Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Resetting My Compass

What happens to you once you complete a very intense, creative project? For me, there's a period when that creative place inside feels almost too eerily quiet. Almost want to call "Code Blue, Code Blue" and get the cardiac arrest team here. After a period of such focused work, NOT being engaged to that degree feels almost like flatlining.

SOME people relax willingly. Me, I do it because my entire self goes on strike until I listen to it. So I spent the entire weekend -- amazingly -- away from both my sewing and surface design studios. Read the entire Sunday New York Times AND most of Art in America. Enjoyed a family picnic and played with my grandchildren.

When I walked back into my studio yesterday, I still wasn't ready to enter into that intensity of composing a new surface. Since "show up and do something, anything" is my motto, I played!

There are always painted samples lying about, so I grabbed a few small ones and treated them like sketchbook pages. I painted and silkscreened some details over whatever was already on the surfaces. When that dried, I added some foiling and then fused a sheer synthetic fabric to both pieces, leaving folds and ripples. A heat gun disintegrated the black sheer synthetic in interesting patterns.

To play without direction helps rekindle my passion for creating without worrying about success or failure. These are small, lively and fun. The top one will travel to the other side of the country as a "trade" with a fellow artist and the other one will go into my sketchbook for reference.

After I played, I could deal with cleaning up from the past few weeks. I washed all the containers and brushes and silkscreens and assorted squeeze bottles that had piled up. I'm turning to a fresh page, will mix new dyes for the next project and not try to recycle any of these.

But I have to confess I don't feel ready yet to really immerse in painting and printing another large surface. My inner compass is still resetting, searching once again for true north. It seems that I need to turn around and around, like a silly old dog, before I finally plop myself down in one spot. So while I'm heading back up to my studio today, I can't say for sure what I'll do once I get there.

Even just puttering in my studio makes me happy, though. And that's what living a creative life is truly all about, don't you think?


  1. Your two "play" pieces are great. I wish I had a bit more time for playing, but a bit too busy with "real life" right now. Hopefully, I'll get more free time soon. I love to putter around in my creative space.

  2. Yes indeed, Ruth, "real life" has a way of competing with our creative time, gosh darn it!! I hope you can grab a few minutes for some puttering soon, even a small dose helps keep us creatives from getting a serious and debilitating Vitamin-ART deficiency!