Sunday, November 29, 2009

Wreath-Copper repousse'

Bringing light and lightness to a dark time of year.

It’s the beginning of the holiday season. This year, for me, it’s going to be different. My daughter now has her own home, so she won’t be living here for the holidays.

For the past few years, she’s helped me do the decorating and some baking. She enjoyed working with me getting out all the ribbons, Christmas books, Santa collection and candles. I used to do it all myself, becoming grumpy and frazzled. With her cheerful help as co-decorator, it all came together with an ease and grace and lightness that felt much more like a holiday.

This year, she’s been busy decorating her new apartment. Buying candles, table runners, ribbons, colored balls and twinkle lights. She called me on the phone to tell me all about the deals she found at the stores. Today, she proudly showed me her holiday decorated home. It looks lovely.

I’m glad she’s happy and into the holiday spirit. I want to feel the same spirit. In holidays past, she used to bug me to get the tree, decorate the stairs, put up the lights, get out the Christmas tree china. Ok, I used to feel a little pressured by it all, but now, I’m just not as motivated to get the holiday decorations up. Right now, I’m busy with other things, classes to teach, articles to write, pieces begging to be worked on in the studio. I’m glad for the work, especially work I want to do.

Maybe that’s a clue here. The holidays have always been something I did for others. I usually abandoned my creative work in order to get all the decorating, baking and shopping done. I did make some choices I liked but most of it was a combination of what the kids wanted and expected. And that was ok, Christmas was for them after all.

Maybe now, it can be for me, too. The question is what do I want? The answer, I’m not sure.

What cookies do I really love to bake? What do I want to light up with lights? How many decorations do I really want to get out and set up?

What do you love to do for the holidays around your home? Share your favorite and maybe we can inspire each other to bring light as well as lightness to this dark time of year.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Losing control.

For the past month, I’ve taught 3 different project classes in 3 different places, gone to meetings upon meetings, done interviews, and managed to squeeze a few hours in the studio. Ok, I’ve been busy. The point is: how much of these creative projects and time are within my control?

As a self-employed artist, teacher and writer, you might think all of it. I used to think that, too. Not anymore.

I’ve always been a self-motivated creative person. If I wanted to make something, I made it. If I didn’t know how, I figured it out. That might mean reading a book, taking a class or just doing it. Whatever I needed to do, I did it. Myself. I had creative control of my project.

That was an illusion. I wasn’t in control of my creativity then and I’m not now.

I may want creative control, but I don’t have it. It doesn’t matter whether I’m working alone in the studio, on a group project, or in a class with students. Students show up or not. Some people are easy to work with, others not. Ideas that seem good, go bad. Supplies get discontinued.

What I really want is a good ending. That's why I think I need creative control. What I need to do is to lose control and follow the creative road. Trusting the bends, bumps and detours are all important parts of the journey. And that the end result I’m trying to control isn’t the end at all, it’s just a stop along the way. Sometimes the stops are good. I make a beautiful piece with clay, metal or words. Sometimes, it’s bad. I recycle the pieces and learn something new.

Maybe, creative control isn’t something I really need and don’t really even want. It’s just my fear wanting to drive my life, so maybe it’s time to shift into a different gear. Lose the control and enjoy the ride.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Fun with metal.
A great class on Saturday.

I love working with metal. I love sharing my love of metal and creativity with others. When I get to do both in one afternoon, it’s delightful.

It was a dark and rainy afternoon outside, but inside creativity bloomed. These wonderful women worked magic with copper and aluminum screening sculpting them into bowls, baskets, leaves and vases. Then, on went the colorful beads, wire, gold leaf and paint!

Here are photos of their beautiful art work.