Sunday, July 26, 2009

Feeling Philosophical

Some days are like that, especially now that I have a stretch of days at home and can slow down just a little bit. Not much mind you, I have lot's and lot's to do, but I'm doing it without the interruption of travel at the moment and it feels good.

Many years ago NanC Meinhardt wrote an article for one of the beading magazines (I don't remember which one or when, so sorry) but the essence of it was that anxiety is part of the artistic process. Not so profound sounding when I say it, there was much more to the article, but that is what I took away. I don't want to try to recollect the way it was said because I'd be wrong, I only remember that it struck a chord with me, stayed with me, provided comfort in the normalcy of it.

I can't say it makes it feel any better when it's happening, it just makes it a bit easier to walk through it knowing that it's ok. I find I'll often get anxious when a project in the design phase could take several turns and I'm not sure which one to take. I think it comes down to time, both not wanting to waste the beading already done and not wanting to progress in the 'wrong' direction.

At these times I remember my husband woodworking a box as a family Christmas gift. He made one entire box as a prototype and then proceeded to learn from his mistakes and go on to make several additional boxes. He didn't consider the prototype wasted time and I try to take that lesson.

I also get anxious when I see a colleagues work and I feel that feeling that Rachel has coined so well as project envy (Speaking of whom, have you seen You and Eye? Awesomely beautiful). It happens, you're in awe of what someone else did with the beads and begin to question your own work and then I step back and realize that is what they are meant to be doing and I am doing what I am meant to be doing. Don't get me wrong, I celebrate what my colleagues are doing, there is so much incredible beadwork being done, so much pushing the limits and exploration and creativity. And I celebrate being a part of that world.

I'm working on this sweet little pendant.

I love the laciness of the chain with the occasional 2 mm crystal ab giving it that glint in the sunlight that I love so much. Rather then an ordinary bezel I'm considering working this into a locket of some sort, which maybe is where this whole topic of anxiety and the crossroads of design came up. Oh and time, 'cuz I thought this might be a Bead and Button project. Did I mention the deadline is this Friday?

I love this shot, which was sheer luck, when taking the picture of the weekly flowers, the flash was on and the bright yellow flower became this orange star burst.

I think I'll have a cup of tea and try to work through the anxiousness and see what shows up. And if you have a process for working through the anxious times please share.


Carol Dean said...

Project envy is what I often experience when I visit here, Marcia :) I do not doubt that you will find the perfect treatment for your pendant.

Bead-Mused said...

I understand project envy. But it's also nice to be able to say "hey, I 'know' her and that is fabulous!"

Can't wait to see how you capture that pendant.

KristalWick said...

Oh, Girl!

The stories I could tell you about "Project Envy"... although I have redefined the term. I call it "Project Insecurity" because it's never about the other person or their project, it's about not feeling good enough inside which happens to me on a regular basis!!! LOL!

That's when I take a break, eat some chocolate and hug the dog...and jump into the next project!


CieloDesign said...

Ahh yess...Project envy...we all experience that now and then,- but having said that, it's also what inspires and pushes to explore new and exciting things we might otherwise not consider....So often I feel insecure about my work or inadequate, but seeing the fabulous things that my fellow beaders make, gives me the sense that everything and anything is possible! :)

kate mckinnon said...

We all have these feelings; I go through a series of emotions when I see a piece that someone has done that really knocks my socks off- first, a wave of joy at seeing this beautiful thing, then a brief, yet intense jealousy (it feels liquid, like it squirts out of a GLAND) that they made it and that I am too much of a loser to have made it myself, then a more normal reaction of "I've got to get a better look at this and congratulate the creator."

We just have to learn to laugh at ourselves, and be sure to give our appreciation and admiration to the people who create things that move us.

I agree with CieloDesign that the fabulousness of other people does in fact inspire me to reach higher myself.

abeadlady said...

I get project envy every time I see one of your new pieces. I also understand the anxiety you speak of. I never feel my work quite measures up and am surprised when someone compliments me.
Looking forward to Tahoe and the fun we will have there.

Robin said...

Great post, Marcia, and beautiful start to a locket necklace. You'll pass through the crossroads and arrive just where you need to be.

For "project envy" I don't really have any solutions. Seems like we ALL experience it from time to time. Maybe it's a good thing in some ways, pushing us toward excellence. The bad thing about it is when our own critical voice jumps in the picture and makes us get stuck.

But for anxiety? Well, I do have a magic solution for that... It came from Mary Oliver's poem "The Wild Geese." And this is it:

I do not have to be perfect. My beadwork does not have to be perfect. This project does not have to be perfect. My locket does not have to be perfect. My beaded memory box does not have to be perfect.....

It doesn't mean we have to be lazy and slackers, just that we can lift the pressure for perfection a little. You probably already know this.... Did I get on a bit of a rant???

Hugs, Robin

Marcia DeCoster said...

The thoughtfulness, kindness and wisdom of all these posts moves me immensely. I am so honored to be a part of this community. Thank you all and I'm loving my captured stone....

Joann Loos said...

I have in front of me a 3x5 card with the "5 stages of creativity" on it
1) Immersion
2) Frustration
3) Incubation
4) Illumination
5) Translation

It reminds me that frustration and its sisters anxiety and fear are part of the process.

I don't have many episodes of "project envy" because I figure I do what I do, and they do what they do. But I was a programmer for 20 years so I'm used to coming up with new designs in code regularly.


The bad Liz said...

I can't believe that you wrote this. As I start writing instructions for two projects (and my first teaching gig in years), things just weren't going the way that I wanted. I woke up Saturday about 3:30 a.m. to let the dogs out and wrote down four words - with a pen that was dying (note to self - find pencils). I wrote: "mistakes, failed attempts" and....I can't read the last word. But I feel better about it now. Thanks for helping.

Cynthia of Cynful Creations said...

Sometimes I find I get so bogged down in the insecurity that I end up doing nothing and then feel worse due to the addition of guilt about avoiding what I feel I "should" be doing. Eventually, I listen to that gentle voice in my head that is telling me, "just do something, just take action and get started" and sure enough, when I do, it all flows into place and things move forward. Of course, it seems I am destined to have to keep learning this lesson over and over again, but I like to think the insecure, avoiding times are getting shorter each time!

contact said...

When I'm beading or something else like writing my philosophy thesis, there is this block I have to overcome. It results in my second stage of creativity: frustration.

Especially frustrating as in my daily work as a branding and marketing consultant solving problems is as easy as 1 2 3.

So my challenge is to develop another type of creativity. And looking at what other people create helps me learn. So I am not envious: I watch and learn.

flyingbeader said...

Hummm...great thought. I get mainly anxious when I'm almost done with a project. I just hate for it to end. Most of my pieces takes days to weeks to complete so I'm so happy starting, but about when I get 3/4 done, I get this awful ache in my stomach telling it is almost over...I almost panic, but then I constantly reassure myself that there will always be something else to work on. I never have to work about a vacuum. Oh yes, I do feel the "envy" also. I'll look at other's blogs/works and feel so inadequate because I never thought of that or those colors are beyond what I could even imagine, but then I settle down & stop letting the "green" come out & absorb what I'm really looking at. I then think what can I actually learn from just this one piece, just this one moment. What can I take away & make it mine. Then the jealousy is gone, and the learning begins.


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