My pre-Christmas time was a frenzy. I wasn’t shopping.
I was creating.
Fortunately, I had started back in October and my ideas were steadily gaining momentum. They were ambitious ideas. Exciting ideas. Playful ideas.
My mission: to create small assemblages for each of my three nieces using found objects which represented what matters to them at this point in their lives.
By the time December arrived, I was rising early every day and spending time in the studio before my regular responsibilities there. I was totally focused on finishing my gifts and totally energized by the process. I didn’t write much. My Stella Sunday Afternoons (and mornings and evenings) were spent in the bliss of another form of artistry.
I have never given myself over so completely to art. Even though I consistently reserve my Fridays and first Saturdays for creative endeavors, the days in between are filled with work and maintainance…work and maintainance… and the work and maintainance seem to reign. This frenzy was different. Instead of fitting in art, I was fitting in work. I woke with creativity in mind and was disciplined in a nurturing way. I didn’t fret or panic about deadlines. I thrived.
When the presents were finally unwrapped and appreciated, I paused to reflect on my experience. Could I apply that same discipline and focus going forward… could I build on that momentum, that deliciousness?
A few years ago, I attended meetings of the local woodworkers. They are all accomplished carpenters and I was a little intimidated, but I wanted to hear their stories, see their projects, be inspired. Each meeting was at a different shop and I saw some amazing work and tools. But the meeting I remember most was in a large blacksmithing building with an artist who talked about the void after a big project. He stressed the need to plan for that phase of creativity. That phase…
Because it’s true.
Creativity is a wave… a wonderful bell curve that builds and builds until the peak where the idea becomes fully born, then tapers off with the finishing details and completion. And then it keeps riding that downward slope until it finds a resting place.
When my Christmas projects were over, there was silence. The image bank was closed for remodelling. The word pond was dry. I remembered the blacksmith’s story and recognized the creative void…decided to accept it…embrace it.
I resumed my daily walks. I read some novels and essays. I remembered the pleasure of making art and allowed the void to have its time. On and on it went. No writing, no bookbinding, no box making. The dry spell was in direct proportion to the thrill I had felt while making the assemblages. Days stretched into weeks…weeks added up to a month and then, last Saturday, I got a wild idea to move things around in my tiny sanctuary home. Suddenly I felt a surge like the first song of birds in the spring.
Once I started moving things, things started moving. The bell curve turned a corner. The void released its hold and gave in to new beginnings. I sat down with my notebook and started writing.
I’m glad to be back.