Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Eating Elephants

The other day I did not work on any jewelry. I wouldn't sit at my work table, I convinced myself I just wanted a reading day. But really, I know it was because I was afraid. I was shying away from the stress of not doing well, of not being sure of my designs. I've done this before, I get good at a hobby then stop practicing it because it becomes too stressful. Because when I get good at something, I must then always succeed at it. If I don't, then I'm not as good as I thought I was. It becomes not a hobby, but a stress inducing test of my skill and art. Not fun. Why do I turn something enjoyable into an evaluation of my worth?

I'm a perfectionist. I have a tendency to dislike my older pieces, constantly reevaluating them against my newer abilities. But that's a part of art that I should embrace - the desire to keep learning, to keep pushing forward. Why can't we strive for a new skill without demeaning our previous endeavors? It reminds me of Margaret Salinger's book Dream Catcher - she described her father's tendency towards perfection or obliteration. She illustrates this with the question,

"How do you eat an elephant?

The correct answer: First, cut it into little pieces.

The Salinger answer: Drag it deep into a cave, all alone, and attempt to swallow it whole.

Or, declare that anyone who would eat an elephant is beneath contempt and then stalk off in the other direction."

I'm tired of eating elephants alone. Of not allowing myself to admit defeat, to admit fault or even fear of failure. So here goes, I can admit this to you internets, but I probably can't utter it aloud. I'm going to go upstairs and work on some jewelry. I'm afraid I don't have any fresh ideas today. I'm afraid I won't create something today. But I'm going to try.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Thinking Outside the Big Box

So I'm driving through town today and notice that the little tea shop has closed. That just bums me out - there are way too many vacancies in our adorable downtown and I hate to see another small business bite the dust - especially one that did so much renovation and beautification of main street. But I ask myself, hey self, did you go to that tea shop? Did you support this little business whose demise you mourn? Why no, self, I did not. It really made me think about supporting my local stores, shops and artists. They don't exist just to make the town look postcardesque and quaint.

I know, everyone talks about thinking outside the big box of corporate America - and that's great and all, but really, honestly, we all shop at Walmart, Target, Toys R Us, etc - we have to. We're trying to have a civilization here. But when we can, we really have to try to remember the little guys. Of course, I'm a little guy - one teeny jeweler in a sea, an ocean of jewelry designers on etsy. So of course I tend to think about the fate of us independent artists. But this holiday season, I'm going to continue supporting my fellow artists on etsy, but I'm going to remember my local businesses as well.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Where do you get your mojo when you're sick

Caught the Stringbean's cold - it is a full force, breathing through oatmeal, throat like sandpaper kinda cold. It's sapping my energy and has obliterated my creativity. Luckily I had a few items that needed to get listed - mindless cut and paste work - but when I sit down at my worktable, I got nothin.

What really sucks, other than my nostrils trying to sip air through a straw, is that the cold medicine makes me sleepless. So I have laid in bed the past two nights, exhausted yet wildly awake, brimming with jewelry ideas. Not very good ideas, but interesting stuff. I keep rolling over to my notebook to jot them down in the glow of the baby monitor - I love trying to decipher my chicken scratch in the morning, even better are my sketches!

So, this has got me thinking about where creativity goes. When we're tired, sick, worn down - where does it disappear to? Are other people more creative when they're not at their best? Like stereotypical drug fueled artists, or heavy drinking authors - they seem to get their best ideas when they aren't at peak health.

I can only hope to coax my creativity back once this mucus feast is over! Now is time for some therapeutic cream of wheat - and hopefully at least 7 uninterrupted hours of sleep.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Beginning

Going to give this a try. I am lucky to have found a passion recently. Or maybe you have to wait until your 30s to find this - why didn't someone tell me? Creating jewelry is unlike anything I've ever done - I dream about jewelry, I live jewelry, I eat/sleep in gemstone reverie. I'm one of many in an ocean of faceted colors, sparkling rondelles and sterling silver - but I have to make my mark. I have found that I can't force it. But when I get the idea for a piece, I have to write it down, or it can forever slip into that forgotten corner of my mind, gathering dust. And if I do attempt to make it - the real art is in the execution. If I can't make it (jewelry, a painting, a drawing, etc) like the image in my mind - well that's a kind of failure to me. It might take a different route, inspire something new - which is fine and good, but I have found that the real art is making it real, taking it out of my head to show to others. Cause they can't see the pretty pictures in my head. I have nothing to show for those lonely, abandoned ideas.

Lately I've been thinking about painting. I have some ideas, but I'm scared to start. I have to just do it. Hopefully it turns into something - but where do I find the time? Between cooking fish sticks, taking the Stringbean to preschool, walking the dog, cleaning the house - making time for a passion should be easy, but it slips away. If only I didn't need to sleep - but then where would I get my ideas? Well, other than sleep deprived hallucinations.

Beautiful work inspiring me today:
Gray and Mint Simple Necklace
The Sea Abstracted Fine Art Print

Madeira Boro Lampwork Bracelet