the winter of your creativity

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When Bryan changed jobs back in june, one of his blissful perks was a flex-time schedule that means he works nine hour days and gets every other friday off.

this is so awesome.

except that for a long time now I had designated fridays as a kind of artist-date day off. That morphed into the day I would typically paint, or do some other creative activity that would fill the muse's well allowing me to continue to do all the other artsy things that need feeding by perpetual inspiration.

So now I am using a more random diversion approach. For now my artist date has taken the form of this tuesday morning ceramics class, that thankfully, isn't really a class at all. It is really just open studio where there is a "teacher" on hand in case you want to learn a particular thing.

How perfect is that.

So after a few weeks, the teacher Mary, has kind of left me alone but interjected appropriate info when she sees I am struggling or when I have questions. The tone set by the other ceramicists is friendly and welcoming, and folk sort of come and go as they please. It is the perfect place to play with mud and get a small dose of a little community.

I am exercising a couple of muscles with this experience.

One, is to get out of the house. This was almost impossible when Bryan was working in Baltimore. Now that he is at UM it is doable for me to take the car for a day and do things. It would be easy for me to end up like the agoraphobic character in Nim's Island played by Jodie Foster. Having some incentive to leave the house/studio is a good thing.

The other is to stretch the "multi" part of being a multi-disciplined artist. This means branching out and adding a few new creases to my brain matter. And so far it is working, big-time. The result has been a surge in inspiration towards other things, a flood of ideas, and an almost manic need to create.

it's artistic purgatory.

That sounds bad, but it isn't really. Anyone who lives the artist life knows that we can function in fits and starts, between blitzes and burnouts. The key is to identify the difference in the two and do two things...

celebrate the blitzes and ride that wave until it crashes...

and don't beat yourself up when you can't produce during the burnout. It is simply the winter of your creativity.

After all these years I still struggle with recognizing the winter of my creativity, and assume that I can produce full-tilt right through it, and then wonder what is wrong with me when I can't.

but today is not that day.

I am in the other zone right now, and the reason that I call it purgatory is because it takes another kind of wisdom to ride that wave without over doing it. There is the temptation to spin out of control and for me, that can trigger a longer "winter". It is like eating ice cream. You may have a whole gallon sitting in front of you but if you eat the whole thing you may never want to eat ice cream again.

The pursuit of balance is a good thing, at least for this artist.

So, after three hours of working on the hand built portion of the Kabuki pot (pic below), and a pot that I carved into a bell, and a few other small items, I realized I was exhausted and needed to go home. It was only twelve thirty and some of the other potters were just getting going. Part of me wanted to start on another piece, but for me, it was time to stop.

at least for today.

Tomorrow is another day.

How are you at recognizing your creative seasons? Are you forgiving of yourself when you are in a "winter of creativity"? Do you know how to maximize your "spring"?

Kabuki Pot front


Kabuki Pot back


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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Blair published on November 25, 2008 1:31 PM.

just an example was the previous entry in this blog.

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