Fun with Failure

creative cultivationThe biggest risk for a creative thinker is to spend time on the wrong ideas. Anyone who explores the richness of imagination must confront severe editing. The majority of ideas never reach the light of reality but remain in the dark murkiness of memory, to either resurface in a different form, or disappear. The majority of ideas are not going to be good ones. It just isn’t possible. Even DaVinci had more unproductive ideas than productive ones. So being creative means handling ‘failure’ as a stepping stone.

This blog offers a unique opportunity: to publish a ‘failure’ for reconsideration. I spent a few years crafting wall hangings that borrow from tapestry, quilt, macramé, and fiber art. When I showed my then gallery dealer (who specializes in abstract art), she didn’t want to carry them. So I gave a few of the creations away and rolled up the others, now filling the corner of a closet. This one, crocheted from embroidery floss, hangs in our den:

tapestry by Liane Sebastian

I still like the way this series creates an atmosphere, warms a room, and explores color forms in new ways. Influenced from Japanese clothing, Bauhaus weavings, I grew up in the great era of Mark Rothko and Sol LeWitt paintings. This series expresses my deep desire for order, rationality, fused relationships, tolerance, and organized ambiguity. The images stay with me and still itch at my consciousness. My ideas since have been affected by the experience of warming walls.

Another inspiration for this series was the illness and death of my father. Call it cathartic, but in the worrisome hours of waiting for medical news, sitting bedside, and soothing sleepless nights, working on the series helped me through a difficult time. So I feel the active salve for a hurting soul is infused within them. Does not the viewer feel a sense of relief, escape, and comfort? Are walls not humanized by cratfed tapestries?

Maybe this is a good idea with bad timing. Working with fiber is quite expensive and the larger pieces cost between $5-600. So I moved on to painting after rolling these up, hoping to deepen my creativity through their construction—an expensive experiment. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. However, if a patron showed up with a check in hand, I’d be off to the fiber store!

Let me know what you think! Fresh eyes are always appreciated.

Liane Sebastian, illustrator, designer, writer, and publishing pioneer


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3 Responses to “Fun with Failure”

  1. Betty Butler Says:

    I agree! Ideas that are not going anywhere must be abandoned, yet they often resurface in another richer form some where down the road. For example, my ideas about collage and printmaking had to wait for fruition until Photoshop came of age.

  2. Jan Long Says:

    I really like this, Liane. The overlapping of the tapestry’s elements offers depth and demension. To me, each of these color strips actually look like individual tapestries draping over a wall of sorts. The colors convey a soothing calm as does the perfect overall balance. It depicts a casualness in the nature of the loopy stitches, but an elegance in an underlying shimmer. Too bad I’m just a starving artist, otherwise I might purchase it.


  3. wisdomofwork Says:

    Hi Betty and Jan,
    Thanks for the encouragement! I did six large fiber pieces in the series and wonder if I might dust them off and try some new directions! Mining old ideas can be risky, however. For six years, I threw every drawing that didn’t work in a drawer. Upon moving, I went through the drawer and became upset because these false starts were worth abandoning! Only a tiny percentage of ideas reach the light of day–so those that are hard to forget may be worth revisiting. Liane

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