Wednesday 16 February 2011

BeadTableWednesday and Philosophising about creativity and skill

I am going through a really bad patch lately, when it comes to designing and making jewelry. It started a week or so ago. I had laid out this design for a necklace, that I am very happy with. But when I am going to assemble it I get stuck on tiny details. Either I don't have a clear idea of HOW that particular part shall connect with the next. Or I just don't manage to make it look good. So I take apart and try again, and take apart and try again. When I've been doing that for two or three days I put it all away coz I only get stressed when handling the parts, and my hands get all sweaty and such things, so I don't work well anyway. What a shame it is, coz I believe it will look great if I only get it to look the way I want it too. I have kind of promised people to show it ready also, as a reply to the positive comments I got on flickr and on my blog post. I feel I let you down. So sorry about that!

OK, so I started on something else instead. This Month's ABS challenge. Oh, I have some beads and parts that are so perfect for this. I was gonna make a bracelet. A really nice one. But it just wouldn't work out for me that one either. I tried for three days. Same story as with the necklace above. Aaaarrrrgggghhhh! Now it is just a pile of beads and components. And I DON'T want to give up. I keep coming back looking at the parts, fiddling with them, trying different possibilities. But na, I am not convinced yet. So back to the good old soup state again. And that's where we are standing now.

On the good side though - I did make these earrings and posted them to the flickr group. They turned out nice I think. So hurray for them! They are for sale in my Etsy shop. They sit very nicely on, I wore them all Sunday, and hardly noticed them during the whole day.

Then there is also the Bead Soup Blog Party. I don't know what to make with the parts I got from Anita. They are all lovely and beautiful, don't misunderstand me. And I can see them in many different kinds of jewelry looking really good. Made by other people. But you see, I want to make my own kind, my own style. So last night I was laying out at least ten different concepts for designs of different pieces. I wasn't pleased with any of them. They would work, shurely, and I would get away with showing them. But I wish for something extra. Not just "good" or "nice". But "WOW" and "awesome". You know what I mean!?!

I do know from my previous artistic careers that this patch I am going through is a clear sign of that I am just about to take a leap in my performance level. An art teacher explained it to me once like this:

Picture some stairs. See yourself, your skill and ability moving up those stairs. When you have reached a new step on those stairs you feel great and excited and in flow. But then slowly you are moving forward on that step in order to get closer to the next one to climb. The closer you get, the more and more you get a glimpse of what is awaiting you. You can see what you COULD achieve, but you are not yet there. At a certain stage in that process of moving forward you are not any longer satisfied by what you already know, but ONLY see what's there on the next step. This is when the big frustration strikes. "So really", my teacher said, "you thinking that you suck at what you do, is a sign of you having developed, and that you know where you want to go." "You are just about to move up onto that next step."

I have carried this picture with me for many years, coz it works for me. And right now I am standing right there by the wall of the next step again. Oh, it is so tough and difficult to actually push myself over. I am STUCK basically. So what I have often done in the past when I am standing here, is to decide to do the opposite of what I believe is good. The opposite of the familiar and known. Coz really, when you think about it, it is what you already know and can that you are NOT satisfied with. You want something more, something new, something fresh and exciting. How to access that, unless you try something completely unfamiliar. You have to not care about the end result when you have your first go. But you have to complete the idea, the attempt to the end.

Alright then! I guess that is what I will be doing for the following days, or weeks. And this time I shall push myself to show the results swell, not judging myself before. All the way!

Now just please give me a BIG KICK IN THE ASS for my coming journey!
Thank you!


Heidi Post said...

GAH! Malin! That was the best blog ever!!! I srsly ♥ your former teacher's staircase analogy. As many times as I have felt that way, I never had any clue that THAT is what was happening. In retrospect now, I totally see it! Truly, we do get disappointed doing the same old same old. While plenty of people may think it's just the bees knees, it's soooo not creatively satisfying to the artist.

You're so talented, I have no doubt that your next step will be brilliant and wonderful and we'll all be super happy for you/green with envy ;) And I am certain that no one will fault you for taking so long when you reveal the end result! Not to mention - how wonderful is it that you have people on the edge of their seats waiting to see what you've done!?!?!

steufel said...

*Kick* :-)

Nadia said...

I just found your blog, and I looked back through it. All of your jewelry is amazing!!!!

TesoriTrovati said...

Consider this a boot to the behind, Malin! We all experience these growing pains. When you can see the possibilities but you are frustrated to put it into action may be just the kick you need to learn that something new. I love the analogy. And I think that all those raw materials will morph together into something that you can be proud of. Creative Constipation. When nothing can come out of you and yet you have so much input going in! I am there with you a bit, but my enemy is time. And sometimes when I let go of what I think needs to happen the most miraculous thing occurs in that something better comes out of it. Keep on pushing your limits, Malin!
Enjoy the day!

Malin de Koning said...

Oh ladies, you are so wonderful for your comments. I love reading them, and feel I just got a great kick from you all.

Thank you so much!

It's funny, that although it is frustrating, it is kind of fun to be here anyway. I guess coz I feel confident I will come further once out of the "stuck".

Roxanne Mendoza said...

Hi there!

Just read your post...don't give up! You'll come back to the necklace and everything will come together. You're right to not rush the process. :)

Take care,

Pretty Things said...

OK. First. Grab chocolate. Eat the chocolate.

All right then. Now listen.

First, know that everyone, including Michelangelo himself, have had off days. Best thing to do? Don't force it. Put things aside, and do something non-bead related. Come back in a couple of days fresh, and take another look.

The Bead Soup -- REMEMBER -- you only HAVE to use the toggle and the focal. THAT'S IT. You don't have to use ANY of the other beads! Don't think of it as trying to use ALL the beads in one piece. Work with that in mind, and it might free you to consider the other beads in a second piece.

On an aside -- are those ceramic beads in the Art Bead Scene photo? Email me if they are and tell me where you got them! :-)

Hugs and more chocolate, Lori

Unknown said...

Choose one or 2 items and use them for your Bead Soup Party as Lori said! I used most of mine last yr but not all and I did the same this year.
I lourveeee the earrings! You always have an original curve to your jewellery Malin ox

Anonymous said...

Ah Malin, what a wise art teacher you had. Don't second guess yourself. Only you can create your style. Yes, some things need stewing time. Put it aside and then go back with fresh eyes. Nice post!

Malin de Koning said...

Thank you everyone for your encouraging comments.

Pepita said...

Hi Malin,

I know where you are coming from. I am one of those women who stares at beads instead of doing something with them. Always afraid not to be perfect.

I love the stairs analogy. It's my life. Whether it is beads or my professional life. I am a learner. After your analogy I realized that things aren't interesting anymore once I have mastered them. I move on and become a newby on a new territory with the frustrations that go come with it. It is a lethal combination with the striving for perfection thing. :-)

So what can I say. Just do your thing. Don't worry about anyone else.

Rebecca said...

I am doing the same as you right now - my beads spread in front of me right now, still in bead form rather than jewellery form! Lots of good advice here from people, I think going away from a project for a while and then coming back to it always helps. And Lori's totally right - just pick a couple of elements and see where you go with them for the bead soup! You are so talented Malin - I'm excited to see where this new step will take you!