Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Your work, your "self"

Today I have been listening to a podcast with Alison Lee interviewing Michael DeMeng, mixed media artist. In the interview there are many topics brought up that I think are worthy of thinking about. What is your relationship to your work of art/design, while you are working on it? What does it depend on? Does it depend on whether or not it is "going well"? Does it depend on how well planned out the piece is beforehand? Does it depend on your love or dislike of the materials you are using? Do you make the piece and then form your feelings toward it later, after having spent time with the finished piece? Or, do you just make beautiful things, without much or any mental involvement at all?

I believe these are things we need to think about and be aware of, just as we need to be aware of what our "creative habit" or studio process is. I think knowing these things, or at least taking time to observe them makes a difference in both what we make, and how we feel about what we make. Ultimately, it is the connection, or the "story" behind a piece that will capture the heart of our customers and ultimately cause them to buy. I really do believe this connection can be as simple as, "I love forming the metal by flame. There is something about the physical action of working the metal with a hammer that really draws me to create this way." Being aware of things on even this very basic level enhances the experience of creating for you. And the joy of creating will always translate into the pieces you make.Skipping Stones, posted June 17, 2009 to Flickr.

Even when I struggle with wire that is really stiff, or struggle to make a workable design with the materials I selected, I understand that it is the process of working the wire that I truly enjoy. Often the pieces I really struggle with are the ones I end up valuing the most. I believe it is because I learn things through the struggle. When I am able to solve issues in my designs to satisfy my own eye, the end product is always so much more exciting. Often titling those pieces becomes much more special as well. Then when someone purchases the piece, and they understand and see what I saw in the finished piece, it gives me unimaginable joy.Golden Rain, posted June 16, 2009 to Flickr

I don't think it is important to say, "This is my personality, and this exact thing represents that". I think it is more about standing back and observing our own ways, habits, processes, and tendencies. I think being aware, and in the moment during the creation of pieces that can make them more rich with creativity. These are just things to think about today as you spend time in your studios making what you are to make. I would love to hear what you all have to say about your creative process and relationship to your pieces. Leave a comment, or email me at cellocarrots@gmail.com.Toucan, posted July 29, 2008 to Flickr.

All of the above images are of pieces which I struggled with in one way or another, but which became some of my most treasured designs. I persevered and trusted my process. I believe that the lessons I learned through the struggles are what continues to draw me to these pieces. I learned that there was more in me than I had thought before the process was begun.


WonderfulWire said...

Thank you Dawn for that wonderful reflection... these pieces you highlighted are absolutely fabulous!! I know that sometimes I question myself (actually often :) and I'm so unsure of my direction... I know it's because of the brain damage... but the struggle is sometimes so intense, almost driving me to frustration because It's so difficult... what my eyes and brain sees changes constantly... so many times it is amazing to me that anything emerges of worth at all! But yet it does... that's why I keep coming back for more... because I know that somehow it will work out. I see what I've accomplished in the past and it stirs me to have hope to go forward. :)

Dawn said...

Your work also inspires me. But more importantly, YOU inspire me. In my sickest days, I have designed from my bed, working with barely any light. If you can rise above all of the obstacles facing you to make the incredible art you make, then so can I. I keep your seahorse with me at work all day. It hangs on a basket next to my computer monitor. It is a constant reminder that we can transcend pain and illness by creating. I recently had a huge piece of my medical puzzle solved. I will be posting about it eventually. I have more hope and joy now, than ever before.