allowing process

this is what i'm learning about myself as an artist: i have to follow the unseen thread and play and take the chance and waste the time, waste the materials, and allow myself to abandon everything at the last minute....something that is always hard for me when working with a limited supply of found objects.

a few posts below i posted pictures of these bones all pretty and lacy looking. had GREAT suggestions on facebook and here of how i could implement them into my bone table that i'm making for the phoenix commotion. resin, glass, painting...lots of fun stuff. i keep saying i'm on a time line (sunday coming up) to get it done before they need something if i want to show this along with their bone furniture; that and the (semi-loose) perimeters were to use their materials ie: bones/wood/long gold screws. these were all my 'excuses' for not getting all fancy.

what i realize is, there is a part of me that wants to get all fancy. fancy to me is using resin, adding all kinds of crap to it, building/adding/on and on. some artists can get away with this and have the space/materials/money and brains . that isn't me. and i have, i'm finding, a pretty sterile or simple bent when it comes to what i am attracted to. i dont need to point a finger and say why i dont want to do it, i just dont. doesn't make it better or worse. just is.

yet i still seem to doubt myself and feel i should be adding this. should do more to that. should go further...should have a mound of options and tricks up my sleeve that will add to whatever piece i'm working on. when the truth is, i like the challenge of using what is available. and yet the last few days i've been going to the build site (the bone house/artist studio) and picking brains...how do i do this? how can i do that? wasting people's time is how i see it when part of me knows i will probably NOT do what i'm asking how to do because i realize it's too complicated and perfected or something. yesterday i had someone show me how to grout. the above photo is that experiment. supposedly i can buy acid to clean up the grout stains on the bones or use baking soda with white vinegar. I bought the grout. I bought the vinegar and soda. I was shown how to do everything but clean it up and knew i would manage to NOT do that right. and sure enough, after my grout dried up i applied my solution and ta da, the bones are still stained ugly yellow/gray. the grout i bought is charcoal (this was her spare grout for the tester) and would make the bones even darker. not the look i'm wanting. i feel i've already wasted this persons time, as i suddenly realized i dont want anything to do with this right now.

so instead i've completely abandoned this particular table top and within minutes (thats how it goes right?) i came up with my table top. and its simple. and its more in keeping with what i'm after. scraps. yes, i am using the scraps of the scraps that dan and his crew are using. they have a little chest filled with crap pieces of redwood, all chewed up and marked on with pens and pencils. they have an entire yard full of bits and pieces of their 'compost wood', which is just a fancy way of saying wood that is left from cuts and fucks ups which they later bury when they are finished with the job. this satisfies me. i'm not even using their new gold screws, i'm using just 2 of my old found ones and used nails. i'm using the scraps of bones that aren't usable, even what i first thought were butt ends from the 'good' pieces of the 'bad' pieces.

my brain wants to tell me that i'm just pussying out. that because learning to use tools and do things feels hard and i dont understand most of it, i am just taking the easy way out. may-be. and so what if i am. i know i start to feel a slight revulsion for needing to learn the proper way to make proper things. i know physics needs to be taken into account when making functional furniture and i can't guarantee my table wont wobble a few degrees let alone not fall over once i get the top onto it. but it's like learning to walk. ya haffta crawl. sometimes its nice when the right person comes along and grabs your hands and lifts you up....but until you can do that yourself you gotta keep crawling until you find your own strength. i know my strength isn't about learning all the slang and ways to use all the tools out there. if i pick up a few things here and there, tips, tricks, i'm happy. i need to trust myself more when it comes to figuring out how to do something. i think its big to begin to understand the difference between shying away from too hard vs. shying away from just not interested.

and so, my table has begun to take shape and today i will attempt to make little dowel holes/dowels for joining the three chunks of wood for my table top. thats something i've never done and i'm sure it will take me two days to do what a carpenter would do in 10 minutes. who cares, this isn't a race. and i might even have time to make a bone clock before the deadline ;)


ArtPropelled said...

I actually breathed a sigh of relief while reading this post. Your gut feeling was pretty strong and you went with it. I'm enjoying your learning process, following the unseen thread, playing, experimenting and coming up with the right decisions for you.

andrea said...

I haven't read the whole post yet (have to go and meet Ellen for art supply shopping -- YAY!) but about the first paragraph: THAT's thinking like an artist as opposed to, say, a product designer. Process process process. Good on you.

Chris said...

Yikes, this is so painfull, isn't it? No way around it. I personally would have to make 10 tables out of bones before I could really do anything I'd be happy with. I'd make the first one kinda shitty, but now I'd not only know how to not do it, but I'd have an idea about what to try next. And, so on. Pretty much anything I make leads me to the next thing I make.

Here is a para phrase of a quote: "If you can't allow yourself to make a mistake, you will never come up with anything original." See this video if you get a chance. It is a lecture about creativity, but it is amusing and empowering. http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity.html

TMNK said...

I love listening to you think out loud. Continue the journey indifferent to your destination.

self taught artist said...

artpropelled, i think i breathed a sigh of relief the minute i decided to stop with the grout thing...its hard to allow yourself to play when you are also trying to work.

andrea...yep its a process and it never ends...

chris, i'm off to check that lecture out tonight, thanks for that!

hey themenobodyknows, thats profound. (what a little thrill to get a comment from YOU.) thank you.

Karen said...

Fantastic that you are using the cast off scraps!! With bits of writing on them..sounds like fun to me. Trial and error is a very big part of creating isn't it.