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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Few Thoughts on Process

Good Morning!
Have you had your coffee yet?  Is the world white around you?  I've been watching with terrible envy as the pacific northwest receives a dusting and friends report they've been sent home from work for a snow day.  Here, a mere twelve miles as the crow flies from the ocean (and they do), the dawn breaks through a world of frost and freeze.  Everything glitters as the sun rises, turning hard crystals into dew.  I'm holding my breath for the snow flurries the weatherman promised, wool cowls and down vests at the ready.
Last night I finished up this ring; an ongoing learning project I've had tinkering about on the studio bench for the last two weeks.  It's about creative DNA and cellular ownership and our very marrow and I truly look forward to telling you all about it soon.  This particular ring fits my finger like it arrived with me from the womb: a sure sign that I must keep it close (to borrow a friend's words: an artist always knows when a piece belongs to her).
But what I'm really thinking about is process.
I'm not the speediest artist on the earth.  Those shows, the "America's Next Artist" type, are the things my creative nightmares are made of.  Now today we're going to tell you what to be inspired by and give you 48 hours to create a masterpiece and make it your own, but really make it exactly what we want to see.  No thank you (although don't get me wrong - I'll chain-watch Project Runway any day of the week and twice on Sunday - mmnn... fashion gluttony)!  I hem and haw.  I look hard, trying to commit shapes, lines, tonal values to memory.  I read.  I talk out things of wonder.  And when I finally sit down to work, I find my fingers make repetitive moves, mundane tasks, patient, patient work.  In that there is always a sort of meditation, a freedom to either daydream or carry on huge existential debates about the subject weaving itself from fingertips.  I sing just a hair off-key.  I talk aloud - crazy woman style.  Sometimes I get lost, lose my path entirely, set aside a piece for weeks, even months hoping that same muse will waltz back in.  Sometimes I catch myself thinking about painting while I saw silver, other times I'm mentally bending wire while spreading sweeping watercolor washes.  And if I'm very lucky, when the final polish is applied, the signature signed, the sealant sprayed, I've learned a fraction more about myself than I knew before.

Today I'll be working on a trio of necklaces in clear, dashing colors and spending time thinking deeply about what my deer painting needs.  The studio is cold these days; I nearly sit on top of my little heater while working and there is always a hot cup of something at hand.
Speaking of that, I think I might pour a second cuppa.

~ Umber ~


Sunny Rising Leather said...

Oh, Kelly.....


That is just perfection on earth: I cannot wait to see what comes next :)


mme. bookling said...

Yours is my favorite process to observe. Perhaps to your disappointment, it never seems to be this crazed branding, speedy-Gonzales pace, but an ever-steady, patient, and always meditative process. You have to really work in spaces seemly devoid of muse. For some reason, that you work so hard makes me trust it more. Your art always has so much of you in it, maybe because I know you well, but maybe because your process is contemplative and costly. I miss this about living close - seeing the beginning mold and mesh and crash into its final end.

I am working from home in a new pair of glorious sweats from AA. It is supposed to dump 2-6 inches in the next 48 hours and I am very glad of this indeed.

nova by tess said...

The ring is gorgeous!

I am guilty of watching the next great artist/accessory designer but then suffering though nightmares where I've somehow ended up on the show and cannot complete a single challenge on time! I very much prefer playing around in my studio at my own snail-like pace.

MrsLittleJeans said...

Is that ring ever gorgeous and I am glad to hear that it came with you from your mom's silver womb : )


we have no threat of flurries here as I just peeped out and I am working like a crazy scientist...patiently only on the outside ...god please give me more hours...wishing you a delightful day and really do look forward to your trio xx

Sara said...

I am ever so slow with the paintbrush as well. It never seems that way... until I step back from the tiny area I've lost myself in and discover darkness has crept into the afternoon and I'm straining due to the lack of light. I curse my slowness but then also try to remember that those moments of losing myself are why I begin in the first place.
Love Love LOVING your metal workings these days. Maybe someday I'll get lucky and snatch one up!

Cat said...

I love you process

I think that is why your pieces are so breath is breathed into them and it shows
for me....too much of our world is fast paced
it is nice to think of someone taking the slow road....makes me feel not so alone..
I like what mme.bookling said
she coins it well
the ring is gorgeous
a wonderful gift from you

Love and Light

ps the snow is lovely here today
the sky is blue with puffy white clouds
the air is fresh and smells oh so goo
I love snow! : )

Cat said...

for visuals of my snow touched world go here:


UmberDove said...

Sunny - Why don't you come up and we'll watch the siskins together?

Mme. - I love you.

Tess - A-MEN sister!

MLJ - "your mom's silver womb" SNORT. You crack me up!

Sara - I think that must be one of the myriad of reasons our work is so congruent. I can feel the patience when I look at your pieces, the care, the willingness to WORK at what you are uncovering.

Cat - My friend, you are so far from being alone! And as ever, I love your words.

MJ said...

Reading your creative process is watching dreaming in action. Passion is what I see, beautiful, raw, deliberate passion and from a non artist like me, it's absolutely inspiring. I, too, cannot wait to see what you create. Your ring is stunning, truly.

calamityjane(t) said...

i respect the way you work.
it feels so right.

kerin rose said...

this post so parallels my own process....and this time I have wandered and meandered so far, I am not entirely sure I can find my way back to the beginning of the sort of frightens me, because I used to have unconditional trust in that.....I love that you are able to articulate your process so genuinely.....

makes me realize that I actually might not be so out there as I often imagine....

oh and that "Work of Art show" is a guilty instant download pleasure!....! I must admit, they freak me out how quickly they seem to come up w/ ideas ...I secretly hope its just clever edits!...sometimes watch because all those big abstract ideas seem more important than smushing metal and it makes me wonder if my own out put becomes insignificant....

ugh, rambling...! sending love though! lotsa! xxxx

prairiegirl said...

That ring looks good on you. I can't wait to see the deer painting~ take yer time, take yer time. :-)