Create Your Own Language
By Taryn Slawson
I truly believe that we are all born as creative beings, so for me it is something that has always inherently been there. I think it is our conditioning as we grow and mature through life that either serves to cultivate our creative energy or suppress it.
Fortunately my parents always nurtured that creative seed inside of me, so I was able to follow my creative pursuits to where I am today. Lately, I have been reflecting back to when I was like 4 or 5 and first exposed to weaving of any kind. My preschool had a community loom in the classroom. It was a really simple standing floor loom, similar to the loom I weave on today. There was a bunch of fabric scraps, and we all got to take turns weaving as we pleased. My parents ended up buying the finished piece in the school's annual fundraiser, and we had it in our house for years as I was growing up. I honestly think this must have had a huge influence on my creative evolution and where I am today.
I have always been inspired by shape, pattern, and color, and the infinite combination of the three. My interest in textiles began in college when I was studying apparel design with an emphasis on print and pattern design for fabrics/textiles. After dabbling around in this industry for a while, I realized my passion really was in making and creating with my hands, bringing something into existence that wasn't there before. I have no formal training in weaving, and have had very little exposure to the craft besides in my own creative pursuits. I think I came back to weaving — and I say "came back" in that I intuitively feel that it is something I have done many times before in other lifetimes — because I was seeking a way to bring all my creative practices together into one form. I am inspired by the fundamental laws of the universe, energy, frequency, and vibration, and I tend to understand things in sequences and patterns. The patterns that I weave are essentially energetic downloads of information that I am receiving that need to be translated into 3D. So my process involves the translation of this energy into a woven tactile experience. I refer to my works as woven patterns of infinite vibration.
Right now I am feeling especially inspired with my creative work, and I love this. I love the electrical feeling that surges through my body when a spark of creative inspiration comes through; almost nothing compares to that kind of high. I also love living here in Santa Fe. I moved from Denver about six months ago, and have been continually met with so much magic since living here! I really feel like making this move has set me back into alignment with my path, and I am loving the synchronicities I am being met with along the way. I can't say it has been all magical rainbows this whole time, though, as I have also been provided with some particularly potent opportunities for growth that feel really challenging and scary! I am finding through these experiences that I really do not love inauthentic people. I'd actually rather say I really do not resonate with inauthenticity.
In the past few years I really feel like I have found my authenticity through my creative expression. I am my art, and my art is me. There really is no distinction. My creative practice has shown me in so many ways my own strengths and weaknesses. I feel like I can see in my own weaving process exactly the kind of woman I am in this moment, especially when juxtaposed with other women weavers or women artists in general. It's like each individuals process is so unique to them and speaks volumes to their true essence. In a way it is as though as artists we are all creating our own language, a way of nonverbal communication that speaks much louder than words could ever describe, for ourselves. This is something that is really interesting to me, as I personally feel like language, words, and speaking only scratch the surface of what there really is to convey. Perhaps this is what is most inspiring to me right now in my work, the idea of an energetic transmission through pattern, almost like code.
In moments of self-doubt, of which there have been many, I try to trace what I am feeling back to a core negative limiting belief and work from there to clear it. I have many tools I utilize to build myself back up when I find myself feeling small. Lately it has been really important for me to just be in solitude with nature. This is the strongest and most powerful way for me to reconnect with my own truth. I find walking and hiking by myself to be the best medicine. In general, it seems to be all about getting back into my body and out of my head, so whatever I can do to facilitate this embodiment is essential. I also think in today's world, with infinite access to literally everything via the internet, social media, etc., it is super critical to find ways to disconnect so we don't get to caught up in everything that is external to us. I have a few practices surrounding technological hygiene that I feel are really nurturing. I decided not to get internet access at my home when I moved out here six months ago. For me the internet can be a huge distraction when left to unlimited access. Right now I am all about eliminating unnecessary distractions so I can really focus on tuning in, in an altogether different way. I also practice what I call "no-cellphone Sunday," where I keep my phone and all other tech off for at least 24 hours, and I find my day unfolds in such a different way — something I am beginning to crave more often than just Sundays! All of these practices have really helped me to focus more deeply on my own inner work so that when self-doubt does creep in I am much more aware of it, how it is affecting me, and what I can do to transcend it.
For the past five or six years I have really been struggling with my health, something I actually never really talk about and very few people would probably suspect. For most of this time it has been one of those "mystery illnesses," which is probably why I haven't revealed too much about this personally challenging time. Recently, though, I have gained clarity surrounding what has really been at the root of the issue, which has been an amazing breakthrough. This whole experience of losing my health and not knowing why has been the most challenging thing I have ever gone through. I've had to let so much go throughout this process of healing. Ultimately, though, it is a positive experience, as I feel like struggling to regain my health has led me down so many paths I never would have taken, and provided me with so many powerful opportunities for growth. Through all of this I have realized what a privilege it is to be in a state of creativity. One of the most difficult parts for me about dealing with chronic "dis-ease" was losing my creative energy. My capacity to embody the creative surges of energy I mentioned above basically completely diminished until recently.
I feel like I identify most with a woman who is strong and supportive of herself in that she honors her own true needs and desires outside of what others expect of her. I am inspired by women who follow their own highest curiosities and joy, whatever that may be, and are not consumed by the desire for partnership with another to find their wholeness.
The best advice I have been given recently is that "you can't think your way through this anymore," meaning it is time to learn the language of my heart and let go of following my thinking mind everywhere. This is also the advice I would give out to someone, as I really do believe we have all the guidance we need if we can learn to listen to the language of our own hearts.
Taryn experiments with a method of weaving that is based on the concept of synergy. Through a process of repetition and connection, she creates pieces embodying the principle that "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts." She is self-taught and weaves in her own style, independent of traditional technique. Taryn utilizes simple shapes to achieve a sequence of complex patterns. She works almost exclusively with hemp fiber to create rugs and wall hangings defined by bold geometric designs. Follow @futurzulu. Read more about Taryn's work here.
Words: Taryn Slawson