November 4, 2013

News Post

Fair warning: this is a talky-talky post, so if you have little tolerance for such things, skip to the end. 

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It seems I am always thinking about time.  

I used to think about time in terms of how little time I had to spend in the studio, and though I overcame my resentment at time spent away from it; I still struggled with What To Do while I  was in it. The whole "make pretty, or make art?" debate consumed a large portion of my thought process, and recently, making art expressly for sale took up a lot of my studio time, much to my chagrin.




But over the past several months, I've been struggling with time in relation to my own failing health.

Long story short, I've been living with pain, fatigue, peripheral neuropathy and worry 24/7 for quite some time. 

In the last two weeks, I contracted a common flu virus, which can be nasty enough on its own, but it caused what I can only describe as a "flare up" of my usual symptoms. 

So, what was manageable, became unbearable. My hands, arms and feet felt like they were literally on fire, the constant pins and needles turned into such intense numbness that for long stretches of times my fingers were completely without sensation and/or grip function, which meant I couldn't even pick up a glass (let alone type), and at times my feet were so numb that I couldn't feel the floor. And the pain was intense

This combined with fevers, dizziness and muscle weakness such that going up and down the stairs could exhaust me to the point that I had to sit at the top of the stairs for awhile to gather enough strength to stand up again and take the few steps to fall into bed.



Needless to say, this made for a very unhappy Kit; throwing me into a maelstrom of worry, fear and a state I can only describe as depression-adjacent. Several medical interventions later, I am now taking a prescription that alleviates most of the pain and almost all of the numbness, the fevers and dizziness have ended, and though I am still weak and tired, I feel more like "myself" than I have in a very long time.

BSP has been a wonderful, loving caretaker during this process - treating me like a princess and staying beside in bed on a nearly 24 hour basis as I fussed, fretted and sometimes, cried; talking it all through with me as I try to come to terms with both my short term future (the investigative process as medical personnel try to determine / confirm what the underlying illness is and a plan to accommodate my symptoms) and our long term future (how to accommodate gradually worsening symptoms long term will require life style changes for both of us.)

As you know, I have my blog posts set to automatically post two or sometimes even three weeks in advance, but I am out of pre-done posts today, and as I cast about for something to post about (recent fiber art shows I've been to, experiments I've been conducting); I decided instead to take this opportunity to "sit down" with you and have a little talk.



Because as I tried to deal with the life stuff, I also began thinking about my art. 

TOO LONG, DIDN'T READ CROWD - START HERE (lol)

Given that I have to severely curtail my time in the studio in order to properly rest (fatigue and stress severely exacerbates my symptoms), I also need, more than ever, to finally determine what's important enough to spend time on during the little of it I have in the studio.

Yesterday, Barb Pozek posted something (in the context of another, larger discussion) on QuiltArt that really resonated with me: 


...Art quilting is not easy. It's not quick. You don't come at it with an empty mind or heart. You have something to say and then you use the materials to say it. It is fine to learn a new technique, but then, how do you use it? That's where the work really begins.
Unfortunately, that work is not sexy, and it takes a bit of soul searching. What do you truly have to say to the world? Look at your latest piece- is that something you found important to say? ...


And there, of course, is my answer.

Recently, I've been focusing on small art pieces for a show and sale; but my heart hasn't really been in them. I was making "pretty" again. What I really need to concentrate on now is, as Barb said, what's important to me to say.

So, I am going to finish the work I've started over the next little while, the boy as well as something new to you I've been working on behind the scenes - and then I'm going to begin making what's really important to me: a triptych called "Three Ways To View A Secret", a series called "Black and Blue" which I first talked about nearly a year ago (!), more that I have to say that will fit in the "Whitewashed" series, and a continuation of my "lunch projects" which I find restful and restorative.



That all means that my blogging is going to change somewhat as well.

I'll still blog regularly, but it will be long periods of working on the same thing, rather than a week or two to produce a finished product.

After all, when I made Hiraeth, it took me two months of 30 - 40 hour weeks (parcelled out in two 12 hour days on Saturday and Sunday and 3-5 hours per night on weeknights.) I don't have that ability anymore, so you may be with me practically real-time as I construct in the future.

I'll try and add more interest by maybe doing a links post on Wednesday (to articles and blogs of interest), or perhaps interviews or features of / with other textile artists if they're willing.

I don't know exactly what my blog is going to look like, but it will be different. I hope we'll all enjoy it.


Kit 120

P.S. I don't intend to talk about my health issues again either - once is enough. ;)

17 comments:

HollyM said...

I read every word. You know I've been struggling with very similar issues. Different health issues but similar effect on my health , my time and my artwork on my blog. I first started my blog because it looked fun and I wanted it simply to document my journey and to network. I slowly got drawn into producing although I admit my art has really developed along the way.
I'm now off on disability and I'm coming to realize that I can't keep up the way I did and I'm coming to some of the similar conclusions as you. I need to take the stress off and use my time for what is essential.
In examination of other blogs and my interest or connection to them I have noticed though that I truly enjoy the ones that are 'real '. I want to make connections, to feel that someone else is going through similar things. I'm not a gossip magazine reader at all but I do like to read little bits about the bloggers life.
So this is a long winded way to say I'm glad you had your 'talk '. Keep working and posting at your own pace and for your own needs. Someone out there will be touched.

The Inside Stori said...

Your candor and soul searching touched my heart. I trust you will find the answers to enable you to find a good compromise in your work, health, and art. I look forward to your posts whenever possible.

quilthexle said...

I'm sorry you have to go through this !! And I so hope the investigative process comes up with an answer VERY soon and a treatment even faster. Your health is probably the most important thing to consider; and as far as I know, your art might have the power to improve it. As long as your heart is in it. So, you do what you feel you want to do; and your blogreaders will be probably more than happy to watch you on your way. Take care and get well soon !!!

arlee said...

Kit, you do what YOU need to. Sporadic blogg\ging makes more work, and makes us happier when we do post--or when we read someone else who is in the same boat. Be kind to yourself, and your art will roar.

thesewinggeek said...

I understand the frustration of ongoing health issues. It redefines what you life is and what it will be. Mine is physical in nature which leaves me missing the energy and physical ability to do what I used to do. A good friend had a brain injury and finds it difficult to do the mental work and planning she use too. It is coming to terms with the changes. It has taken me quite awhile and I still struggle. I will be thinking of you. I am coming to terms with my situation after many many years. Some days your body needs to disengage and just rest. Be kind to it and listen. Jo vdmey

Lenora said...

Kit I read every word and you do what you have to do and I will be watching and praying for you. I truly love your work. You have inspired me so much.
I too have a disability but I do what I can, and when I can't I rest. You have touch my heart and I will keep you in prayer.
Take care of you and ger well soon!!!!

Mary Ann said...

I have peripheral neuropathy in my feet and legs and it's not fun. I understand the pain that you've been in.

Threadpainter said...


Hi Kit,
In all my years of dealing with pain I have found that talking is just as important as medication.
You do yourself a disfavour by being quiet about it. Bravo for sharing.
And once you start 'the talk' you find that everyone has some cross to bear whether it be huge or small. Finding a happy place where your art will guide you through the mess, is key.
Sending my best wishes … Sharron

Linda Kittmer said...

Kit, I'm so sorry to hear you're struggling with health issues. Please take care of yourself and I'll look forward to where ever the changes lead. Hugs, Linda

Sandy said...

Big hugs, Kit,
Like the others said, what you post and whenever you post it will be appreciated.
And all the best for dealing with stuff. I think there are a lot of us having to learn and relearn those lessons as we figure out how to deal with health.
Sandy in the UK

Carol said...

I have been following your blog since way back, and have watched you grow as an artist and pro. blogger. I admire your tenacity and am sorry to hear about your health issues and will pray for your healing.

Erin Winslow aka Itsbugart said...

***HUGS!!!***
from Siofra (doggy) and Miss Isabelle (kitty) as well as from me!

Maggi said...

Doing art that is important to you has to be your priority (after your health) Kit. However your blogging changes and evolves it will still be part of you that interests those of us who read it. Thank you for trusting us enough to chat with us about such a personal issue.

LynCC said...

Hi, Kit - I sure am sorry you're dealing with these issues. I've got Lupus issues, and what you are dealing with sounds very similar to what my constellation is. The peripheral neuropathy really drives me nuts sometimes, and I have to really protect my sleep and stress load or I get flares. I hope the medical world is able to pin-point for you what your exact issue is so you can see if there is any relief available beyond management. These autoimmune syndroms can be real brats!!!

Colleen Kole said...

Glad to hear from you and about your art whenever you are able to post even if it is less often. I am sorry to hear about your health issues but thinks for sharing and letting us know. Health first, then art. I hope they find what it is so you can learn to effectively manage it and get back to what you love to do!

John Hopper said...

I am so sorry to hear about your troubles Kit, I hope that you can work your way around them, or at least not let them dominate. Keep that sparkling charisma of yours going, it is a great template for the rest of us :)

cauchy09 said...

Gosh, it's so terrible when our bodies don't cooperate with what we want to push them to do. Glad to hear you've found some relief, though.

And your ruminations of prioritization of what to put time/energy/heart into is quite relevant to my thoughts right now. I've enjoyed reading your recent process posts and always look forward to seeing what and how you see---and of course how you translate that into fiber.

xoxo

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