Sundials: fighting time and finding patience
On our morning walk we passed a sundial and the urge to check the time was irresitible. The arrow (or the gnomon as the shadow-casting feature on a sundial is called) indicated it was just after 7:00.
We were confused.
It was, we knew, just after 8:00. It took us a split second(!) to realize sundials, of course, don’t recognize Daylight Savings Time.
The sundial moved more than time
Seeing the sundial made me think more about time. How we spend it, how we fight with it, and how it teases us.
When I got home, I was reminded once again, that I need to be patient. That whatever hobbies, passions, and pastimes we choose, they need time to build and develop.
Just a week after I started my illustrated journal, I decided to go with the sundial for a new page and collage. But I struggled. I sketched the idea and started cutting bits of paper, but it wasn’t working. The proportions were off and even though one of the things I like most about collage is that it’s perfectly imperfect, it still needs to look like something close to what it represents. I wanted to give up and walk away because things weren’t going my way.
But I didn’t.
I stayed with it, and the more I worked on it, things began to shift. The idea of the sun as a background element came, then adding the minute and hour hands seemed like a good idea. It was slow going, but with each idea, my confidence grew and I forgot about the time, and the struggle.
When I was done, I knew there was a lesson somewhere, and it seems, the lesson is: things take time.
When I sat down I was frustrated and wanted my collage to come together quickly. Clearly, that wasn’t going to happen. My mind needed time to process the concept and figure things out.
But that’s not all.
The sundial set me on a course of unexpected curiosity, offering a couple of other lessons:
You never know where something may lead
When we got home, we were curious about sundials. We learned that sundials are the “earliest timekeeping device” and the element that casts a shadow is the gnomon.
It gave us renewed appreciation for sculpture, the stars, the sun, and the moon.
Hang in there
When I started the collage I was impatient. Things were taking longer than expected and I wanted to give up. But when I finished, nearly two hours later, I felt better. More relaxed and (really) happy that I stayed with it.
How often do you fight with time? Are there lessons you’ve learned from sticking with something?
Tell me about it.
From one crocus to another ... the art of craft and collage
When I started doing collage, I worked with different papers, inks, and paints. The crocus above is an early collage. Lots of different papers, some watercolor, and some handwriting.
I enjoyed creating the collage, but as I moved to other pieces, finding papers to match what I had envisioned became more and more difficult. And frustrating. So I set it aside.
Until I discovered sheet music.
Three big books of sheet music at a yard sale ... 25¢ each. It was the end of the day and the books were headed for the dump. My early attempts at collage somehow brought me to see these books as something other than what they were. And I understood:
Sheet music would be the base paper for my collage work.
When I got the books home, I painted full-size sheets in a rainbow of colors. Painting the sheet music gave me a full range of color and where the music comes through, I found unexpected textures. By limiting myself to these painted sheets, I focused more on the objects and image I wanted to create and less time searching for materials.
I never would have expected to enjoy it so much. Collage is a forgiving art form. While there's something precise about what I create, there is a lot of room for interpretation.
Like the bulbs we plant in the fall, our ideas may lie dormant for months, or even years, before we're inspired to take the next step.
In my early collage work I see things I would change, but I still like it. It reminds me that there's a process. That it takes time to develop a skill. And that starting is the only way to get to something more, something better.
It may take a few seasons to get it right, but when it does, the project (and you) will blossom in ways you could never have imagined.
March is Craft Month, a good month to start or revisit a project.
What are you working on? Let me know. Maybe it's something I'd like to try!
Where words and paper come together