When first I recognized inspiration, it was dressed in silence and focused obsession. On the radio the other day, a scientist reported our brain patterns, when in love, are similar to the brain patterns produced when we're OCD. Is creating a parallel to these as well? When a piece is first imagined, isn't it like falling in love? It follows your thoughts, haunts your chores, and teases with promises of long hours devoted to it. In this way, can we also neglect, forget, and devalue it when it becomes too familiar... like a relationship might after a time? With so much self centered and false busy-ness, it seemed I'd chased my inspiration away. I fell out of love.
I confess, all of that thinking and doing is a poor replacement for being. I'd left no space for anything beyond myself, instead of creating I became a persona of someone who creates. I planned with short cuts and the end in mind, it was about getting to that finish line as quickly as possible. I was tossing away the oyster in favor of the shell, never realizing it's the pearl I'm looking for. So I took a step back, a big step back. I pulled away from everything in order to find what I didn't know was missing.
Humbling myself was the hardest part. I didn't want to listen to anyone, I was an island that needed no other ships ashore, so over confident that I could plant in fallow ground. Fortunately, desperation rooted itself instead, right before help appeared.
Help is a funny thing. It can arrive as a chance encounter on the first warm day of spring or through a swarm of dragon flies on a humid August evening. It's a friend looking over your shoulder and questioning why. Why take the shortcut when the longcut takes you to some place so much better? Why use a pre made component when there is such joy and intimacy in creating even the smallest things yourself? Well, I didn't see it that way, I only saw a sketchy idea and that finish line. I wish I could say it was an instantaneous epiphany, that at that moment I was forever changed. No such luck... you see, I'm more donkey than human. For me, it took a persistent friend, partner and active artistic collaborator, along with a full immersion back into life to wake me up.
Working through this new exhibition of pieces, the process became just as important as the outcome. There were no deadlines, no bells and whistles, no flashing lights, just time and devotion to each step and a reentry into the "real" world; the world where there is no division between the art you make and the life you live. Each piece echoes the place where they were created, the lingering and turning of seasons, the input of another artist, the playful chase of twin fauns, the ebb and flow of nature's many expressions... recognizing, no matter what I make, it cannot compare to the poetry, beauty, and brutality of this remarkable planet we all share.
I fell back in love with living, with creating. Each appliqué piece of metal clay was hand punched and placed, even though there might have been a faster way. Each section carefully hand built, even if it was redundant and could have been easily casted and re-casted right to the finish line. Each stone collected from the very place that renews me, and cut with tenderness by both artists in leu of a named stone whose origin and true cost cannot be determined. Hours upon hours of finishing work, problem solving, and barely navigated creative disasters. I wish I could say it was all candy canes and sunshine, but it was more like love is... beautiful and really messy at the same time.
So here's to the act of creating. With all it's joys and heartaches, when truly felt, the old axiom applies: Better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.
In other words, it's better to create a failure with all of your being, than to create a success of something only half felt.
|Design and Concept: Tanner/ Tieken, Cabochons: Tanner/Tieken, Metalwork: Tanner|
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