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Thread ball in progress at a table at the park.

A tangle of (stale-smoke-emanating) thread came through the thrift store where I volunteer. I caught it as it was about to be thrown out (truth be told, I think I pulled it from the trash), mesmerized by the bright colors, willing to overlook the awful stench it carried. I put it outside for a few days (or more; sometimes a person forgets she’s airing thread out on the balcony) and when I brought it back in, it was just the dizzying tangle of colors [not shown, possibly never recorded].

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Thread Ball No. 1

I started stitching it up with other thread from the thrift store, with no specific goal in mind besides ball. But as I worked, the process was clear. I was circumscribing this tiny mass of chaos into order, intensifying it with each haphazard latitudinal over and longitudinal under. I see in these something of cartography, writing the map. It’s what we humans do. And the order we so lovingly, greedily, hopefully overlay is never inconsequential, regardless of how abstract our non-thread lines often are. The act of ordering something changes it fundamentally. The act of loving changes it too.

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Another view of Thread Ball No. 1

I’ve tried a few others. They don’t all work, at least for my intangible aim, which has evolved beyond ball to something like tangly thread pretty art ball reflecting the beauty and potential of the discarded, the circumscribing of chaos. Much more difficult. I’ve talked about it before, but recreating chaos and the random is difficult in general, and perhaps particularly difficult for me, with a tendency to both see and seek patterns. When I want random and organic, I often steer towards the erasure of any hint of a repeating pattern. But the nature of the truly random (as well as the created artistic random) is that it allows for some amount of the kind of clustering or repetition that starts to suggest patterns.

It’s a fine line to t(h)read.

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2 thoughts on “Designed: thread balls

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