Thursday, April 9, 2009

Creating is About Synthesizing Many Different Elements

‘Ideas, I find, come most readily when you are doing something that keeps the mind alert without putting too much strain on it.’
Lenox Riley Lohr

Creating is about synthesizing many different elements to produce something that is unique. Sometimes the act of creating seems like it isn't happening. The process begins in the sub-conscious and eventually finds its way out.

‘I waited for the idea
to consolidate, for the grouping and composition of themes to settle themselves in my brain.’
Claude Monet

It took me awhile for the piece featured in this post to materialize. I probably have a dozen different designs to showcase the beautiful fire opal. Straight lines, basic settings, mod showcasing...none of them made the opal "sing".

This was a commissioned piece. A friend handed me this opal and basically told me to do anything I wanted. That whatever I came up with it would be "hot". No pressure!

It took several months of staring and ignoring...then drawing and asking others for their opinion. Then more attempts and some mistakes. Meanwhile time passed by and still no product. Once in awhile the friend would ask me if I had come up with anything. No.

‘One must still have chaos in oneself in order to give birth to the dancing star.’
Friedrich Nietzsche

While in the process of incubating an idea for this opal, I became fascinated with spirals and circles. I suppose it is because I'm going through a lot of internal change, and yes, chaos. I feel like my thoughts go round and round, they begin and spiral out into who knows where. I have quite a few pieces sitting around with spirals. Spiral flowers, spiral abstracts, spirals... on and on.

Enough to give me a good case of internal motion sickness. I was feeling frustrated that on one hand I had this friend's opal to set...and on the other, I had all these squiggly spirals all over the place.

And one night, as I was falling asleep, the spirals came to rest. And I saw them differently.

Things don’t change. You change your way of looking, that’s all.’
Carlos Castaneda

Although the spirals were still there, an order appeared. They all rested.

The next evening, after work, there was not hesitation. "Jamie's Fire" was put together in just a couple nights.

Not the end of story.

The silver backplate had slightly "reticulated" (more on this in other posts). The irregularity bothered me. Everything was set...there was not much else I could do. I spent an entire day at work problem solving. I would be seeing my friend later that evening at a party. I wanted to give her the piece THAT night.

‘Talk of inspiration is sheer nonsense; there is no such thing. It is mere a matter of craftsmanship.’
William Morris

I realized that I needed to change the backplate to a uniform texture. How to do that with a piece that could not tolerate any heat, and where there was no room to file. And then it came to me. I took the smallest, sharpest drill bit that I could find, and I began to scratch. I scratched the entire backplate creating a surface that is web-like, shimmery and completely different than most silver pieces.

Instant inspiration isn't always available. And sometimes it is. Eventually.
I was my own inner chaos, that fed the creation.

(Lisa Kewish)

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