visual

Visual Tankespjärn

Visual Tankespjärn

November 2, 2020
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In the creative community I am a part of, Anya Toomre shared a post accompanied by a most beautiful image she’d painted herself, and looking upon it, it took me a while to figure out what it actually was portraying. So I wrote a comment: I love this image. I had to struggle a bit to actually see the cat, so here’s another example of Tankespjärn. A visual one.

Anya wasn’t late to respond, asking me a question that got my thoughts going: I’m so close to this drawing because I did it so it’s interesting that you had to struggle to see the cat. What did you see? And why does this make it an example of tankespjärn?

Scrolling back in the feed to check out the image in question, once more, I was reminded. I find this image to be a piece of visual tankespjärn because the fish popped out immediately, but then… What w a s that? Weird looking eyes, but no, those aren’t eyes, those are paws, wait, hang-on, what i s this? Oh. Wait… Hm. Now I think I got it, might it be a cat? Oh. YES! It is.

Shifting my head around, looking at the weird centerpiece head tilted left, head tilted right, at long last my eyes finally locked onto something my brain could put a name to, and like an image suddenly coming into focus, all of a sudden, I got it. (Check out nekonabe by the way.) But I had to move my head around to be able to see what the image actually showed. Had I not done that, but rather kept on staring at those weird eyes (the back paws), I would not have figured it out. New perspectives are like that. They bring other things to the forefront, making me see beyond the immediate.

This interaction showed me a few things.
For one, Anya had no issue seeing the cat because she was so familiar with the image. This tells me tankespjärn is harder to get at with that you already know well, and more likely to experience it with things that are new(er) to you.

It also informs me that what’s tankespjärn for one, isn’t necessarily the same for another. Tankespjärn aren’t universal or general, but rather personal and specific. What makes me go Huh might not cause even the slightest ripple within you, and vice versa.

Of course, it also is a great reminder that tankespjärn comes in different forms. This one very visual, as opposed to the more word-based ones I most often pick up on, the read or heard ones. But there’s also the physical ones, when I try to make my body do something and it’s as if my body looks back at me with a surprised face, asking what on earth I was thinking…

And then, the obvious one for me:
I have really honed the skill of picking up on whenever I encounter a tankespjärn. I notice me noticing, and that noticing helps me stay with the slight discombobulation and discomfort that a real juicy tankespjärn gifts me with. And before I know it, that sensation has passed, and I am left slightly….  hm… More. New. Other. (Yup, as the slogan goes.)


#tankespjärn, for those who wish to discover. More. Other. New.
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The will and skill to create

October 24, 2020
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The bottom line:
How will and skill combine to emergent creation, and how my awareness of this makes me embody the experience.

”Because the tools of production have entirely democratized, the population of producers is expanding exponentially, and now there’s little stopping those with the will and skill to create from doing just that.”

This is a quote from The Long Tail by Chris Anderson, and as I was writing the accompanying book reflection, I started to dive into the concept of the will and skill to create, as I find it an interesting concept.

Perhaps because this year has been such an opportunity for me to dive deep into the concept of creation, first as a participant in the premiere cohort of the AKIMBO-workshop The Creative’s Workshop, and second because I and many from that cohort have continued to create, and relate, staying in touch both in the forum available for all participants of AKIMBO-workshops, and in a separate forum created as a spin-off from TCW, but also subscribing to each other’s blogs and newsletters, setting up regular or one-off Zoom-calls, and many other ways.

The will and skill to create.
I have it. Have had it for many years.
Most prominently with my writings, I’d say, but there are so many other things I create as well, precisely because I possess the combination of will and skill. Last night I finished an intervention on a knitted sweater I bought in a flee-market years ago, a garment I like, but only wore a few times as the arms are simply off. Way too long, making it all-but-impossible to actually wear. I unraveled the sleeves, picked up the stitches where it was suitably long, and knitted a new cuff. Rinse and repeat, I now have a garment that’s useable again. Will. Skill. Creation. Given the long time it’s been tucked in the projects-basket, will have been a long time coming, even though I’ve been inhabiting the skill to be able to do this, for decades. But all of a sudden, will stepped in, and shit gets done.

That process, where shit actually gets done, is an interesting one. For me.
So when D started to talk about embodiment, something clicked. So I told him, about this intervention of sleeves and he nodded, acknowledging me in my understanding of this as an embodied process or practice.

Being a w a r e of what I was doing, a witness to the process, to the sudden consummation of the possible marriage between will and skill, resulting in creativity. Embodying it all, the will, the skill, the awareness. All levels of human beingness playing, together.

The very physical aspect of it, fingers dexterous enough to unravel the machine-knitted sleeves, picking up stitches onto the knitting needle. Binding off and sewing the cuff on the inside, doubling it, to mimic the look of the other cuffs.

The mental and logical aspect of it, my brain working out, as I went along, where to put scissors to sleeve, how to get the arm just right lengthwise, what to knit to bring the girth of the sleeve in by half or so, to ensure the new cuff would actually work as a cuff.

The visual aspect to it, my eyes carefully examining the other edges of the garment, wanting to make it look similar, because I didn’t want the new cuff to stick out, but rather blend in.

The emotional aspect of it, the pleased sensations coursing through me, not just at the finish line when I was done, but throughout the journey. The trepidation at actually cutting into the first sleeve (Will I totally destroy it? Will I succeed in making the necessary changes to it, or will it be ruined forever?), the happiness at being able to catch all the stitches without too much trouble, the sense of exploration and curiosity as I pulled it on now and again, to make sure that I didn’t unravel the sleeve too far, that the newly made cuff was not too long nor too short, but just right.

The meta-aspect of it all, me observing me, putting hand to scissor, scissor to sleeve, knitting needles to yarn, present to my mental calculations and gambles that paid off as I now have a garment that I can use. Want to use.


#tankespjärn, for those who wish to discover. More. Other. New.
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