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!

What I’ve been working on recently

It’s time for a progress update from the Studio! I took a little break from creating feelings out of fiber to try my hand at a few different artworks.

Please keep reading for news from the design table and the sewing machine. If you’re rather watch and listen, jump to the video at the end.

© Hilary Clark, “Fish Tails”, Fiber, 12” x 12”
Image Credit: Hilary Clark

Fish Tails…

This past month, I did something I don’t ordinarily do. I worked on two different projects at the same time. This turned out to be good for my production rate, but it made my mild OCD a little twitchy. 🙂

I almost always work on one project at a time, usually the next in my Feelings series. However, in mid-July, I accepted a challenge to make a wearable art face mask for these COVID times. I ended up creating ten – the Queen of the collection and her Ladies of the Court. You can read about this Jewels of the Pandemic series here. One has sold; the others remain available in my Etsy shop.

In keeping with my focus on smaller work (the masks have a lot of design detail in a small space!), I also created a 12” x 12” artwork I’ve named “Fish Tails”. This piece was created as a submission for the Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) Florida Fresh Fish Exhibit, which will be on display at the SAQA Global Conference in April 2021. The Conference will be held virtually as no one really knows where the world will stand in terms of COVID. As we get closer, I’ll share information in this space about how to view the Fresh Fish exhibition.

I’m really pleased with my little fish. My drawing skills remain about second grade level when it comes to drawing anything that ought to look like something real. There’s a reason I create abstract art – my drawing skills are cartoonish and childlike. It’s just not a skill I’ve cultivated. So when my fish outline came out looking like an actual fish shape, I was pretty fucking happy. Still am.

This little fishy is super colorful and created using fused raw edge applique and machine stitching, incorporating the dense textured stitch lines I prefer.

For fun, I used a pre-printed undersea fabric I found in my stash as the facing for this piece. “Fish Tails” is a fish, through and through. You can read this piece’s accompanying poem here.

© Hilary Clark, “Fish Tails” – detail view, Fiber, 12” x 12”
Image Credit: Hilary Clark
© Hilary Clark, “Fish Tails” – back, Fiber, 12” x 12”
Image Credit: Hilary Clark

Abstract geometrics…

While I can’t really draw anything that looks like anything – if you ask me to draw a tree, it’s going to look like a second grader drew it, all lollipop or Christmas like – I can draw geometric shapes. A ruler and a compass help me with this. I never discount the importance of using tools.

A few months ago, I started creating abstract geometric drawings, using gel pens and markers on paper. I quickly found my voice in those abstract compositions made up of geometric shapes, line, and arrows. I’m entertained by these – I hated geometry class in high school.

I create a new drawing a couple times a week and share them on my Instagram (@hilaryclark13 if you want to follow along). They cross post over to Facebook too. I’m playing with ideas for what I want to do with these; I think I’m going to be uploading my favorites to my Fine Art America shop (opening soon!!) and offer them as prints as well as designs on items like throw pillows, phone cases, coffee mugs, and more.

I’m also experimenting with turning these little drawings into acrylic paintings. I’ve never practiced painting as an art form before, or at least not since I gave up finger painting as a kid. I’m finding it a fun way to spend a small portion of my Sunday afternoon. As my painting skills improve, and I find my voice with the paint, I’m sure I’ll shift from creating little 8” x 6” paintings to larger canvas’. Until then, I’m enjoying playing with paint. These are the three I’ve created so far, all taken from one of the pen and marker drawings.

© Hilary Clark, Abstract Geometrics, Acrylic on canvas, 8” x 6”
Image credit: Hilary Clark

(Feeling) Enlightened…

I’ve begun the latest in my Feelings series. I’m creating Enlightened, which incorporates a yellow canvas. Yellow = light in my mind. As this piece is still in its infancy, the only progress photo I have to share is the canvas.

Canvas for (Feeling) Enlightened
Image Credit: Hilary Clark

The design for Enlightened will use primarily fuchsia, red, and purple. I’m sure blue, green, and even some orange will make their way into this piece. Abstract, curving shapes will dominate the space, representing the Knowing we experience as we evolve towards enlightenment.

Exit through the gift shop…

I’ve been busy over the last month, creating wearable art face masks, a vibrant fish, drawing and painting, and beginning the work on my latest Feeling. It’s been a good month in the Studio and I’m grateful to share my work with you.

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!

How you can buy my art

In this week’s article, I’m not sharing work in progress status or new art I’ve just finished. Instead, I’m sharing the various methods available to you so you can buy my art. Because you know you’ve thought about it! 😉

Seriously, though, I’m in the business of making, marketing, and selling my art, so a discussion about the ways to purchase ought to be included once in awhile. Today’s the day.

Please keep reading to learn about the various options available to purchase my art. If you’re rather watch and listen, jump to the video at the end.

Detail view of Queen Amethyst, one of the Jewels of the Pandemic wearable art face masks
Image credit: Hilary Clark

Feelings out of fiber…

If you’ve been following along for any length of time, you know I primarily create feelings out of fiber in the form of bright, bold, abstract textured fiber paintings. I do occasionally make other pieces that aren’t feelings. I made a series of crosses in the past. I’ve made some stand-alone pieces. And recently, I made a series of wearable art face masks I’m calling the Jewels of the Pandemic. All of these art works can be seen in my Gallery on my website and in a variety of other locations.

So let’s talk about what those other locations are, okay?

HilaryClarkStudios, an Etsy shop…

I’ve opened an Etsy shop, named HilaryClarkStudios. Swing by! Check it out!

To date, all art work from my Feelings series is available in the shop, as are several of the crosses from my Hot Cross series. And all of the Jewels of the Pandemic wearable art masks are listed too.

Discover Hilary Clark on Artwork Archive…

My art is also on display through Artwork Archive on my Artist Profile page. If you visit and follow the Discover link in their menu, you can enter my name, Hilary Clark, and you’ll be whisked to my profile, where my portfolio is available for viewing. Art work that would love a home includes a link to purchase.

I keep my full inventory on this site and have the wonderful option to stage private art showings. I can share private Gallery rooms, which provides you with the opportunity to view my work by series collection or view my whole body of work.

Artwork Archive has a different feel to it than Etsy. This offers a Gallery experience so you can feel you have the entire space to yourself to fully appreciate the art work on offer.

Commission your own unique art work…

If you love the art I create but there isn’t an existing piece that speaks to you, let’s talk about commissioning your own unique art work. To do this, you can get in touch with me via my website, via email, or through a DM. Let me know you want to talk about hiring me for a commissioned art piece. We’ll schedule an appointment to sit down and talk about what it is you’re looking for to see if we can create a beautiful piece of art together.

Our conversation would be exploratory, with no obligation. It would just be a conversation to see if there’s something I could make that would suit your vision. If you’re interested in commissioning me to create an art work uniquely your own, remember I make abstract art. If you’re looking for representational art, I’m probably not your artist. Bright, bold, abstract art – that’s what I do.

Coming soon…

I’ll be offering another option soon through Fine Art America. This shop location is another gallery option, focused on print-on-demand prints. My intent is to offer prints of my textured fiber paintings, as well as prints of my abstract geometric pen and ink drawings. Fine Art America allows me to offer home furnishing accessories featuring my work, so the opportunity to buy a throw pillow with an image of one of my Feelings on it is coming soon!

Once I’ve opened my shop at Fine Art America, I’ll be sure to announce that news in a future weekly article, and on all my other channels.

We could just keep it simple…

The shop options are always available. However, if you’ve fallen in love with one of the art works I’ve shared here through my articles, on my website, or via social media, and you want to keep it super simple, just get in touch to let me know you’d like to buy the piece. We can set up a virtual showing via Zoom and I’ll email you photos so you can see it up close and personal. Buying a piece of my art doesn’t have to be complicated. If there’s a piece you absolutely must own, let’s get it into your hands and into your house as easily as possible.

Exit through the gift shop…

To recap all of the possible ways you can buy my art, you can visit me on:

Etsy – HilaryClarkStudios
Artwork Archive – Hilary Clark
Schedule an appointment to discuss commissioning your own unique art piece
Contact me via the contact page on my website
Email me directly

And coming soon to Fine Art America!

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!