rest  on your laurels and watch the world go by until you die? Most people, when asked, would say they hope they die with their boots on, busy tying up loose ends -- and leaving a few for others to pick up and carry on.

A loose end--I painted it on silk last year, and then put it away.
If you've read this far, dear readers, thanks for listening to my musings. Now that I’ve explored the challenge pretty thoroughly, I actually do have some ideas about what I'd like to do with this piece of art, and I’m eager to get to work on it.

But first, I have a few loose ends to tie up!

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