A decade ago, Darcie Shively traded her harried schedule in Los Angeles’ advertising industry for the quiet beauty of Boulder—and a life that stokes her artistic interests. She gave herself a challenge: Do 52 creative things, one each week for a year, and track them on a blog (aptly named “52 To Do”). Those endeavors included tempering chocolate, knitting, roasting coffee, and researching her family history.
But one pursuit evaded Shively: weaving. “I wanted to learn, but I just didn’t have time to figure it out in a week,” she says. So, once her year of challenges ended, she took a weaving class—and was hooked. “I love pattern and color and the experience of watching it come together on the loom,” she says. “It’s a meditative process for me.” And a successful one: Today, art lovers (most of whom have found Shively on Instagram) clamor to commission her work.
Shively weaves large-scale geometric tapestries with hand-dyed wool in bright hues and unpredictable sequences of color. To generate the hues and patterns she uses in a piece, she embraces serendipity: Sometimes she’ll flip a coin (after assigning a specific shape and color to heads and another combination to tails) or reach into a bag stuffed with wool scraps; whichever color she pulls, she uses. “This way, I don’t have to speak to current trends or cultural preferences,” she says. “I feel like this [random approach] gives my work a more lasting quality.”
It’s also a reminder that efforts to control every element of our lives are futile. “My work is about embracing uncertainty,” Shively says. “We can’t pre-program our lives, so instead, maybe we can find some joy in the not knowing.”