by Kathe Todd-Hooker
“Fiat Lux” (Let There Be Light) ii
I use Blogger for my blog. I find Blogger simple and easy to use. Its gadgets, bells and whistles are amazing and easy to download from Google. However, the reason I chose Blogger was because my business partner, Pat Spark, and I took a class on creating an online presence and Blogger was the program used in the class. Pat acquired a good working knowledge of the program and was able to help me get started, not without, however, me loudly lamenting the fact that I had to learn more useless computer technology. Even with the simplified bells and whistles, I still have technological challenges. For example, I am still trying to learn how to create a slide show of my work on my blog.
“Fiat Homo” (Let There Be Man) [or Woman] iii
I am a very shy person. Through owning and maintaining the Tapestry List iv, I have learned, the hard and often painful way, the following things. I never post anything that I don’t want the whole world to know or comment about. I respect copyright issues. I never give out personal information. I am careful of using tags on the blogs (especially with a last name like mine). I expect to have information used by others without permission. I never write emotional posts. There may not be an Emily Post etiquette for blogs (perhaps there should be), but I feel that people have a tendency to share too much personal information on their sites.
My original idea for a blog was to develop a journal that focused on weaving technique, design and Ah Ha! moments. In addition, I wanted more contact with other tapestry weavers. I liked being able to place pictures next to my written words. And I could access my blog from anywhere in the world! With Blogger it is possible to keep the blog private, make it accessible through a password, or make it public.In Ira Progoff’s Intensive Journal workshops, part of the process involves memorializing, or internalizing, things by reading journal entries aloud to a group. When I teach creative journaling workshops, I ask students to set goals and to enter the steps needed to attain those goals into a calendar. By vocally acknowledging the goals, they seem to happen by magic. Knowing these methods, I hoped that using my blog to chart weekly progress on my tapestries and other projects would create a similar memorializing/internalizing process that would spur me on to weave more, and achieve larger goals. I do tend to keep the focus of my blog on tapestry issues, my students and my professional life. I find that I am a little more talkative about imagery, the stories behind my work and why I use them in certain ways. I also use the blog for announcing exhibits of my work and my class schedules. It is easier to update than my web page.
I am not that interested in the technical aspect of blog layout. I try to focus on reading ease. The only tracking I use is a counter that tells me how many people have accessed the site since its inception in August 2008. At this point, that number is 180 nameless/faceless people. I don’t know if that is a lot and I don’t think I care. It is the discipline of creating the blog that is most important to me. I rarely get comments on my blog. I let Google and its programs promote my Blogger site. Usually, I post on the Tapestry List saying I have updated the site. I have also added my blog URL to my email signature.
Does it help me professionally at this point? I am not sure. It does add another layer of discipline and I have gained a few private students because of the blog. Does the blog itself enhance my artwork? It burns up time quickly and can be terribly frustrating, but the weaving journal I have created does enhance my art. It’s much easier to maintain then the paper journal I have kept for years and I can access it on my laptop anywhere in the world. And it is so easy to add images. I also enjoy reading others tapestry blogs instead of playing computer games while I am waiting for the printer to finish, or on hold on the telephone.
“Fiat Voluntas Tua”(Let Thy will be done) v
In the end, it all comes back to my love/hate relationship with the computer and technology. I am still asking myself, ‘Is this something I need to do? What are the end results? Is it needful or just vanity publishing? How many “needful things” vi do we need?’
i Miller, Walter, Jr. A Canticle for Leibowitz. 1959-1960; J.P. Lippincott & CO, NY.
ii Ibid. Titled sections of book.
iii Ibid. Author’s notation. Maybe Miller would be in favour of doing away with the sexism of his time.
iv firstname.lastname@example.org or contact email@example.com
v Miller, Walter, Jr. A Canticle for Leibowitz. New York: J.P. Lippincott & Co.,1959-1960. If you find all this confusing try the Wikipedia article on the book. It has a great précis.
vi King, Stephen. Needful Things. Viking Press, 1991. It became a movie in 1993.