Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Persistance as a part of the creative process

At 50 when I started the process to become a jewelry designer there was no evidence that it would work out. When I think of the first piece I made which broke the second day I wore it, there was no innate skill. I had never used a torch, hammered metal, cut metal, studied gemstones, worked in a jewelry store, I could go on and on what wasn't there.

What was there was a sense of what worked in design, color texture which I had learned from many years of art way back in history. I had worked with my hands making clothes, knitting, crocheting, doing needle work, macrame, calligraphy and many other things. I had learned a certain level of impeccability in design which needed to be kicked up an enormous notch to work in jewelry.

There was a persistance and a work ethic that had made me successful in other parts of my life and had pulled me out of bankruptcy, failed marriages, poor health and other parts of life that aren't so pretty. I had been a wonderful success and a dismal failure more than once in my life and had survived both.

And there was a desire to create beauty - to do what it took to do so. And there were some and are still some not so beautiful  pieces in sketchbooks and on my computer and even sitting in drawers. I need to fail to win. Being safe doesn't do it.

The following quote probably says it better than I can -

"Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me: All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it's just not that good. It's trying to be good, it has potential, but it's not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn't have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it's normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I've ever met. It's gonna take awhile. It's normal to take awhile. You've just gotta fight your way through."
Ira Glass