The Importance of Ending Well

24 Jan

Basket thoughts abound right now. The importance of beginning with flow. The importance of “just going” with flow. The importance of ending with flow.

I finished two very small ones this morning. Spent time refining the beginning. The spiral. Easing into it with flow and openness. Then noticing the coiling itself. How each layer builds on the previous one–how growth depends upon what came before. The importance of foundation. And until this morning, I was having a lot of trouble with the ending. The completion. Because I wanted to finish with flow–with grace. With beauty.

Essentially, the basket’s coil is thick. Doesn’t lend itself to simply stopping or easing into a gentle conclusion as you can see in this basket. Simply stopping mid-stream creates a visual presence akin to falling over a ledge or down a step. DSC02140

And so–here–I’ve been practicing ending with grace: DSC02173

DSC02172

DSC02170.
There’s a message in all of this–for me at least. Or at least a clarification of why I’ve been thinking about this certain theme. Because for the last some-period-of-time, I have thought about how we transition from this existence. I’ve noticed the cultural bias that exists around what we call “death.” How even to talk of it seems taboo. How the notion of practicing/preparing for that transition seems anathema to life in some circles–rather than simply a continuation of what we call life. So I’m noticing this and how — in the case of these baskets–it all seems to improve with practice.

14 Responses to “The Importance of Ending Well”

  1. Mo Crow January 24, 2015 at 10:08 am #

    beautiful, the woven knot makes a handy handle, have you tried unravelling and fraying?

    • Patricia January 25, 2015 at 9:06 am #

      i’m ready to try other “endings”–will work on the unravel idea and also thinking about twigs etc.

  2. beth January 24, 2015 at 10:48 am #

    Nice solution! And it gives it a bit more “art” appeal. I have made this type basket out of raffia before. With the natural fiber we wrapped the core like you are doing and then every once in a while wove around the strip below with a figure 8. You might need a tapestry needle to do this. As an ending solution the core was tapered and the end strip went into the row below and then wrapped along it for a bit.. You can tell where the step down is if you look closely, but it isn’t really visually disturbing. Just thought I’d mention that in case you ever wanted a plainer ending. But these are fun! (Sorry if this comes through twice. Connection trouble…)

    • Patricia January 25, 2015 at 9:07 am #

      thanks for the tip on alternative finishes. i’m just about tired of the knots and ready to move on! my attention span/tolerance for “sameness” is quite limited it appears.

  3. Dana January 24, 2015 at 1:11 pm #

    I love the colors of these baskets, especially the ones with a flash of blue at the bottom. I don’t have any practical advice, having never made a basket, but I appreciate the contemplation of unfolding, flow and the transition of ending. If each part of our lives grows out of and elaborates what has gone before, why would death be different? It seems abrupt from a distance, but maybe when you do it, it is just a variation of being you, like the ending flourishes on your baskets. Hard to know, but interesting to think about. Thanks Patricia.

    • Patricia January 25, 2015 at 9:10 am #

      still thinking about just what it was i was trying to express yesterday. i didn’t quite nail it–not even close–but maybe as i go with baskets it will become more clear. i thought it was about “abruptness” but now i’m seeing that what I really was leaning towards was simply a sense of practice or openness to the particular experience of transitioning. like a good girl scout that i was not!

  4. Liz January 24, 2015 at 6:56 pm #

    I’m especially taken with the gentle colors and graceful endings in the middle two …

    • Patricia January 25, 2015 at 9:10 am #

      me too–and still thinking about your post from yesterday. heading that way

  5. Nancy January 24, 2015 at 11:49 pm #

    OK, so I see what you were seeing in the top basket. But, I don’t mind the edge at all (also thinking of Jude’s edge post). When I look at the drop, I see the possibility of continuing. I see where I think you were going with the colors on the two middle loopy endings. I am reminded of how often I make similar color choices. However, I have to say…that as far as the loop finish baskets…I love the unpredictableness (made up word? lol) of the bottom one best. Like Dana said, that flash of blue catches you! It pulls me in to look with an even more discerning eye. It’s gorgeous. When you stated: “the basket’s coil is thick.” – it made me wonder what you wrap the cloth around and if they could be made thinner, thus creating a smaller basket? Lastly, I listened to a great NPR story about gravediggers, who dig them by hand. It was fascinating and very much a conversation about death and how it is viewed, dealt with, etc. If I can find it, I’ll give you the link. 🙂

    • Patricia January 25, 2015 at 9:14 am #

      Nancy–thank you more than i can express. i appreciated the gentle way you led me around the idea of “edge” and helped me clarify what it was i was trying to say yesterday. there’s really no reason why an “edge” or “step” has less inherent value than a knot. none whatsoever. i guess where i was going was struggling to arrive at types of completions–and practicing that array–but i framed the conversation in a much too polarized way. in fact, i was looking at the process in a much too polarized manner. it’s really not this or that–good or bad–better/worse–is it? thank you so much!

  6. grace January 28, 2015 at 2:09 pm #

    looking every day since you posted this. Letting it settle…
    thinking
    and both about death and baskets, the sense of both of these “endings” being
    Satisfying.
    Of course, at first, i saw the more ornate ending with a gasp of Pleasure…
    but then, going back, looking again and again, the first, the Plain, i began to love
    equally because of it’s quietness, its simplicity. Its sense of just Pausing “for now”.
    Resting maybe.
    So both. I hope you continue to create Both. I think there would be need for both.

    They are extremely Beauty FULL….
    i get a sense of how it must feel to create them from this looking….

    • Patricia January 30, 2015 at 6:23 am #

      hi Grace. i go on with these baskets, noticing how each one seems to ask for a different ending and i think–“duh”–isn’t that how it is? maybe at first i was so new at this that i was overly intent on controlling how it could be. i’m finding that some i like better than others but they all seem to achieve the same purpose–or at least mark the same “passage.” really, i guess the practice is helpful for many reasons, if only to remind me that yes, i can be mindful of how it will go, but i need to let go of thinking i can control how it will be. big love to you

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