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Open 4 Discussion: Choosing Your Path

I had a lot of trouble falling asleep last night despite having had a great (and early day), a plentiful serving of Madmen, and just enough time to doodle before turning out the light.  It has become very apparent that I have one goal for this upcoming year. While it's nice to have narrowed it to one certain goal, the goal itself happens to be so humongous when I consider it that my imagination goes running to hide in a dark little corner of my brain.  

You see... I feel like my imagination and my creative energy are spread among too many venues. I love so many mediums and have so many ideas and my hands are naturally inclined to so many skills. I see a beautiful lace pattern and I imagine an installation of mossy netting with magical phrases hidden in a mess of rosettes, lattice, and filet.  I'm introduced to a new artist who creates the most beautiful texture on her pots and all of a sudden I'm pinching a new series of cups out with my fingers and they look wonderful and nothing like anything I've every made before. An embroidered self-portrait assignment throws me into a Willy-Wonka-factory-dream of patterns, colors, and textures. A collection of antique bottles inspires a series of art nouveau inspired perfume bottles, a fantastic workshop results in a set of whimsical and expressive masks, a new technique leads to a series of pillow saucers, and a glance back to the sculptural work I produced last semester rekindles a forgotten love. 

I feel like I'm constantly spinning the wheel of fortune and landing on a different prize every time. Which would be fantastic if I were interested in just collecting ideas... but I'm not. I look at the bodies of work from artists I admire and the cohesiveness tugs on the coattails of my thoughts. How are you going to get anywhere or become great at anything if you can't focus yourself, I hear. And then another voice, who cares, create whatever you want to. At the moment, however, the former is louder and more nagging. 

So my goal this year? Create a cohesive body of work.

I know it sounds kinda big and unrealistic and naive... but I've gotta. I'm getting closer and closer to 30 every year (don't laugh), and I want to have something so show for myself come my fourth decade. Heck, I want to have something to show for my senior project next year! So I've got one idea for how I'm going to attempt this--  Making a list. I know, I know... not a huge flash of genius but it's all I've got at the moment. I'm going to make a list of how many pieces I want done by the end of the summer as well as which forms. 

Ugh, even that seems silly when written down. 

Please help... I'm so unbelievably frustrated.


JosieJurczenia said...

I hear you Jessie. I am 62 (almost) and I struggle with this problem every day. I am hoping that all my crazy creative tangents will become cohesive if I just keep going...continue making, continue spinning. I keep hoping that the path will create itself and I will see the way.
I like the idea of the lists. How is that going?
If you find an answer to centering your creative impulses PLEASE let me in on the secret.
I LOVE your blog. I have spent the morning exploring it and it's wonderful. Thanks.

claydancer said...

I think it is the crazy, creative, wonderful madness of our lives that we love so much but often we all are pulled in different directions. It has been all I can do to focus on my show. I keep thinking of exciting projects to explore and I have to tell myself, not now, stay focused. And I mean, I'm doing that like every minute. Lists are a good way to get organized and I like giving myself schedules and deadlines. It frees me up to work rather than worry. If I start to wonder off I come back and check my lists and that keeps me focused on the task at hand as well as the larger picture.

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