Tuesday 4 September 2018

Enforced Creative Pauses and Their Usefulness. Conclusions. And Retrospective Introspection feeding Changes in Direction

I'm having a bit of a creative pause right now. Due to my workshop being out of action while a new window is put in. Quite timely, as the sill and the wooden lintel were pretty much powdery crumbly rubbish held together by a thin outer crust and/or layers of paint.

The old window was old, but nothing like as old as that bit of the house. The walls are brick and therefore comparatively recent, but the ceiling has a big beam across it with smaller ones at right angles every foot or so, the implications of which are that the room must be quite a bit older than the main Georgian/Queen Anne (1780) bit. We guess that it was part of the original building that was built around when the owners got grand notions. Nothing wrong with grand notions btw.

A fair bit of wood boring beetle activity is in evidence in the beams. Most of it historic, though I am not entirely sure about that. I have treated it with evil, anti-beetle stuff just in case. Someone who knows about these things reckons the timbers are fine so I won't worry unduly. The timbers will outlast me, beetle or no, so I'll pass the issue down the line to the next owners, which will be my kids. . . Thanks Dad. . . ;-)

Organic style

Anyway, or 'Any road up' as they say up north, this creative hiatus has got me considering things and weighing things up. This year has been a good, creative time for me. I have been busy making my beads and 'things' in the time available between DIY projects and general life stuff.

Most of the stuff I have been making has sold, often within a week of me making it, which is great, but means I only have photos to remind me that it ever existed. This is still something I am getting used to. Not a complaint, merely an observation ;-)

I made more in this shape and they sold, then I forgot temporarily

I have spent some of this downtime looking through my photo folders on my computer at what I have produced this year, and finding there were quite a lot of things I didn't remember until I saw the photo. This surprised me somewhat. The result of this retrospective introspection is that the mental list of 'cool things I really must make more of' has just grown exponentially!

lovely texture pattern

Looking at past work does make you see how your work has changed without you realising. This is all useful stuff whether you think it has changed for better of for worse. It gives you a chance to re-evaluate your creative decisions and adopt any lessons learned in the process.

subtlety. . .

As a result I have made a couple of decisions about what I am doing. I have tried making earrings using my beads and components, but found it a bit frustrating as I was very aware of how much I didn't know about the process or about the practical considerations that shouldn't be ignored. In short, it made me uncomfortable with what I was producing.

Ok but nothing special, how to find specialness, my ongoing project ;-)

I enjoy making beads and other components, then leaving it to others to decide how they might be used. I like to play with techniques and processes in an unpressured way. There is not very much to 'get right' when making beads, and if they go 'wrong' I haven't wasted much time or expense.
I may be in my comfort zone making beads, but as yet it isn't restricting me creatively so I see nothing wrong with hanging out there, it's a big place ;-)

minus ear wires. . . this sort of thing

So. . . I will be breaking up the earrings I made, which sounds drastic, but mostly means just taking the earring wire off in many cases ;-) and selling the components as just that - components. I may return to earring design at some point, but I will need to get my head into the right space if you know what I mean.
So until the next time,
peace, out ;-) Jon x


  1. I often marvel at how eerily similar events are. Here's why I'm saying that...

    Hubby goes away to a conference every year during the last week of August. Every year I tackle some obscure project or another while he's gone. This year I thought I'd finish painting the windowsills on this old barn. That's when I discovered that 5 sills were soaking wet - the wood total mush. So out they came and I discovered rotten holes underneath those sills too. So I tackled what I could - building new windowsills for the 5 I got rid of and I'm still deciding what to do with the rotten holes underneath. At present I'm letting them dry out and leaving them for next year I think but putting in new windowsills for now. No beetles tho!

    I'm delighted that your components sell within a week. That says tons Jon! And I'm not in the least bit surprised - they are absolutely lovely and so unique! Components like yours are hard to come by - I bet you have people who wait for the next thing you post! Hooray!! You do what you're comfortable with - even if it's not making new windowsills...

  2. I adore your beads. I have never seen anyone produce what you produce with polymer clay before. They are stunning.

    Don't beat yourself up too much about the earrings. I look at it this way. Earrings become harder to design (and then make), because they are so small. With a necklace or bracelet, for example, there are lots of areas to draw the eye. We use focals, chains, leather, different beads. We are not just looking in one place.

    Earrings require us to look solely in one space. The whole thing has to draw our attention and hold it. So we have to pack as much design into the things as possible. Not only that, the ear wires have to be balanced with the earrings and the whole thing has to hang properly from one's ears. Not balanced properly, it can tip forward. Ear wires not long enough or too open in its shape, the earring can fall out entirely.. Too long, it can be annoying. Too short, and it can look weird if the ear wires are somewhat long. Too stiff or not enough breaks to allow it to move and flow, it can be uncomfortable to wear. Too heavy or too much metal or too many beads, it can be outright painful.

    It's just one of those things that come with practice. Play around with it. Get a headpin, for example, and/or some beading string or cord and string beads on them and play them against your components. I look at it in the sense of what story do I want to tell with the earrings.

    I am not surprised your components are selling so quickly and so well. They are gorgeous. And it is always hard to think about our creations no longer being with us. It is always hard to let go. It is what makes you such a brilliant artist.

    1. Utterly Bell - you are absolutely spot on regarding everything!

    2. Thanks, Utterly Bell, I appreciate what you say. Very useful advice. I will let it perculate through my creative system, if you know what I mean. . . It will bear fruit further down the line, to mix metaphors unashamedly.
      As a non earring wearer, I find I have to second guess potential issues, with very little knowledge or experience, which is frustrating and naggingly worrying. So I will kick the can down the road and let much better informed buyers make those tricky decisions. For now anyway.