Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Why Do We Do This Thing?

Dear heaven, another post, with only words, and no pictures.  I may climb the walls, or tear my thinning hair from my head entirely, from wanting to SHARE PICTURES!

Someone asked, a few weeks ago on Facebook, how people who created pieces for Bead Dreams did it.  Was it component driven?  And now, that question arises again, as hundreds of artists worldwide prepare work for "Battle of the Beadsmith".

I thought the question was a very good one, and I said so.  I have been thinking about it ever since.  For me, design IS a component driven process in some respects.  I usually start my work by creating components and then I arrange and assemble them.  But I don't think the right question is "how", when it comes to taking on a leviathan project for competition.  I think it is "why?" 

Probably every artist has their own answer, but I think it is my WHY that gets me through to the end of the process, and provides whatever success I achieve.  And usually my why is three-pronged. 

FIRST, something moves me. Something takes my breath away, or makes my knees weak, or actually brings tears to my eyes!  And I want to express, or maybe re-create, that amazing thing in beads.  It is this inspiration that makes all my decisions for me.  What colors to use, what shapes I need, what textures, which beads, which stitches; everything comes back to the inspiration.  I think beautiful jewelry can be made by arranging components, but I need more.  I need a purpose, and a goal.  My target changes and develops as I go, but it is essential that I have one, and that it be one with emotional meaning to me.

And SECOND, and even more important, I want to see if I can do it, or to figure out how to do it.  There is a quote attributed to Picasso, although I understand that Vincent Van Gogh wrote this sentiment in a letter to a friend when Picasso would have been 4 years old.  I think it is maybe a truism of all creative endeavor.  

"I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it."  

Usually, what I imagine as my end result is something I have not done or seen before, so there is no path to follow.  There is not even a guarantee that I can find a means to my end.  And sometimes, the backing up, reconfiguration, and the eureka of "that is what I should have done!", stops the process entirely. It's hard to do on a schedule, and to a deadline.  And once you figure out how to make it happen, some motivational thing deflates.  A knitter friend of mine says, once she has figured out how to make what she imagined, it gets harder to keep going.  I agree.  After all that exploration and excitement of "how will I do this" is resolved, the rest is just work.

So I need the THIRD part of the why; a desire and a means to share the work.  I love to share the inspiration, and the process, and the final product. It is why I write this blog. And LORDY, LORDY... that desire-to-share thing that gets me through the end of the creative process makes waiting to share REALLY hard for me.  I go completely insane waiting to share my Bead Dreams and Battle of the Beadsmith work.  Does anyone else feel that way????? 

How do you create your competition work?  And why?   

24 comments:

  1. How nicely put Marsha, I think you expressed perfectly the feeling of each and every beader or creative in general. I guess the process may vary for each one, but in the end is always a matter of inspiration and self-challenge and the desire to bring something new and beautiful to life.

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    1. Thanks for bearing on through my SECOND words-only post, and for your comment. It's always nice to know what my compatriots think about what we do, and why we do it!

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  2. Very well said and I agree for the most part although for me there is a reluctance to share my work as I don't quite feel I have developed a 'signature' style yet and by that I mean no one will see a piece and say that is so Naan, so in a sense I feel "why bore anyone?". There is indeed a great satisfaction in the creating and executing process but I lack the enthusiasm of wanting to share it asap.

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    1. I think we all have a signature style, whether we are conscious of it or not. And I think it develops and grows as we do, just like the handwriting we use each day. I hope I do not bore anyone with my work, but I figure, those who are interested can look and/or read, and those who are not, are not compelled. I think you can be proud of your own work, Naan! I look forward to seeing some of it soon! It is a blessing to have a group of like-minded individuals to share both our successes and failures with. I think we all benefit from each other.

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  3. I echo your "Lordy, lordy, lordy" sentiments exactly. I'm going INSANE with the waiting. I feel this intense need to share.

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    1. I am glad I am not alone Kate! **bites nails**

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  4. Your post expresses my sentiments exactly Marsha! Way before I even had the thought of sending Steven some photos of my past work, hoping he would consider me for BOTB '14, I had wanted to create a specific project. I knew what I wanted it to look like, but had no idea how to get the 'brain image' expressed in beads. When Steven made a space for me, and some other things fell into place (Shibori ribbon!), I knew where I was going, but not how to get there. That didn't deter me at all. Not all of my beadwork is so 'thought driven' but ocassionally I am somehow internally forced to do the beading, ripping out, beading, etc. to produce the mind picture in the beads. I am lucky in that I have a beader buddy who is willing to look at my in process photos and provide honest feedback...wish I could use BOLD on the HONEST! When I've ripped some of the work out, she has agreed with my 'I'll try a different bead, or method.' When I saw the quote from Richard Branson, it fit me to a T. If you haven't seen it, here it is: "If someone offers you an amazing opportunity and you're not sure you can do it, say yes - then learn how to do it later." I'm hoping this attitude carries me through to completing and submitting my BOTB entry; I hope to get no further in the challenge than that. I wish you success with your entry, which will be a knock out I know!! Jeanne Evans

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    1. I did see that Branson quote and it really did resonate with me! And I agree, just finishing is the big victory! Thanks for reading and commenting!

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  5. Great article Marsha, well thought out and answered. I have not pondered such a question to any great length but I totally agree as I read your insights, particularly the third one. I am like a small boy jumping up and down with excitement when I finish a piece and want to show and share. That is what drives me to begin the next piece of inspiration. Would you call that an addiction?
    If it is, that's one addiction I don't mind having.

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    1. Maybe it is an addiction. I don't know, but I do know I have the patience of a two-year-old when it is time to wait. Just waiting for the entries to be posted to ogle drives me completely nuts. This year, I will have to adopt a more realitic attitude toward that part of the process. Maybe we can hold hands and jump up and down together!!!

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  6. Excellent post! You put into words all the things I'm feeling too. I'm so glad you are back in the Battle.

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    1. Thank you Linda, I am glad to be back. And I am glad that I found some shards of universal truth that seem to resonate with so many of my friends!

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  7. yes, yes, yes and YES! I feel exactly the same way you do!

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    1. good, good, good and GOOD! Thanks for reading and commenting Cynthia!

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  8. Great entry, Marsha. Thank you for spelling out one more time feelings so common to all artists...Between fear and frustration I experience sometimes, there is this glorious sentiment of reaching a new pic and, of course, the desire of showing the result of my striving in order to get other artists' approval. I cannot wait to see all this work still in the making or unrevealed yet, what an excitement!

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    1. Thanks Ileana, There are fears and frustrations too, for sure. But the payoff seems to be worth it. Maybe like childbirth? We forget about the agony when we have the newborn in our arms. Yes, very exciting!

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  9. The reason why I continue to blog is that I like to share (or show off) what I make.

    I often ponder why I do not make other "versions" of finished pieces- it really would be less time consuming. It does not take long to figure out that it would not be a challenge.

    I don't enter into blog hops or contests because I just cannot make that kind of time commitment. Some days I am just glad to find the time to shower and clean up the dinner dishes- never mind unloading the dishwasher.

    I think what I have waltzed around Marsha is that you are spot on even if my experience is so very different. And please, do not fret about blog posts with no pictures, there is always time to read your posts- they are informative and affirming and the dinner dishes will still be there when I am done reading.

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    1. Thanks Kathy Jo! I completely appreciate the problem of finding time. Last night, I had to just sit most of the night, because the day was exhausting, but fortunately, I have enough time to do what I want to do... I think? I hope!!! lol

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  11. I love this post! I have never participated in any bead contest before. The BOTB is my first. Your number one reason above is my main motivation for my piece as well. So nice to know others feel the same way.- Teressa Dyer

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    1. Welcome to the battle field Teressa! Yes, there is tremendous comfort in like-minded peers, all floating along together in the same magical boat. Glad you are on board!

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  12. Excellent post Marsha. In my heart I echo many of your sentiments. Why do I make things? The answer is simply that I must. Creating personal interpretations of objects or feelings , memories, whatever is my favorite form of communication. I was classically trained in Fine Arts , with oils as my chosen medium. I switched to beads because they offer everything I love about painting and sculpture, color, light play, movement, texture , architecture, spatial experimentation... Beads offer an art form that does all the above and more. Jewelry appeals to me because it is portable, makes the wearer feel special, opens lines of communication between strangers, all while taking the art out of the confines of a gallery to impact a greater audience on the street. I really feel blessed to have fallen into this profession. I am amazed by the incredible pieces created by others. And I love the fact that there is always something new to learn.

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  13. Sharon, you echo many of my own feelings and thoughts about wearable art, and the magic of tiny beads and thread. Thanks so much for adding to the post and visiting my blog!

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  14. Marsha I think you are a Treasure and I am so happy I met you on Facebook!

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