I’ve been a part of Ruth Singer’s ‘Making Meaning’ membership for a few months. I didn’t really know her work well, I’d seen some bits. But after reading up on it, I realised my work lacked this ‘deeper’ meaning. Where every mark and material choice and size and shape is there for a reason.

Ruth Singer ‘pierced’

After beginning to go through the course materials, starting a sketchbook, reading up on a topic – I’ve hit a block.

It’s one I recognise from university. And one that leaves me confused and stops me from playing with textiles – my favourite thing to do.

Here is my question within the membership group, explaining where I’m at. (Responding to a post about going deeper in your research instead of broader).

Hi Ruth, I’ve been thinking about this for a while… I don’t have a very defined question but writing the thoughts below seems to be helping.

There is something about this way of working – bringing in meaning and deeper research – that I do really enjoy (when it flows and sparks) but it also brings up a sort of overthinking block where I start going around in circles and not thinking straight or getting anything done (thinking ‘too hard’, I think!).

I’m flicking through my sketchbook, which is loosely about marks of time/memories and the physical act of recording time/memories. V. broad and there are about 20 ideas there which I could go deeper into. Every time I try and focus in to one thing I seem to get pulled back out into another. 

In general I enjoy systematic approaches, my dyslexic brain appreciates order and a certain way of doing things. So I get lost in the abstract and overly ‘big’ but then am really interested in very ‘big’ topics: space/time/connection/memories.

I think I need a hook which draws me in to one area/question to explore which then allows me to go deeper into it. I guess my question is, do you have any quick-fire approaches to narrow the thinking?

Writing this ramble, I keep going back to a personal memory linked to my research which was the reason I started on this topic. But I can’t imagine how to begin deeper research on this memory, without going back to the overflowing sketchbook…

So… just leaving this here for now really. I miss the simpler days where I could embroider a river and be happy with it. For now, I’ll continue to overthink. (I hope the membership gods answer my call, too.)