Serenity

It’s amazing how quickly I can forget all the frustrations with a project once it’s done.

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This weekend is my annual church retreat.  I have been going to the Our Lady of Calvary Retreat House since E was a year old.  The only year I missed was the year we were in New Jersey, so this will be my 17th retreat.  (a fact that both stuns me and makes me feel rather old, LOL)  It’s a wonderful weekend apart, a refuge of  friends and prayer and serenity.  One of the most precious gifts of this weekend is the opportunity to tap into a well of inspiration.  It doesn’t happen every year, but when it does, it’s amazing.

See you next week.  I’ve got a great Studio Snapshot ready for Monday.

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Sharing the artist’s journey

I thoroughly enjoyed Wednesday night’s Craftcast Master Class with Seth Savarick. The topic was “From Imitation to Inspiration”. As you might guess, an exploration of the stages of artistic growth, or as Seth put it “the journey to authenticity”, is clearly a subject I’d find interesting .

There’s something so affirming, or perhaps I should say reassuring, about hearing that you’re not the only one going through something. When the girls were little, I found it particularly reassuring to hear the same comments I’d made to my children coming out of the mouths of other mothers (often something I’d never dreamed I’d have to actually voice such as “please get the straw out of the maple syrup” Bad example, but you get what I mean.) There are so many parents around you every day that the affirmation of a shared experience is a pretty common event.

As artists we generally work alone and don’t bump into those kind of shared experiences casually. The communities artist have built through the internet have really helped us to connect to other artists and share the journey. Wednesday night’s class was a wonderful opportunity for learning and sharing. Seth had obviously spent a lot of time analyzing the stages common to artistic education, growth and development. He put the process in a historical perspective as well. But what resonated most with me was he spoke about his own journey as an artist.

Seth’s comments about having to step back and ask himself “why polymer clay?” really struck a chord with me. In the context of the class, the question wasn’t so much about the allure of the material, as it was about whether the marriage of the material and techniques he was using was appopriate. We get so caught up in experimentation and the allure of some techniques that we forget to ask “Is this the best use of polymer clay?” There’s even a small element of identity involved. Sort of a compulsion to use polymer clay in applications where it might not be the best choice of medium because I’m a “polymer clay artist”.

Recently I found myself applying black gesso to a baked piece of polymer clay, coloring it with colored pencils and then covering it with a layer of translucent clay. I definitely had a moment of thinking “why am I doing this to polymer?”. I liked the result, but it’s probably not a technique I’ll take too much farther.

I’m planning to listen to the recording of the class. Seth covered a lot and I know I’ll find other points that will speak to me.

Thanks to Alison Lee for putting the class together and thanks to Seth for being so genuine.

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Not the week I expected

I was supposed to be away this week, traveling with some friends. Unfortunately I got sick and had to stay home. Nothing terribly serious, but enough that I wanted the comforts of home. It has been a disappointing week feeling blah and filled with the drudgery of household stuff. At the beginning of the week I tried really hard to wallow in my disappointment. I was the Queen of Feeling Sorry For Myself. You know what? It’s hard to keep that up. Especially since in the overall scheme of things, I have nothing to complain about. Reading the news this week is a daily reminder that I should be profoundly grateful for what I have, instead of sitting around being Whining Woman.

So, I admit I have wasted an embarrassing amount of time on self indulgent negative thoughts, but I’ve managed to squeeze in a bit of creative time as well. Polymer clay creative fun no less! Today, I’ve canceled a lunch date with my sister so I could get back into the studio. She understands. She canceled on me last time so that she could go paint. Wouldn’t it be great if we could coordinate our creative impulses? (I’m not sure that’s possible)

For now I’m cutting this off here so that I don’t get sucked into more internet induced inertia. I’ll be back with photos.

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