Welcome to 2013, and wishing everyone a year with more laughter than tears!
I’ve been away for a bit with lots of Christmassy things going on. Family coming to stay and lots of cooking and catching up with each other has been fantastic, but now it’s time to look forward. It’s a kind of soul searching time of the year, a cool look at what has been working for me and what hasn’t, and what I want more of, and what a lot less. This crosses all areas of our lives; creative, practical, physical, emotional, environment… the list goes on.
I have been thinking about the way I make my jewellery. The things that light me up and the areas that frustrate me and make me critical of the results of my efforts. There is nothing wrong with a healthy ‘critic’ when it causes you to strive for better things, but there is a point where it is stifling and should be put in its place!
So what am I talking about? Well I am a bit chaotic in my work habits, I get in the grip of creating and reach for the tools and materials I need as I go along and tend to drop them where I use them and pick up the next thing – which leads to a heap of things all muddled up and needing a good tidy up at the end.
Most of the time that doesn’t matter because I am so enthralled with what I am making I just don’t see the mess! Then as I get tired, or grapple with a problem that needs solving, up pipes that niggley little voice that says ‘You’re not doing this properly…. you aren’t any good at this sort of thing, look at this fault and that finish….’ etc, etc. It’s a poisonous little voice because it’s never just about one thing, it builds and brings in all those other things that I think are less than great about me, my ways, my self, – and has a field day.
Well, here’s some news for the critic – I am not going to let it have its reins any longer, one word more than ‘ this needs a bit more to make it great’, and I will be sending it out the door to amuse itself elsewhere!
What brought that on? I decided to make something for one of my loved ones. I know what she’s interested in, and I had an idea that was exciting to me and some new materials to include. Usually I start with creating a bit of a pattern – silver is too expensive to waste any when I can work through some ‘bugs’ on paper first – and I did this with the element that was least familiar to me. But I have been discovering the pieces I enjoy most have a life of their own and develop as I go along, and since this was not a piece I was planning for sale, I decided to enjoy myself and play around with the design as I went.
Things went well, I have reached a place in my jewellery making where my skills are catching up with my ideas and that leaves room to breathe a bit. I wanted to use a mixture of metals and surfaces and managed to plan things in the right order to accommodate the different requirements of the materials … until I got to the end and it cried out for ‘just one more’.
Then the problems started. It was a bit tight working around some of the components, I mucked it up, scratched things, bent stuff, and had to take it apart and redo a bit. I was tired, had time pressures, and a million other ‘important’ things that suddenly needed doing. And that’s where the doubts came in. It was a doozey of a battle just to keep going and finish the piece.
What kept me going was knowing that the person I was making this for would appreciate the process as well as the outcome. She also goes through the creative process and does battles with demons of doubt, all be it on a different scale of audience than my wee field, and that made such a difference. She loved her gift, and I trusted her response to it, especially as she told me she knew the effort that went into making something.
All this to realize that my style is mine. The slightly irregular, not highly polished finish, and slightly ‘rugged’ appearance I like is perfectly fine . My tendency to jump from one theme to another is fine. My different expressions of style are also fine. We are complicated creatures and I like a lot of different things, and it is all FINE!
So, critic be damned, I am carrying on. There is room for improvement and growth, and mess is quite likely to occur! There are definitely things that will change to suit me better, and 2013 looks rather inviting right now. I hope yours is shaping up too!