Sunday, July 6, 2014

Deceptively Simple

My latest project has led me to once again, learn a new lesson - sometimes it's the things that look the easiest that prove the most challenging.  Take for example, straight lines.  Straight lines are not easy to make look crisp and clean, especially when dealing with fabric.  Even attempting to quilt in straight lines is not easy, as I am learning.  And woe be unto you if you mess up on the first line, because then you find out all the lines after have to be corrected, but not usually until you've done quite a few.  At least that's what has happened to me.  After ripping out several long rows in my quest for perfection, I finally found a strange little arm I could attach to my presser foot that I'm using to guide me, but even with it, I still have to do a fair amount of stitch pulling.  I'm using it as a way to remain calm and present.  If I can't be cheerful while working on the piece, I stop.  Once I read where some quilter said "Not every day is a good day to sew curves."  The same can be said for straight lines!

It made me realize that we tend to look at simple pieces of art and think that not much thought or effort went into them, but perhaps we are mistaken.  There is a quote that I have perhaps shared before about how any idiot can make things more complicated but it takes real genius to make it simpler, and I agree.  We might do well to remember that next time we look at a sculpture, for example, and say "Oh, anyone could do that!"  I hear it a lot, especially when people talk about modern art, and I couldn't disagree more.  To make an eloquent statement in a simple manner is not necessarily easy.  The sculptor Andy Goldsworthy comes to mind. Here is an example of an incredibly simple piece of his, but to me, it speaks volumes.

I love this kind of stuff, and after watching a documentary on Andy Goldsworthy, I know for certain that a great deal of thoughtfulness and effort goes into his art.  And that the creation of it is anything but easy.  Still, it has a kind of effortless simplicity that is absolutely elegant.  I find it quite inspiring.  

Here's another remarkable, yet simple Andy Goldsworthy piece - most of his are the epitome of the fact that 

simple isn't always easy, but it can often can be quite satisfying. And it can be very difficult to achieve.  So here's to simplicity; no matter how hard it is to achieve, it's well worth the effort.