Life is like a double helix
A friend recently told me she loves that I speak in metaphors. I honestly hadn't noticed this much before, that I express the way I see the world with metaphorical language. Maybe because it doesn't feel like a metaphor to me, it's just reality as I experience it. So heres a little introspective piece about materials and relationships, with some big ol' metaphor speak for you. Dedicated to my big hearted friends Shana and Hannah. Enjoy.
“The conscientious designer does not himself design at all, but rather, gives the object to be, a chance to design itself.” - Anni Albers
I found Anni Albers early in my relationship with textiles. The way she talks about her relationship with making materials has really stuck with me, that and the fact that she died the year I was born. "The conscientious designer does not himself design at all, but rather, gives the object to be, a chance to design itself." I have always experienced artistic creation as the thing making itself. Some people experience this as imposter syndrome. I can understand this framing, but through meaning I have built for myself, I know that I am not just myself. I am also what I make. I am also the earth and I am the sky, the water, and the fibres that I weave. I am you reading this paragraph. One day the worms and mycelium will eat my body, and then maybe I'll be a worm, or a mushroom. I am no imposter here, because everything is connected. The experience of creation occurring through me, not from me, confirms this truth for myself.
Here’s a little poem of mine trying to explain this process;
When I weave I come back to us. We yarn with the threads and let narrative go. Developing and discussing ideas not segmented by time but by patterns. To come back from this place we put patterns in the hierarchy time asks for, because narrative asks for time. We weave and come back to me. Now understanding where we are in the story that cradles us.
Relationships are like a 2D double helix. Coming together, being apart, and coming together again. One of the most insightful relationships I’ve experienced brought this knowledge to my attention, through my friend Hannah. Our own relationship has reflected this idea. We have loved each other, we lived together, we worked together, we fought a lot, we hated each other, we missed each other, and we love each other again. We continue to weave our lives separately, but always intersecting. When we do intersect, we talk about how we’ve grown and changed, sharing new found introspective knowledge with each other. We discuss the metaphysical world as we see it meet with the material one. Like the idea that we experience relationships as double helix. They’re like DNA. We provide each other with meaning that twists and turns right through to the centre of each cell making up our body. Like yarn being spun, wavy sheep's wool fibres locking into place - theres micro spaces in there. Space has to be present for there to be intersection, even if it’s the tiniest nano millimetre. Like the double helix experience of relationships. We make space and grow, we intersect and grow.
I experience this same phenomena when I meditate. There is space for thought, and space for thought to fly away. It’s like forgetting to be present but still welcoming each moment with loving open arms, when you remember.
I believe Albers’ perception of designing has helped shape my own relationship with materials. I’m able to perceive materials with a life force, with something of their own that they’re bringing to the table. With energy to be transferred and transformed. Something continuing to exist that can I relate myself to. This perception helps me see how we are constantly weaving relationships with objects and materials, forgetting some things exist and coming back to them months later. I see our relationships with ‘waste’; taking, making, using, and discarding - I guess our next lives will meet these discarded materials again via the environmental issues their neglected state will cause.
This perception is amplified to the fullest as I build a relationship with mycelium. I have much less physical control over mycelial threads than any other threads I’ve previously worked with. The organism chooses the best route for itself and I just provide the potential pathways. We intersect and are making something together, but in our own space we are learning, growing, and making decisions. This space feeds back into the design of the material, where we come together. We are co-designers continuing to take the twists of the double helix.