Monday, November 14, 2011

The Art of Thinking

I've been having a good solid chat with Kim over the last couple of days about the creative process, and understanding time within that context. (Oh yeah, we are soooo elite.)

Kim was beating herself up about not getting enough time to create (something I've been fretting over lately as well) and that once she gets done taking care of house and home, there is precious little time to sit in the studio. She said 'I only have a few hours each day to grind on the shit and by the time I get concepts or sketches (in my head) down the time to make is actually gone.'

I think a lot of us suffer this problem- by the time you sit down, get grounded and relax into it, seems like you get about 2 minutes of solid crafting done and then someone somewhere expects something of you. (It's a curse born by women throughout time, so don't feel special!) I know as an Etsy seller there's a huge pressure to update your shop regularly and provide as much as you can for people, and we can worry ourselves threadbare providing a regular supply of inventory.

I used to harass myself all the time that I wasn't making enough work- I could sit at my desk 3 days in a row and still not have anything finished, and some stuff I even wanted to pull apart or throw straight in the bin. Meanwhile I would log on to my Etsy and see my shop front, shaking it's head disapprovingly at me because the latest listing is 5 days old.

But those days of tinkering and taking stock are not lost time. You need those times to think and experiment and move things around. Even 'organising' your space (and by organising I often mean 'looking through random boxes.') is good work. Playing with your materials and supplies is as much about communicating with your muse as actually making a piece is. Even when you make something and it doesn't turn out, it's still valid time spent. (The art of failure is a whole other post.)

One of the most important things in the creative journey is the thinking. Physically making and (gasp!) finishing something is grand and seems to be the golden fleece we all lament not holding on a daily basis, but you need that thinking time to feel out your materials.

There's a Carl Sagan quote: 'to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe'. And I LOVE that quote because it speaks to me it's about setting the foundations, feeling out the landscape. You can't make something until you have the energy of it around you, you need to create the world in order for the creature to live there. So all that time spent thinkin' and dreamin' and shuffling beads and string around the desk is all crucial to the process.

It's going to happen whether you like it or not, this tinkering. In fact it HAS to happen to get good work, so you might as well either square with it or consign yourself to the easy path of making frivolous trinkets. (And you know what Dumbledore said about easy choices.)

I've illustrated this post with random shots taken through my studio in the last few days. Every now and then walking around with the camera and snapping away at various things is helpful to my thinking process. This is just as valid as actually making something. Taking photos, observing, playing... it's all seeds for the harvest. So stop beating yourself up, and find validation in every minute of creative time you're blessed with. No matter how unproductive it feels.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

tinkers tagalong

Putting things together, taking them apart, getting cross, getting excited, getting bored, getting ideas. There's been much movement on the work desk this week but nothing actually finished. Quality takes time, I always say.

Handmade elements - carved wood (new thing), painted bits, antique tin cut-outs

The long stick is windfall Japanese maple from the garden, I carved it to resemble antler and painted it with a wheat/leaf pattern that I've been transfixed with since high school.

Awesome woven mats found at the thrift this week, they bring instant jedi zen to any surface.

Some earthy bits I arranged on the table- I like to do this when gathering thoughts. Sticks from the garden, wonky ceramic beads, bone charm, hemp rope, heishi that are sort of bone, sort of celluloid (jury's out), and some crusty shell squares Dad found in a pot in his shed, and assumed they were mine- they are now!

Monday, November 7, 2011

stuff and things

bloggin bloggin, I ain't no good at it lately! My head's full of higher things. Here's some new shop stuffs!

Patience - artisan jewelry - bohemain bangle set - handmade beads - yellow jade

Patience - this sold about 10 minutes after I listed it, I kinda knew it wouldn't stick around. Such gorgeous soft colours and every stone is just beautiful.

Serenity - painted tin, bone and sandalwood. These feel really calm- I had a total zen-out while making them. I think it's the carved sandalwood beads, they have a wonder about them; imagine the process involved in getting such a tiny thing to look so engineered.

good fortune - artisan metalwork earrings - reclaimed vintage - orange and green

Good fortune - mismatched central! These are so different from each other but because of the shape and the colours, they work. Also they have that unifying element in the bead stack.

Universal - rustic mismatched earrings - hammered metal - reclaimed vintage - antique buttons - organic jewelry

Universal - nice and wonky, with a couple of Victorian buttons in the mix. Buying buttons is a sort of mediation you know, it's easy to zone out with a mug of earl grey in one hand and the scrolling function enabled on your mouse. And with eBay's option to list 200 results a time, scrolling feels endless! It's lucky I have the supply shop to put the unwanteds in cause no one wants to buy cruddy buttons (sellers assume) so they hide them in mix lots! Silly sellers.

Fertile ground - cluster charm pendant - reclaimed and vintage elements

Also I've started listing some pendants I made a million years ago (approximately). They no longer suit the style of work I'm going for, but since they're all so nice and tidy it seems silly to undo them all for supply destash, so I'm listing them as ready-to-wear pendants. You can even buy them to use in your jewelry projects!

All the names are coming from keywords of recent lessons and themes - patience, serenity, good fortune, universal... connections and observations. I'm an artist, I can do that.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

odd socks

Trembling earth - mismatched earrings with shell and clay. Love the mismatched look, it's got a lot of that whole 'found bits' thing I need to have in order to be vaguely satisfied with my work.

poetic spirit - more mismatching, this time only in the middle. Lately it's more about getting similar elements to co-exist in my work, rather than match neatly. I have some earrings to put up later tonight - or your morning...

...that have a great sense of co-habitation. It's all about the colours and the shapes- if you can get those things in line, it really doesn't matter what else you use to build it.

tribal echo 3 by Mia Montgomery, who is probably the queen of mis-matched earrings on Etsy (certainly the prettiest photos of such, too!) You can see in these ones above by keeping the circular shape to the elements and the colours down to two-and-a-metal, it works really well. Also the little bead in the ring on the right echoes the pattern of the large bead on the top left.

These fabulous creatures are by rockdarbi - another really simple method of mis-match; using two exact shapes in different colours, just highlighting each with the other.

Fanci of course is always coming up with the goods on the unexpected- these glories echo each other by having one chandelier crystal match the other's rosary medal.

pretty mis-matched china votives by BlondieBlu

There you go, there's a quick lesson in getting mis-matching right. Didn't expect that huh? Me either! And because I didn't expect it, I couldn't plan it, and I couldn't get anal about it, and have it end up taking me 39389 years to do, which my upcoming (oh God not that again) photography tutorial is clocking up in a similar time scale. It is coming, I promise! Along with the props tute. I'm trying to fit them both in the same post in an effort to stop me going on and on about them and providing many deliriously interesting details you don't really need.