Monday, 27 April 2015

What is Ugly?


APlayfulDay's series of blogging inspiration prompts has spread ripples throughout my crafting (particularly knitting) community. If this blog started as a way to stay in contact with the knitting group I was leaving behind, and to share my experiences in craft and creativity with my friends and family as our lives moved geographically further apart, it still exists because I have found so many new, fascinating and wonderful communities of creative spirits and funny, enthusiastic knitters, bakers, writers, ponderers, and seamstresses that I want to be a part of.

 I may disappear for months at a time, and then re-appear with a flurry of posts (while carefully not mentioning that I was ever away, or the re-curring possibility that I'm talking to myself), but I have learned these things about myself: when my 'real' life is busier than usual I retreat from extra external interaction; I still want to contribute to the conversation; I plan far more posts than I will ever have time to write; work-life balance is a work in progress.

This challenge has made me sit up and take notice of blogging, of sharing thoughts (in format longer than 140 character) and of my wider community once more, and so, while late to the party, let's think about 'Ugly', the penultimate theme.

When I think about blogging, I often think about the very opposite of Ugly – the time taken over layouts, backgrounds, styling and taking the most perfect photograph tends to ensure that the blog is Beautiful, maintained as the best presentation of our creative lives, especially where that life is perhaps aiming for a professional finish. The glimpses we have into another's life through their blog may make it look as though they have a wonderful, dedicated, crafting space, full of satisfying and successful creative projects. Their wardrobe is carefully curated, and their photographs full of natural light and good focus.

In our online communities (distinct from the 'village' where everyone's news is everyone else's speciality), we can curate the image we present of ourselves: my knitting group knows that I'm finding one project particularly difficult not because it's hard, but because I'm bored of it; they know when I decide not to knit for a week, or when I've had to rip out a project three times; I don't tend to share this with the blog, because it is tedious, because I am bored of my moss-stitch project, because ugly ripped-out-knitting is not appealing.

But perhaps it's time to make a change. Let's wave a banner for all the means we have to share our imperfections. Why not carry on the #messytuesdays tradition? Why not share our #whenknittingattacks moments?

Maybe it's time to remember that a mistake shared is a mistake you might not make again, or might spare someone from making. Maybe now is the moment to share my lessons learned, so that someone else doesn't have to make it, or could believe that blocking will make that much difference.

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