Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Soft Energy

Can energy really be soft? Isn't energy about energizing, vigorous action, and potential forces?

A synonym for energy is strength. Can you think of strength and power in combination and still think of the word "soft"?

My heart tells me that animals like birds know soft energy because they can glide. They can move forward with great strength while yielding or relaxing in the breeze. Mothers can use soft energy when they gather up their strength and power in patience toward an ill child. I've felt soft energy in my folk art when I am gently persistent with organic fibers that would melt away should I be agressive as I twist and turn them.

When I sew patchwork I think about the amazing difference that is seen with incremental change over time. In patchwork, we sew using a 1/4" seam allowance. If that seam is larger than 1/4" wide, the resulting patchwork block will be way too small. And this happens if the seam allowance is just slightly wider than 1/4"! This is incremental change over time in action. There are many seams in a patchwork block, so this small error in seam width becomes magnified.

Perhaps that is another way I think about soft energy. Gentle effort can have a profound impact. Like a gliding bird, or a comforting mom, or a quilter at the sewing machine, we can take focused action that is small yet powerful.

How do you think of this?

I am attaching a photo of a patchwork tote I made using many small seams and soft fabrics. It is quite sturdy however, and can handle a successful trip to the grocery store or library with ease! All of my folk art can be seen at http://nestleandsoar.etsy.com.

Hope to talk with you soon!

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