Aside: a link to the story of The Wild Swans I mentioned in my last post.
Now, the Take it Further Challenge for May.
Sharon asked, “What do you call yourself and why?” when you’re asked to describe your creative activities. She said,
“The way I see it is if you canâ€™t talk about what you do, or havenâ€™t taken care in how you think about what you do, how do you expect others to respect the way you spend your time? Or how do you expect people to respect what you make?”
I’ve thought and thought about the question and I’ve come to the conclusion that, yes, naming is important, but I want to be very careful to distinguish it from labelling. Of course we need shared labels – a kind of shorthand to help others to know how to see us, and sometimes to help focus ourselves, but they are, in every sense, limited. I don’t agree that respect is dependent on how we’re able to talk about our work. I agree that thinking and talking about what we do is important, but for me it’s an ongoing, open-ended conversation…
Naming is not defining, it is choosing. It’s the opening up of potentials and possibilities. A label often says more about what we are not. When I file something, I have to choose a slot for it. I might cross-reference, but I can’t afford to be too messy about it. It more or less has to be one thing or another. Whereas me myself I – we can be many things. At once. Or in turn. Or now and again. And a child is usually given more than one name – sometimes many – names with meaning, heroic or familial or mellifluous, or all of those things.
So I’m Fiona. I was Finlay now I’m Dix. I’m lovefibre. I’m a beginner and a student. And names I might give myself to play with, to see where I can go and who I can be – maker / textile artist / embroiderer / feltmaker / dyer / other; and because nouns alone don’t seem enough, I’ll add messy / creative / impulsive / colourful / melancholic / curious into the mÃªlÃ©e for good measure.
Of course this might all be an elaborate way of saying, I don’t know…