Why you need to embrace feeling uncomfortable

We’re living in a time where the whole world feels uncomfortable, like putting on real pants after six months of work at home during a pandemic uncomfortable. However, just as wearing pants is important for preventing a public indecency charge, so is embracing your feeling of discomfort, regardless of what triggered it.

This detail shot of “Powerless” uses criss-crossing fabric strips to symbolize the web that traps you when you feel uncomfortable

Feeling uncomfortable…

Feelings provide lessons for us to learn. I believe this with my whole heart, which is why I create feelings out of fiber and talk so much about the importance of detaching from the feeling to observe what it has to teach you. Embracing the uncomfortable offers you the opportunity to learn, if you’re willing to face it.

When you feel uncomfortable, maybe trapped in a job you don’t like, lonely after all these months of forced isolation in your home due to COVID, or just from the simple act of wearing a mask, it’s natural to wish someone would come along and, if not straight up rescue you, at least put an end to all the nonsense. Unfortunately, it’s rare for discomfort to magically disappear.

Even if you should be so lucky for it to go *poof*, if you haven’t taken a good, long look at what the uncomfortable feeling is trying to teach you before it goes away, you’re setting yourself up for increased discomfort in the future when something that reminds you of where you are now triggers its return.

Embracing the discomfort…

I spent a good portion of my corporate career feeling uncomfortable because I had a fair amount of imposter syndrome. That discomfort became such a part of me, it began to feel normal. In fact, I got to the point where I thought feeling uncomfortable was a natural by-product of being an adult.

And then, one day, things changed. I don’t recall what did it, but I realized I didn’t have to feel uncomfortable and could instead embrace the discomfort and learn from it. As a result, I returned to making my art after many years away from the sewing machine, eventually finding my voice with my Feelings work. This provided a much needed release from the pressures of corporate work, and I found myself happier for it.

The lesson my uncomfortable feeling was delivering was a push to express my innate creativity, which I couldn’t really do in my day job. Creativity is a huge value for me and the suppression of that value is what had ultimately created such discomfort.

Your turn…

Your discomfort is trying to get your attention too. The lesson it carries is as unique as you are. It may be a push to change, a mirror to reflect, a reminder to return to your values. The longer you continue to ignore how uncomfortable you feel, or conversely, just bitch about it, the more difficult it becomes to discover what feeling uncomfortable is trying to teach you. Failing to embrace the pain hurts more than facing it head on.

So I challenge you to embrace feeling uncomfortable. Sit with the feeling to examine it. Ask the feeling what it wants you to learn. I promise you there will be an answer.

Exit through the gift shop…

Embracing feeling uncomfortable is important, regardless of what triggered the feeling in you. Every feeling has something to teach you and the longer you ignore that lesson, the more difficult it is to learn. So sit with the feeling. Speak to it. And most importantly, listen for the answer.

If you need some support around embracing feeling uncomfortable, drop me a note at hilaryclarkstudios@gmail.com and we’ll set up time to chat.


If you’re ready for a private (virtual) showing of my art, you can schedule an appointment here.

To discuss commissioning me to make a textured fiber painting specifically for you or someone you love, please schedule an exploratory commissioning conversation and we’ll see what we can create together.

If you enjoyed this article and found it helpful, please share with the ONE person you know could use it too!

(Feeling) Enlightened – New Work!

New work! I completed (Feeling) Enlightened recently so today’s post will be short and sweet to focus on the photos.

(As I always do, I’ve written a poem that goes with this piece. To read it, please visit my poetry website – www.piningforpoetry.com.)

© 2020, Hilary Clark, “Enlightened”, Fiber, 34-½” x 23”
Image credit: Hilary Clark

(Feeling) Enlightened…

I promised to keep the words brief but do want to share this. I chose to create Enlightened to help the viewer understand enlightenment isn’t something you need to struggle to achieve.

Moments of enlightenment happen all the time. Every time you have an AHA! moment, you’re enlightened. Every time you look up at the clock to discover hours have passed, you’ve been in a state of enlightenment.

Feeling enlightened is feeling those bright sparks of genius we all experience. It’s a lightness of being that comes from the heart to suspend you outside time and space as you watch the answers appear with ease.

I just want you to know you don’t have to chase enlightenment. It’s already inside you. All you need to do to feel it is pay attention.

Detail views…

“Enlightened” – raw edge fused applique, machine stitched – detail view
Image credit: Hilary Clark
“Enlightened” – raw edge fused applique, machine stitched – detail view
Image credit: Hilary Clark
“Enlightened” – raw edge fused applique, machine stitched – detail view
Image credit: Hilary Clark
“Enlightened” – raw edge fused applique, machine stitched – detail view
Image credit: Hilary Clark

Exit through the gift shop…

Enlightened is available for purchase for $2500 and would look fantastic on the wall of your home or office (or home office 🙂 ) or in your meditation space. If you’d like to own this piece, you have two options:

1) Contact me directly and let me know you’d like to buy Enlightened.
2) Visit my Etsy shop and purchase it there.


If you’re ready for a private (virtual) showing of my art, you can schedule an appointment here.

To discuss commissioning me to make a textured fiber painting specifically for you or someone you love, please schedule an exploratory commissioning conversation and we’ll see what we can create together.

If you liked what you read (or watched if you chose the video), please share with the one person you absolutely know would like it too!

Change your beliefs, change your reality (and a Virtual Art Show!)

What do you believe about yourself? Do you believe in your own value? Your immediate thoughts may be, “I’m amaze-balls” and “Of course I do,” and if they are, fantastic. But is that really your truth? Or is it a reflex, an automatic answer? Today, I’m asking you to dig a little deeper.

Making fiber art includes trimming off what isn’t needed. Believing in yourself asks you to do the same.

Belief creates reality…

What you believe to be true about yourself creates your reality. From your beliefs, stories develop that influence how you see yourself and the world around you.

Here’s an example: Put two people in a room to watch a movie on Netflix. When the film ends, ask them separately about what they just saw. Go beyond if they liked it or not. Dig a little. Odds are high you’ll get two different perspectives on the same film. When you ask each person to share their perspective with the other, don’t be surprised to hear one of them say, “I didn’t notice that at all!”

This happens because each of us sees the world through the lens of our own experiences. From experiences, beliefs develop. From beliefs, thoughts emerge. From thoughts come feelings. And from feelings come experiences. This cycle repeats and creates our individual realities.

When reality is upended…

Let’s use your current or most recent job as another example. You might see your job as a means to an end, a paycheck for financial security and a way to pay the bills. You may also believe your job is who you are. When you meet someone new and you’re asked to “tell me a little about yourself”, how often do you start with “I’m a _” and you fill in the blank with your job title? This is a sneaky example because, for most of us, we don’t even realize that’s our default response but that’s also how you know it’s a belief – because you don’t even have to think about it.

To carry this further, if you’ve ever been laid off from work, you probably went into a tailspin for a while. Getting laid off can be a completely shitty experience because not only is your paycheck gone, you’re also left feeling totally lost if you’ve identified yourself as “I am my job title”. Suddenly, your reality is upended because what you believed to be true about yourself – that you were your job – is gone.

Time for a re-write…

When you believe you’re your job, it’s a story you’re telling yourself based on the experience of having the job. But your story’s greater than that. You’re greater than that.

Belief in yourself as a whole being and in your own value is important because it’s this belief that will carry you through any turmoil.

I’ve spent a good chunk of my life feeling overwhelmed and lost, struggling to find my way back to peace and joy. For me, those moments often manifested beyond self-doubt and transformed into depression. When whatever I was doing didn’t go the way I’d hoped, I found myself unsurprised because that was just always the way things worked for me. It didn’t matter what I did, nothing would ever change.

But this was, and is, a lie. The truth was I didn’t believe in myself. And if I wanted that to change, I had to write a new story.

Write a new story…

My new story began when I returned to my fiber art. Through the act of creating artwork out of fabric and thread, I started to see myself differently. I reconnected to my innate creativity – something I’d denied even having prior to that point.

Making art requires us to let go of the reins. The final product may not turn out exactly as we saw in our mind’s eye. It may look better. It may look different. It’s ALWAYS gonna surprise.

Making art means releasing control. Control manipulates and forces outcomes. Since I’d spent a lifetime trying to stay in control, it’s no wonder I didn’t believe in myself.

The more time I spent making art, the more I realized my own value. I discovered I was more than my job, more than a partner to my guy, more than a step-mom to my boys, more than a daughter to my parents, a sister to my brother, and an aunt to my nieces and nephews.

As the intro to my new story expanded, so did my art making. One day, I realized what I was really doing was creating feelings out of fiber. By doing so, I was creating new experiences, which meant my relationship with my feelings also changed. This new “programming” evolved into a new belief about myself, one that serves instead of blocks, one that acknowledges I am limitless and worthy of joy.

Exit through the gift shop…

Creating feelings out of fiber isn’t just my art practice. It’s also a way of living a life filled with greater peace and joy. Living this way, I’m able to observe my feelings, to step back from them, to see what story they’re telling me. And when I can see the story, I can see how it’s influencing my reality. If I don’t like the reality, I can change the story. I can transform depression into joy.

Your beliefs create your reality. This reality can serve you or it can block you. Either way, when it’s upended, you can find yourself spinning out. When that happens, it’s time to re-write the stories you tell yourself that come from your beliefs. It’s time to learn how to believe in yourself and your value.

If your truth is the stories you tell yourself have created a reality where you don’t really believe in yourself or your own value, you may benefit from following my example.

If you’re interested in changing the beliefs that create your reality, let’s talk.

There’s a better way to live, one filled with peace and joy. Let me help you.


P.S….

I’m a member of the Wellington Art Society, a local group for artists to talk about their work and share it with the wider world. Ordinarily, our member shows are in-person but in-person isn’t an option these days, so we’ve gone virtual! Virtual is so cool because it means you have the opportunity to view all sorts of fun art from the comfort of your home. If you’d like to visit, the show opens Monday, September 14, 2020 and closes Friday, October 16, 2020.

The link to visit is: https://www.kunstmatrix.com/en/wellington-art-society

Instructions for navigating through the show are available on the website. I suggest the guided tour option so you don’t miss a single work of art! If you do visit, I’d love to know what you thought of the show.


If you’re ready for a private (virtual) showing of my art, you can schedule an appointment here.

To discuss commissioning me to make a textured fiber painting specifically for you or someone you love, please schedule an exploratory commissioning conversation and we’ll see what we can create together.

If you liked what you read (or watched if you chose the video), please share with the one person you absolutely know would like it too!

Happy Labor Day

Just a short, sweet post this week to wish you and yours a Happy Labor Day! Here’s hoping your weekend was beautiful and relaxing.

I don’t often give myself a day off, primarily because I enjoy playing in my studio. However, over the long weekend, I gave myself permission to spend some quality time soaking up the Florida sunshine. Is it strange we’ve lived here for five months and I still don’t have a tan?! I’m going to try to give myself a little more sunshine time going forward.

As for you, I hope the week ahead, and the remainder of the year, are just as beautiful and relaxing as this past weekend may have been.

Thank you for being part of my “tribe” and following my artist’s journey. I am grateful for the opportunity to share my heart with you through the feelings I create out of fiber.


If you’re ready for a private (virtual) showing of my art, you can schedule an appointment here.

To discuss commissioning me to make a textured fiber painting specifically for you or someone you love, please schedule an exploratory commissioning conversation and we’ll see what we can create together.

My most important artist’s tool

What’s my most important artist tool? What can’t I live without? There are several; the most important two may surprise you.

My Bernina 570 QE…

It’s easy to make stitched fiber art when you have a great machine!

One of my most important artist tools is my sewing machine, a Bernina 570 QE (Quilter’s Edition). I do a LOT of stitching on my textured fiber paintings, so my sewing machine is an obvious choice. It’s a practical tool. And it’s necessary.

The sewing machine is one of the first tools I learned how to use as a child. As a vertically challenged human, my mother insisted I learn to sew because I was “going to need to hem things.” So she sent me to sewing lessons and I came home to use her old Singer machine to make garments. I found I didn’t like making clothes but I did find myself liking the sewing machine.

The hum as material feeds under the needle. The ability to control the speed of the stitching, which increases or decreases the vibration of that hum. These pull me to the machine.

When I first began making art quilts, before I transitioned into bright, bold, abstract textured fiber paintings, I used my mother’s old Singer. She’d given me her machine when she bought herself a Bernina. As my art improved and I grew more convinced my calling was to create art, I too upgraded to a newer machine, also a Bernina, the Artista 180, a model Bernina no longer makes. It was a great machine and I still have it.

A couple years ago, however, I decided it was time for another, one with a wider throat area, which is the area between the needle and the machine body itself. The wider the area, the easier it is to move large rolls and folds of material through. To stitch my textured fiber paintings, I can’t just keep them flat the whole time. My work measures roughly 2’ x 3’, so I have to roll the layers like a burrito to fit it all under the machine. A bigger throat area helps with this.

The original Singer had very few stitch choices and no fancy feet. My Bernina has hundreds of stitch choices and lots of fancy feet. And yet, most of the time, I use one straight quilting stitch and one particular foot that allows me to stitch in all that texture just the way I like it. It’s not the bells and whistles that make it one of my most important tools. It’s that it has exactly the bell and whistle I need.

My empathy and intuition…

Morning walks help me to connect to two of my other most important tools.

While my sewing machine is an important artist tool for me, it’s not the most important. That designation goes to my spiritual tools — my empathy and my intuition and the way they work together.

I create feelings out of fiber as bright, bold, abstract textured fiber paintings. To create a feeling, I have to feel it. This calls for empathy. I’ve certainly felt all of the feelings I’ve created to date, but I find, when I can tap into the universal collective and use my empathy, I can dive deeper into the feeling I’ve chosen to create by accessing the collective energy around that feeling.

This empathetic connection lets me see the feeling, like a really colorful and fluid version of the Matrix. The vision that channels through me shows the feeling as radiating and undulating waves of energy.

Before I dive into the universal collective to feel the feeling, my intuition helps me choose the feeling that most needs expression at a particular time. After I’ve channeled the vision of that feeling through my empathy, my intuition comes back into play to help me take what I’ve seen in my heart and turn it into a visible, tangible object. Feelings don’t have boundaries and edges, but to create them out of fiber, boundaries are necessary. My intuition chooses the boundary shape.

The energy of a feeling also doesn’t have a particular form. A feeling is waves of color and light. So I tap into my intuition to see the placement of the colored bits of fabric within the boundary that will best convey the feeling I’m creating.

These spiritual tools – empathy and intuition – are my most valued and important tools. Without them, I couldn’t feel what I feel and see what I see. Without them, I couldn’t create my art. Working IN the abstract requires me to rely ON the abstract.

Detail image of Impulsive, showing the detailed texture of the stitching created using my sewing machine and the composition for the feeling created using my empathy and intuition.

Exit through the gift shop…

I believe feelings come to teach us lessons. We get stuck when we attach to a particular feeling, when we cling to it. Through my art, I am choosing to make feelings visible so I can detach and observe the feeling. Because only through observation can we see what we are to learn and through the learning, transform.

My sewing machine does the work of building my art. My empathy allows me to connect to the feeling I’m creating. My intuition allows me to see what the feeling looks like. This combination of practical and spiritual represents the multi-dimensionality of my nature, and yours.

If you’re ready for a private (virtual) showing of my art, you can schedule an appointment here.

To discuss commissioning me to make a textured fiber painting specifically for you or someone you love, please schedule an exploratory commissioning conversation and we’ll see what we can create together.

If you liked what you read (or watched if you chose the video), please share with the one person you absolutely know would like it too!