I have met many different kinds of people in my life, and invariably when we discuss what it takes to be successful in life, they say things like: “You must be driven to succeed”, “Have a dream and pursue it!”, or even “All you need is heart, and you’ll succeed!” Then when I say, “So if I have heart, a dream, and drive- what’s the next step?” That’s when the flow charts come out, and the rigid scheduling of every conceivable business possibility. “You must have a spread sheet for everything!” “You have to know to the minute and penny what time and materials you spend on a project!”
If I started a clock when I started a project, and metaphorically listened to it ticking away while I was trying to create art jewelry, I probably wouldn’t finish any projects…and I would hate what I was trying to create!
Oh, I know I should be streamlined and efficient while I work, and a certain amount of scheduling and thought has to be given to projects. If I can move my anvil next to my soldering bench so I only take 3 steps instead of 20, that’s more efficient. I get that. Do I really have to keep track of how many penny’s worth of solder I use to create a bracelet? Does all of that information really have to be entered into a spreadsheet with 4 different kinds of color coded graphs in order for me to be successful?
When I consider all the paperwork and scheduling deemed by the faceless majority to be essential to my success, I want to abandon my tools and run screaming into the night. Yes, there are artists who thrive on the rigid creation of beautiful objects. They create stunning masterpieces of engineered elegance, and I am awestruck by the precision of their creations. Yet, I could never even consider using their precise processes in my creations. It is not that I am incapable of such precision- at one point I was able to visually sight an object to within a .0001 tolerance! But the ability to do such a thing is, to me, a cold calculated activity. I firmly believe that nothing even remotely akin to that could result in the lithe organic forms that I love to create…
So, in spite of all the well-meaning advice and admonitions that I receive- I embrace spontaneity. I strive to look for the unexpected. I explore alternate options for every design I create. And just because I start out with a drawn design that I love, doesn’t mean that’s how the design will end up once I’ve actually created it! I will add and remove lines of forged metal, gemstones, and even completely scrap a piece in the works if I think that it isn’t the way it should be… Of course, the flip side of that, is that when I am working on a new design I usually visit my drawer of discarded pieces. Looking at them anew through the distance of time passed, I often find the perfect curvature or embellishment for a current work in progress. I am sure that other artists do this as well- but I would be highly surprised if any of them started a piece with the click of a stop watch or worked to a color coded pie chart….
Thanks! I like to unwind with the written word when I’m not forging… I think it helps me as an artist to focus on something other than chemical and metallurgical calculations for a while, and gives me more “oomph” to get back to the fun parts of creating!
Thank you for expressing so well what I am sure many of us feel and think. I too, wither up creatively when too much clock-watching and spreadsheet calculating is involved! Here’s to spontaneity!