This summer I spent most of my time in the studio throwing. My goal was to finish the making of a large dinnerware set before classes started. I was diligent about creating a certain number of pieces each week. And yet, I fell short of my goal. (a dozen or so dinner plates short) Now, everything has slowed to a sluggish crawl.
Once August rolled around, I started losing steam. At some point, the tables and kiln were filled with greenware and the bisque was piled three shelves deep. I needed a break. Needed to refocus. For a week or two I spent half as much time in the mud so I could work on a drawing.
As part of the process, I’ll take photos of a drawing at the end of each work session as a way to document progress and as a tool to see the image a little differently. The photos help me identify areas that need to be strengthened or reworked. Often I’ll post these images on twitter and Facebook; an opportunity for others to see what’s happening in the studio.
After I’d posted a few progress images, a friend sent me a message asking, “Beth! How do you discipline yourself as an artist?” (you talkin’ to me?) If my name hadn’t been included, I might have been inclined to believe that message was for someone else.
My response begins, “Hmmm. I’m not sure I’m the artist to ask. I know artists that are far more disciplined than me.” (really…I’ve already confessed that I still have a slew of dinner plates to make)
My reply continues, “I will say, a huge part of creating is obedience.” Now, I realize all the line-jumping-cliff-note-color-outside-the-lines-rebel-artists can feel the hair on the back of their necks stand at the notion of obedience. (or any related synonym) But, if we’re going to be real honest here, we are all submissive to something – a deadline, a production schedule, fame, fortune, bread and butter…. (yep)
I added, “For me, that translates as obedience to God…God moves me.” Our obedience to (pick something) creates the momentum to create. Motivation.
I concluded, “So, my motivation: if God intends to use my voice, I need to be good. Good enough to communicate clearly. Good enough to be taken seriously.”
My work is largely autobiographic. Autobiographic in that I can’t speak effectively into any event/issue/relationship except through the faith and hope that ground me. I am motivated to share that story.
Just doing something often or regularly isn’t discipline insomuch as doing that something with the same focus and purpose with which you live everyday. It’s the everyday that makes it regular. But, it’s the purpose that makes it discipline.
~Mark your calendar~
The 2nd Occasional Cup and Mug Sale
~a sale of handmade cups and mugs by more than 30 artists~
October 24 & 25, 2014
Friday ~ 6-9pm
Saturday ~ 9am – 4pm
1410 W. Guadalupe Rd, bldg.1 ste.103
Gilbert, AZ 85233
~enter to win a mixed set of cups/mugs with the donation of a new backpack for Rhodes Jr. High~