Sunday, December 29, 2013

Elusive Creativity

 Draggers in Johnson Bay, Lubec. 
Pope's Folly in the background.

 Fourth drawing in this series.
WATER, WIND, and TIME: Exposed #4

Detail drawings from the "Water, Wind, and Time" series.

 View from the drawing table on a snowy day.

More columns.

In the thick of it.

Christmas day turkey, post ice storm 2013.

Bouli always does her best to help out with whatever the task is at hand.

"Sometimes creativity disappears completely or wanders around the back alleys for weeks at a time. She has a strong need to be occasionally anonymous. If you run into her at the post office line during one of these periods, you will probably not recognize her. She is in a different place. It is almost as if her blood has slowed down. When the blank period is over, Creativity brings her free self home with her. Her skin is new. She is ready to work. More than anyone else, Creativity understands the secret meanings of the months when nothing seems to get done."
from The Book of Qualities by J. Ruth Gendler

Creativity has its own way of doing things and for artists we know that it can be fickle.When the semester began in September I was excited to begin a new body of work in the factory series. I was soon sidetracked by the demands of running a business and found only small pockets of time for artwork. I looked forward to December to be able to delve into the creative process fully, but the universe had a different plan and decided to present little obstacles at each turn. The time for full immersion finally arrived today and much to my chagrin, creativity decided to take a vacation. That's my perception anyway. 

The creative process can be grueling. Emotions were flying around the studio, as well as paper, scissors, wax, wood, and clay. No, it was not safe. Chris knew to stay away. Even Bello. Bouli, well, she was her same old diva self and in the end, I was grateful for her unconditional companionship. It's amazing how soothing a few kitty belly rubs and chin scratches can be.

It did feel good to spend an entire day in the studio with music and the smell of beeswax. I just wish that I could appreciate the results of my labor a bit more. Sometimes what we imagine in our minds to be a good idea turns out to be the the opposite in reality. There is a battle, as well, between what I am expected to produce (again, my perception) and what I feel drawn to do. At the moment, my desire to draw is greater than that for clay or wax. Still, I feel I need to see my original goal through, if only in part.

Tomorrow morning I will enter the studio fresh from a (hopefully) good sleep. Sometimes ideas and new avenues present themselves overnight, as I have been blessed with that sort of inspiration in the past. The frenetic intensity of the past few weeks is still with me. It may take a while to center myself again but I know I will get there. Eventually.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Switching Gears

 Morning ritual. 
Waiting for the sunrise.

 Bouli continues to model for product shots. 
Yes, this bowl did sell. She's good.

Work has begun on another Factory C drawing. The start is grueling, mapping out the rebar. This kind of work gets me blurry-eyed, but I enjoy the meditative qualities. I just wish I wouldn't keep counting all the lines as I lay them down. Strange me. (The three parallel, diagonal rebar pieces...that alone is over 450 short curved lines!)

I just finished up the last craft fair venue for 2013. Boxes and pots have been packed and unpacked too many times to count this past year. Exhale.....

 Sitting in my nook on rainy days, looking out window, thinking about the things that are most important to me.

 Porcupine shows up most nights around dusk. 
She blends in perfectly with the pre-winter landscape.

Birch-lined drive on a foggy morning.

For the past few months my main thought had been how to survive November. Well, I did it. Three pottery events three weekends in a row, packing of boxes, and unpacking over and over, loading the car, sleeping in other beds, missing the cats and the usual comforts. I'm a homebody by nature, perhaps part astrology (I am a cancer crab after all!) and part obsessed artist wanting to be in the studio. I am finally breathing a bit more easily, finishing up the final holiday orders soon to be shipped, and heading full speed into MFA work. 

While others are baking reindeer shaped cookies and merrily singing carols at yankee swaps, I will be doing what I love most: total immersion in the creative process. Studio spaces are brimming with unfinished paper and boards waiting for lines and color, while clay slabs are imprinted and taking shape. While I begin work most days before the sun rises and end long after sunset, there is a calmness in the end-of-semester frenzy. My hands dabble in the varied mediums, self moving from space to space as each next step must be met when the medium deems it time. Clay is the most persnickety so ink and wax dance around its schedule. The nook is a refuge where I read and research, sketch ideas which come to me in quick image blips but so far none have claimed my commitment. I am trying to learn to trust the intuitive process.

Drawing is the most meditative. Thousands of lines are etched in rhythmic patterns, as if hand is on auto-pilot. I love that feeling. As one who has always found it difficult to settle the mind enough to meditate in any traditional sort of way, the repetitive motion and counting of lines (crazy, I know!) quiets me enough to remain still. 

As I type, the cave is warming and soon slabs will be rolled, measured, cut, and assembled into the next series of factory columns. Wednesday's mugs have already been trimmed and handled and the last of the holiday orders have been thrown and are drying. The barn was cleared last night in what felt to be a final warm spell before the deep cold and snow. We found the tree stand and ornament boxes above in the loft. Every year I think we are too busy for a solstice tree, but as most years, nostalgia sets in, longing for the smell of balsam and the stories that accompany each ornament as hung on green branches. We just might need to make a trip to the Hayward's this weekend.