Nothing New Under The Sun

I am amazed at how energizing it has been to write down a very specific creative goal and give it a timeline. If I am able to ‘check something off a list’ the rest of my day (or week) is just so much more mentally calm. I love the feeling that my six-minute commute home from the office feels too long because I am so excited about getting home to my studio; having something awaiting my input.

I have decided to work on a series of 24 handmade books. (Very cool idea: using upcycled leather – which meant a trip to Goodwill – I love going to Goodwill!) These books are in the form of a journal; a two-signature sewn structure. I am borrowing the general structure – with some modifications and experimentation – from Patti Paulus who learned the general design from Joyce Teta – who might have gleaned it from some other person of inspiration.

For far too long I had been inhibited by doing anything at all because in the back of my mind I felt it wasn’t going to be original. It wasn’t going to be ground-breaking. I won’t be as good as someone else’s. This became a real creative stumbling block. I would be intimidated by work I found interesting (why didn’t I think of that?) rather than inspired by it (wow, I need to try that technique!). But lately I am realizing that the only thing that will make what I create unique and different and ‘ground-breaking’ is not that it is so different or completely new but the mere fact that I created it.

I am learning (ever so stubbornly) that when I make something, it has my mark all over it. I am inspired by a lifetime of studying art, feeding my brain with the works of people I admire.  I can’t help but be influenced by stuff I find amazing. Bits of them might come through but I can’t be afraid that the work I produce will be on one end of the scale: ‘copying’ or on the other end of the scale: ‘completely new and original’ (which really doesn’t exist anyway?). It is a lovely mash-up of both.

So I remind myself that “There is nothing new under the sun” — Ecclesiastes 1:9.


“Every new idea has some sort of precedent or echo from the past” (from Wiktionary). I like that…echoes from the past.

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So I move through this next series grateful for the generosity of Patti (!) who shared her lovely work with me. I am grateful for Joyce sharing it with her. I am grateful for the echoes of the past bubbling up in them and now, in me.

I would be interested in hearing from anyone who has struggled with this’fear’ (I have that word in quotation marks because I have sort of vowed not to use it anymore. I think that discussion might warrant another post).

Until next time. Peace,



2 thoughts on “Nothing New Under The Sun

  1. What a wonderful website and blog! Your subject, “nothing new under the sun” is well worth contemplating. It reminds me of Borges’s distinction that creating isn’t about making something new as much as it is a kind of recognition or ancient memory– we “come upon” something that has the resonance of authenticity, truth.


  2. Laurie! Thank you so much for your kind words and joining in! I’m not sure of my goals when starting the blog (everyone else is, so I should?) but it is becoming a nice way to clear my head and be mindful of what I am actually doing (feeling/accomplishing) when I create. All the better if I can reach out and have a conversation with others who might be exploring the same ideas or who can offer insight. Since reading your comment, I read a little bit about Borges. I had only ‘known’ him through various quotations which can be found online. An interesting person! The recognition or ancient memory as you mention has really hit a chord this week; I am making an afghan and I am struck with how much I think about my grandmother and great-grandmother (who I only ‘met’ as an infant) as I stitch. They were stitchers themselves and most certainly these ‘ancient memories’ are motivating. I sometimes feel like I am stitching their stories into the fabric as well as mine. I don’t quite get the same feeling with my other creative endeavors (books, calligraphy)…but I’m thinking I should be more open to it! (see above post! 🙂 ) Thank you for your continued inspiration! ‘See’ you around! Peace, Sally


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