I am amazed at how energizing it has been to write down a very specific creative goal and give it a timeline. If I am able to ‘check something off a list’ the rest of my day (or week) is just so much more mentally calm. I love the feeling that my six-minute commute home from the office feels too long because I am so excited about getting home to my studio; having something awaiting my input.
I have decided to work on a series of 24 handmade books. (Very cool idea: using upcycled leather – which meant a trip to Goodwill – I love going to Goodwill!) These books are in the form of a journal; a two-signature sewn structure. I am borrowing the general structure – with some modifications and experimentation – from Patti Paulus who learned the general design from Joyce Teta – who might have gleaned it from some other person of inspiration.
For far too long I had been inhibited by doing anything at all because in the back of my mind I felt it wasn’t going to be original. It wasn’t going to be ground-breaking. I won’t be as good as someone else’s. This became a real creative stumbling block. I would be intimidated by work I found interesting (why didn’t I think of that?) rather than inspired by it (wow, I need to try that technique!). But lately I am realizing that the only thing that will make what I create unique and different and ‘ground-breaking’ is not that it is so different or completely new but the mere fact that I created it.
I am learning (ever so stubbornly) that when I make something, it has my mark all over it. I am inspired by a lifetime of studying art, feeding my brain with the works of people I admire. I can’t help but be influenced by stuff I find amazing. Bits of them might come through but I can’t be afraid that the work I produce will be on one end of the scale: ‘copying’ or on the other end of the scale: ‘completely new and original’ (which really doesn’t exist anyway?). It is a lovely mash-up of both.
So I remind myself that “There is nothing new under the sun” — Ecclesiastes 1:9.
“Every new idea has some sort of precedent or echo from the past” (from Wiktionary). I like that…echoes from the past.
So I move through this next series grateful for the generosity of Patti (!) who shared her lovely work with me. I am grateful for Joyce sharing it with her. I am grateful for the echoes of the past bubbling up in them and now, in me.
I would be interested in hearing from anyone who has struggled with this’fear’ (I have that word in quotation marks because I have sort of vowed not to use it anymore. I think that discussion might warrant another post).
Until next time. Peace,