Who am I?….and Who Brought Me Here? A favorite saying of my fathers when he does something like walk upstairs then promptly forgets what he had come up for. Admit it. You've done it too. In the Art World, we as artists often struggle to find our voice and the question of 'Who Am I' can become a daunting task. Inspiration comes from our peers in our medium of choice, yet we don’t dare emulate someones work for fear of being referred to as a copy cat, which leads to copyright, which leads to somebody getting pissed off. I guess the trick is to study and master the needed techniques to produce original works that you can truly call your own. And now we have just opened up an entirely different can of worms. ORIGINAL you say?? HA! The 'everything has been done already' crowd will have a field day with that one.
Inspiration becomes Desperation
So. We want our work to be Special. We want our work to Say Our Name. HOW??!!?? It's something we need to work at. It's hard work. The way I solved this dilemma was to spend ridicules amounts of time alone in the studio messing things up. I'm not saying this was easy. Many days would end with piles of broken crap on the floor, nothing in the annealer (which had been running all day at 960 degrees mind you) and leaving me to wonder if I needed my head examined. Proof again that most things are a result of time and money. And OMG the money! Running a glass blowing studio is expensive no matter how you slice it. Lucky for me my overhead is less than most, but it ain’t cheap or free either. Not to mention, the work that goes into keeping the studio hot is the same if your making beautiful work or piles of floor crap, and this factor pretty much just adds insult to injury.
Desperation becomes Perspiration
Yup. At this point we're sweating it out big time. Overhead is racking up, finished work is not where we want it, and we question if all the time was wasted because its not happening. Personally, I was beginning to think I must have been tripping to think I could actually do this. Questioning my ability. Questioning reality.
Perspiration becomes Elation
Then suddenly it happened. One little discovery. It was as if someone had flipped my switch. We're not talking ground shattering, but enough to create a little spark. And Hope. My brain was going a mile a minute. “If it works THIS way, what would happen if I tried it THAT way..??” So I did. Then the other way. And another way. This little discovery period in no way produced vast amounts of salable wares, but put me on a path that needed following. In many ways, I WAS making original work!! YAY!!
Elation becomes Cooperation
OK, so I'm not the first person to solid sculpt some flowers and attach them to blown work and I'm not suggesting I have re-invented the wheel, but guess what? Nobody showed me how to do it. The techniques are ones I've developed on my own. Even the color process and method of attachment are things I've not only worked out, but worked out how to do solo, which was no easy feat. Now I know what graduating from the School of Hard Knocks is all about. The good news was the glass was starting to do what I was telling it to do. My hands were making the vision in my head. In many ways it would have been much easier to just have taken some lessons on the techniques needed to produce. My fear of going this route, was I would have been influenced by the instructors work, and my work would look like theirs - which would have been understandable - but would have also defeated the purpose. Not to say education is wrong, but for me it was a timing thing, because NOW, I think some classes would help. Spending vast amounts of time alone in the studio, I have perfected some VERY nontraditional habits that stick out like a sore thumb when I work with a team.
Oh well :) .
Cooperation becomes Inspiration
You guessed it. It's the full circle thing. Once I had a grip (pun totally intended) on the glass, I started moving forward with my work. You see, when things start to work out, new challenges are created and we start reaching a little higher. On some level we stay in the discovery period because that’s how the artistic brain is wired. We are a curious bunch, always thinking outside the box. So when your stuck in a rut, don’t let it get you down. Just run a little faster, work a little harder, and make it happen.
Now get in the studio and Be Your Own Inspiration