Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Titling my pieces

You know, this is something I have eased into over time. I always know what I was thinking about, why I made each design decision, and what was going on in my life when I was making a piece. When a piece is finished, I don't necessarily title it right away. Sometimes, I spend time looking at it and thinking about it for several days. Eventually, I realize the source of the inspiration and that makes it easier for me to name it. Sometimes I try to make a title, and then the piece, but it never works. I end up agonizing over every design decision, and the piece rarely makes it to a finished state. Really, the only decision I can make before starting a piece is what the main stone or piece of glass will be, and what kind of wire I will use. Beyond that, the decisions for addition materials, like accent beads, can only be made at the point when the piece demands it. Nothing can be preplanned. I can't decide today, that I am going to make a piece with obsidian tomorrow. My work isn't random by any means. It just can't be thought out before I sit down to make something. What I make is completely a result of what is inspiring me at that very moment, whether I am conscious of what it is or not. So, if I am unsure what to title a piece, I sit down with my apprentice, and we talk about the piece, and the thought process I was going through at the time. She interjects the feeling and reaction she has to the piece, and we discuss how that relates with what I was thinking about. Then we start throwing out ideas for appropriate titles. When I decide on a title, I am 100% sure that it is the right title for the piece. The titles really can be anything. They just have to be right. Sometimes, I know what the title will be right away. Sometimes, Kassie names off a title upon her first glance at the piece and it is dead right on. The fact of the subject matter only being revealed to me after the piece is complete makes the process and unfolding of the design very much more interesting for me. Fairly soon, I will be starting a series of pieces for the Kansas History Museum gift shop. It will be a collection of work based on Kansas and the tallgrass prairie, our weather patterns, and the colors of our land, water, and skies. I am sure local folk music with influence these pieces as well. So, the next couple months, I will be immersing myself in all of these aspects. Spending time looking at all of the grains and grasses, their movement, and changing colors, and the shapes of things. The work and the titles will come out of me spending thoughtful time out in the elements.

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