Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Is it always your fault?


By Julie Holmes

overly used / New
Artists can be the most self critical people.  We have such high expectations, lofty aspirations and a keen eye for the off kilter.  Turned inward, that eye can be brutal.  Are we sometimes much too quick to judge ourselves?  I think so.  I’m 53, so when the grains of enamel started showing up on the wrong side of the wire, it’s my eyes.  Poor eyesight.  Got to be.  Or…maybe, it’s the hands.  That’s it.  The tremors of old age are setting in.  It always works to blame the parents.  You know, the ones that grew up in the depression and taught me not to waste, not to spend, not to buy a new $2.00 paintbrush in order not to ruin a $200.00 cloisonné.  That might work, except they don’t know anything about making cloisonné.  All I know is  I broke out a new brush and the grains of enamel started behaving better.

done in class / done in studio
(Click to enlarge)
Then there were the black dots.  They started invading and I blamed myself.  I had learned to use a dedicated brush for black enamel.  I had become lax in my practices.  It had to be grains of black enamel stuck in my brush and making it their dastardly mission to destroy my perfectionistic perfectionism.  Why had I suddenly entered what will become known as my “black dot period” after my death?  Well, it turns out the black dots only show up on pieces I made during a “glass on copper” class using the community kilns.  I assume it may have been airborne bits of their scalex, or maybe just airborne firescale ...or the black dot fiend that hid under the table and threw black dots at my work when I wasn’t looking.  All I know is I figured out it never happened to pieces I made in my own studio.


And sometimes in our efforts not to be perfectionists…we aren’t imperfect enough.  This was to be an asymmetrical piece.  The shape drawn free-hand to be as carefree as the subject matter, only it wasn’t off kilter enough.  My son said it looked like I had tried to make it symmetrical and failed miserably.  So instead of looking cool and artsy…it just looked sloppy.  All I know is we are all human, and humans aren’t symmetrical either...and I like this piece anyway.

My point is, don’t assume YOU are the reason something didn’t turn out.  Check the expiration date, see if the temperature setting has changed, check the weather, your astrological chart and the moon phase. And sometimes, when the results turn out wrong, but unsuspectingly, happily magical, just be grateful that you were born with the desire to be creative and are here today to witness and take the blame for your own perfect genius. 

14 comments:

Barbara said...

Excellent post Julie....I just broke down yesterday and purchased some new supplies although I was determined not to purchase anything new unless I positively needed it....

but sometimes getting by on what we think we can is also holding us back. :) I'm hoping these new supplies are going to take my polymer pieces in a different and unique way and this will make room for new growth.

Izzy said...

Wonderful advice! I'm always blaming myself for one thing or another and working with metal is sometimes just a game of chance. Copper can have a mind of it's own and that's not my fault. =) Perhaps I'll make a sign for my desk saying "it's not my fault".

Roberta said...

Oh Ha Julie! All the reasons why I couldn't handle enamels. Those little black dots.......and yes copper is the culprit.

My teacher hated it when students used copper instead of fine silver. All due to the firescale getting everywhere.

Great post!

Artisan Beads Plus said...

What a thought provoking AND funny post! I think the fact that you work on being perfectly perfect (I know you have now let that go ;o), is one reason that I love your work. I have worked so hard at not obsessing about everything coming out just right that I think I get that little fix when I see the work of people who have, in my eyes, accomplished perfection. I love the asymmetrical symmetrical piece! It's one of my favorites!! And, the next time something does not come out right, I will be sure to look at all of my tools first!
MaryAnn

Erika said...

I don't think the bottom piece looks sloppy at all! I like the way the whole piece looks - assymetrical, yet balanced. That's the thing about art - its beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Libby Leuchtman said...

Great post. Some days I need to step away from the torch and admit that today is not a good day to make beads.
Better to take a deep breath come back refreshed.

Julie Holmes said...

oh yes...there is that too Libby. There are days when the wire knows exactly what to do and all I have to do is show up....then there are days when I can't form a curve in it to save my soul. And you're right too Erika, everybody's boat floats differently. Roberta...I still say polymer is harder..all that squishy stuff! Thanks everyone for reading my post!

Sandra said...

great post, thanks!

Sharyl said...

Thanks for the "reminder." Applies not only to art, but to all of life!

Kelli said...

HA! Love this post! I think I tend to really embrace those "happy mistakes". Most make it to the sale table... some end up in a drawer. But even those in the drawer have taught me a lesson. :)

Cathie Carroll said...

Great essay.
Thank you, I'll try remember not to automatically point the finger inward.

And, I don't think that piece is sloppy at all!

PyxeeStyx said...

Brilliant advice!

mairedodd said...

it is definitely a mixed bag... i agree that you have to be able to step back to assess what has happened... unless something structurally unwanted happens, i am often happy with those unplanned occurrences... wabi sabi at its best! thanks for the great post...

Linda said...

Lovely. Wise. Funny. Thank you for a wonderful post.

face
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...