My sister is working on a needle-felted landscape based on a photo of a riverside path along the Yarra. Tree ferns line one side of the winding track.
She laid down fibres with her needle-felting machine but put it aside because she didn’t know what to do next. Then she decided on some hand-stitching and embroidery to give it more depth and make it look more like the concept she had in her mind when she began.
It’s been weeks now and the project sits on a bookshelf where she can look at it from across the room and assess how it resembles the original photo. She keeps adding layers. She sews over it and dulls it down. When a spot doesn’t look right she removes it by sewing over it again. She needs to highlight the brightness of the sun on the tree fern leaves. She needs to bring the sunny spots into sharper contrast to the shadows on the winding path.
It’s like writing.
I've been watching a series of videos of Robert Olen Butler, the Pulitzer-winning author, as he writes a short story in real-time. Thirty-four hours of watching his creative process. Seventeen two-hour sessions.
His method makes me think of my sister's needle-felted project, because he writes about three hundred words each night; and then reads them over next evening, and adds to them, and changes them, and re-arranges them, and perfects them, before moving on.
It's amazing and inspirational to watch.