THE JOURNEY TO "IT"
As an artisan who has worked with quite a few different mediums I've experienced the low tides of uninspired frustration as well as the high tides of abundant ideas. A couple of years ago, while experiencing a low tide, I put away my paint and brushes and picked up a torch, a hammer and some sheet metal just for a change of pace. I unexpectantly fell in love with metalsmithing in 2015.
At that time I began tinkering with learning the ins and outs of soldering, cutting metals and torch enameling. It was all so very exciting and I enjoyed my days learning by experimenting. (mostly through wild abandon mad scientist style!) I learned lots from my mistakes and was thrilled when I actually had something not melt into a puddle before my eyes. As time (and practice) went on, my confidence and ability grew. I truly felt I had arrived at my "IT" I had been searching for!
THE DAY THE FLAME WENT OUT
One day while sitting behind a flaming torch, I was torch enameling a piece of copper. My copper piece fell off of the stick I was holding it in the flame with and without thinking, I reached through the flame to regrab the piece that had fallen and torched my right hand and fingers. My first words were, "You did it!", as if some accusitory imp was just waiting for me to hurt myself and used my lips to blurt its accusations. The burns were pretty serious and I had to keep my hand in ice water for the most part of a day before the seering sensation lifted enough for me to dress my wounds. I recall feeling so stupid as I had prided myself in studio safety, yet here I was suffering a very serious burn. It took at least 6 weeks to heal enough to not have to wear burn bandages. I still have nerve damage in 2 of my fingers today. Needless to say, as much as I loved metalsmithing, I didn't have much desire to carry on with it at that point. Amazing how fear can keep you from moving forward.
MY SEARCH BEGINS AGAIN
For the next year and a half I bounced from one thing to the next, searching for "IT" again... I needed a way to let all the creativity building up in me to escape. It was like a dammed up river bulging behind the dam pushing and demanding a way out. Trickles of creativity would escape through as I tried all kinds of different genre's of art... but nothing was releasing the immense pressure that had been building up over the months following the accident.
ASKING, RECEIVING AND THE PINK RABBIT
Earlier this year, 2017, I was trying yet another avenue of creativity. It is an art form called Spun Cotton. I adore old antique toys and ornaments and Spun Cotton is an old technique that has resurfaced over the years. I gathered the few supplies needed and began working on my first pieces. I had found a tutorial on how to make a rabbit, so I created the rabbit and several other shapes. The next day I painted the rabbit Pepto Bismal Pink... at the last stroke of the paint brush I stuck the rabbit aside to dry, sat back and knew... once again THIS was just NOT the "IT" I was searching for. THIS was not the blast I needed to blow the dam to smitherines! I remember feeling so irritated and angry as I pushed away from my workbench thinking... "God help me!!!"
I stomped out of my studio in sheer frustration and straight into my kitchen grabbing the first thing I saw to eat, leaving the now irritating world of art behind as I buried my sorrows in carbs and stupid tv! (I really don't reccommend that part to anyone! Major pity party!) Around 10 I dragged my defeated self up to bed, having filled my belly and mind with useless junk. As I began to lower myself down to my awaiting pillow, I saw flashes in my mind of 3-4 metal jewelry pieces. I knew immediately, I was being inspired by some outside force beyond my own understanding. I lay there thinking, "What was that? Where did that come from?" I hadn't even been thinking of anything arty much less jewelry since I walked away from my desk earlier that day. But as I focused on the images in my mind, I began to ponder... "How could I even begin to make that? I can't do that with metal sheet! Besides, I've put all my metalsmithing things away!" I fell asleep with all these questions and those designs swirling in my brain.
ONCE INSPIRED: LISTEN
The next morning I woke with the designs still floating in my mind, so I got up and jotted them down. It didn't take long for the answers to my "how" questions to be answered. As I sat at my desk pondering the experiences of the previous day... I looked at that pink rabbit drying on my worktable. Almost in disgust I swirled around in my chair and my eyes landed on another table across the room. It was the workbench where I used to do all of my soldering. There sitting in a jar was my answer. I walked over to the jar, picking it up to examine it. Inside was still the small... very small... package of silver metal clay that I had purchased in 2011!!! Four years before I started metalsmithing! On a whim I had purchased the package of metal clay after seeing a piece of jewelry made from it. Once I received it, I chickened out, as it required me to use a torch or kiln to fire it. So I stuck it in the jar and put it on the workbench, never to be thought of or considered again... until now!
Although I knew nothing about working with metal clay, I knew without a doubt that my plea for help was being answered. Not only was the inpiration dropped in my lap, but how to pull it off was being shown to me as well!
I never doubted for one second after that whether I could do it or not. It was IN me and I could feel that dam was about to break, releasing all that pent up creativity...all because of a silly pink rabbit! Once Inspired: Listen!!!
Many of my first designs (pictured above) are from that original vision and many more are being added to my sketchbook daily. I can't even imagine a day now without some sort of inspiration! Everywhere I look I am inspired! The dam has broke, the ideas are abundant and the tide is high!
I keep that silly pink rabbit on my workbench as a gentle (and gaudy) reminder of where I've been. And to remind me to ride this creative wave with gratitude and humility, as my inspiration and creative abilities came not from myself, but out of love from the One who created me. Ask and you shall receive!