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 can’t talk about what you do, or haven’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 mélée for good measure.

Of course this might all be an elaborate way of saying, I don’t know…

my avatars

TIF Challenge May 1

10 thoughts on “TIF Challenge May 1

  • May 23, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    I read this with great interest and agree with what you say.I have a real struggle trying to describe what I do.Once labels are made they feel very limiting.

  • May 23, 2008 at 4:17 pm

    A good response! I must admit that I’ve ‘hidden’ behind a label. I don’t really want to know what I am because, as you intimate, once I decide I might feel stuck with it. However I have promised myself that I’ll try to write down all the things that I think I am – if I have enough time. It might make interesting reading for me!

  • May 24, 2008 at 2:36 am

    it is an interesting question – and I think you’ve answered it well.

  • May 24, 2008 at 4:12 am

    Wow! Well said. The labeling thing is what I reject but I like the way you put it—we all are many things at any one time or even at different times and it’s up to us to let the world at large know who we are and all the facets of us as we so choose. In other words, WE need to define ourselves.
    BTW, your last six descriptions of yourself aptly describe me too (hee hee). And thanks for posting on my blog.

  • May 24, 2008 at 11:06 pm

    I relate very much to what you have said here and I agree that the answer to this question is really more of an ongoing conversation. I guess I should get started on this month’s piece, smile.

  • May 27, 2008 at 8:49 am

    Hear ye! hear ye!
    naming is not defining, it’s choosing..

    neki desu

  • May 28, 2008 at 8:35 pm

    well said, must admit that Sharon keeps my brain working with these challenges :)but I am still looking for a word that describes what I do which I suspect does not exist.

  • May 29, 2008 at 10:36 pm

    this is a fantastic answer to the question. I had a lot of trouble at the beginning of the month and though I certainly hadn’t managed to put it into words like you have reached the decision it is an impossibility to classify oneself objectively.

  • June 1, 2008 at 10:19 am

    Thank you Fiona for visiting my blog.
    I like the way you develop your ideas on yours. Thanks for sharing those thoughts.

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