I’ve been seeing references to Messy Tuesdays for a couple of months now. I thought, ‘hmm, sounds right up my street’ but didn’t follow it up. And then, whilst following a link from the excellent needled blog yesterday, I found the fascinating Felix and discovered that, along with Lara, she was one of the originators of the Messy Tuesdays idea.
Messy Tuesdays Manifesto:
You are not your flawless surfaces. You are not your orderly laundry-pile. You are not the seamlessness of your Finished Objects. You are not your risen cakes. You are not your sewn-in ends.
Messy Tuesdays seems to have struck a cord with many bloggers. Felix’s post, Mess Is Beautiful has inspired me to order some Toni Morrison from the library. The F-Word addresses the feminist aspects of domestic mess but Penny points out that someone has to clear up. I loved the story behind this box of tangled threads on Practical Polly’s blog. The needled blog celebrates mess while mootthings experience with breeding plant pots will doubtless be familiar to every gardener.
Here’s my contribution to the conversation:
Mess is a vital part of art. Without mess there can be no art. That doesn’t mean that all artists are inherently messy – although many are – just that the creative process itself is not a tidy one. There are wrong turns, false starts, abandoned pieces, 3am ideas scrawled frantically in sketchbooks, creative messes left lying on desks and in corners. Even if you are a tidy artist who puts things away when you’re done, in the midst of creating it’s likely that paint is smeared all over your palette, your pencils are in disarray, fabric pieces are scattered randomly around your sewing machine or you have clay, paint or plaster lodged under your fingernails.
And more than the purely physical mess of creating, there is that singular moment in many art pieces when chaos descends and you can no longer see what it is you are doing. The original purpose gets lost and suddenly there is only messy paint on canvas, confused lines on paper or a hideous lump of clay beneath your hands. This is the point where many people give up, not realising that this moment of sheer chaos is the fertile ground where new art grows. Not all your creative seeds will grow into something wonderful and worthwhile – some just stay messes – but without the courage to step into the messy, uncomfortable, annoying part of the creative process, nothing new will arrive.
I can’t write about Messy Tuesday without spotlighting a mess of my own. Here’s the current state of my bed.
Yes, my bed; the place that all the magazine articles and decluttering books tell you should be a romantic, restful haven. Notice how mine is covered with work instead! Here we have piles of books and magazines that I’m in the midst of reading, a journal, pens, a roll of pencils, several pads of cartridge paper, a pile of finished drawings, a pile of unfinished drawings, drawing board (what, you don’t have a drawing board on your bed?) and lots of lists.
Why don’t I put it all on the floor next to the bed? Er, well, there isn’t room…
I will be tidying this soon as it’s getting to the ‘too much on the bed’ stage. That doesn’t mean the bed will be empty when I’m done, just that I’d like to change the sheets before starting a new, fresher pile of work!