All that is scary

Many, many things

A post about a slightly odd creative fear but first…

Jumping out of a plane, roller coasters, bungee jumping, fast cars, fast anything. I am what some might called a scaredy-cat.  I will do anything to live a life less filled with adrenaline. Fueled by the natural world I am more in tune with swimming in the sea or climbing rocks than I am with anything that reaches mph. So, these are the first fears.Tree ring on sandpaper with reflection

…And secondly there are the big ones.  The ones cradled in our commonality that cause us wake us in the night.  I don’t need to name them, they come to mind easily and you and I, we, know them all by heart.

One group of fears is personal made of a smattering of nature and a little nurture (there are a number of us anxious ones in immediate family who are actually excel in a crisis, perhaps because we are so very good at catastrophising, we are thoroughly prepped above and beyond so when the precipice is reached we are fairly calm, even a little black humoured, which I embrace wholeheartedly, it is when everything seems at its most ‘normal’ we worry).  The latter group scary because it is not wholly in our individual remit to control. 

The odd fearInto the woods ring in progress on grey with diamonds and burnisher

I have a quieter fear too that I carry around with me.  Far more odd and slightly ridiculous than any mentioned above.  It was with surprise, as an order for a piece of jewellery came that I recognised this familiar uneasiness.  Partly distraction too, of greater worries I can’t control, I wanted to take a hold of this small, strange fear because it is mine, all mine and I have full jurisdiction over it.

This isn’t it

With creativity there is a cyclical anxiety that many makers feel.  It is often remarked on.  The fear of no next idea.  Often it is where a maker has fulfilled a creative drive to make a particular thing.  For a while after there doesn’t seem to be much left in the brain.  It feels like you could knock on my head and there might be an echo. I am actually okay with this.  It is such a cliche but there is much truth to the words ‘trust the process’.Into the woods ring front view in progress on grey with diamond

You show up and start with the things you can do, make pieces you have before, do the mind numbing tasks, even with creative vocations there are many boring necessary bits, (I quite like these repetitive tasks when I am lacking direction). Eventually the flow of ideas begin again. So far, so good.

The odd fear continued

These days I have a touch of what I call the ‘perfectionism’.  I like to make to the best of my ability.  This changes over time, I am always seeking to be better.  The best way of achieving this is my keeping a focus on what I am doing, taking my time, no shortcuts.  If I am not happy with the way something I (un)solder, refocus, start over.  I have written about it previously here.

My actual worry is…and brace yourselves because there has been some build up to this, that it will be a massive anticlimax, so don’t say I didn’t warn you,

That I will be unable to remake a piece I have made before.  That’s it.  That is all.  I warned you. No big deal.

Except that….

I picture myself hunched over for days, under a fine layer of dust,  I have tried, my hands are sore,  Surrounded by a mountain of silver dust which glitters in the sunlight, highlighting each mistake I have made.  I cannot, no matter how hard I try, remake the piece.

It is why I like the finishing best because even though I know I have spent time poring over each aspect, I am often surprised by the piece I hold in my hand at the end.  This is a good feeling, I think.  I got here, I did it!

It is why I have my recipe book, which helps as I take measurements down and why I look again and again at pictures of what I have made before.  I take these steps as counter measure to fear.  (I recommend a recipe book I really do).

It is also why I can’t content myself with making complete one off pieces either.  Something about each piece I like to understand and become familiar with.  Building blocks of knowledge gained.  Though I suppose you could argue that each piece hand cut is a one off really.  It doesn’t have to be the same, it is the nature of handmade but it does have to be lovely and loved.

Finished rings - two of the same with background of dried plants on greyTime is proof that with each make and remake, over and over I find the fear recedes each time until it become second nature, still challenged but without fear, you know the steps, you can count them to the finish.

“In the ideal — that is to say, real — artist, fears not only continue to exist, they exist side by side with the desires that complement them, perhaps drive them, certainly feed them. Naive passion, which promotes work done in ignorance of obstacles, becomes — with courage — informed passion, which promotes work done in full acceptance of those obstacles.”

(David Bayles and Ted Orland Art and fear cited in The Atlantic)






6 Responses

  1. Mary Booker

    Why don’t you just admit – and state – that every piece you make is unique. Because it will be. Unique and lovely.

    • elbyjewellery

      Thank you Mary 🙂 I do say that in each listing. I think its more to do with the quality of make for me, I probably didn’t express it well perhaps, but positioning of each element, making sure solder joins are done properly, the finish has to be as close to handmade perfect as I can get it – small details, I spend hours sanding, washing, sanding again. Sometimes I solder one piece on and then unsolder and redo, twenty times or more (or recut depending on if it has survived unsoldering). I am not content to let things be as maybe I once was. One definitely doesn’t have to be the same as another at all, but each have to be crafted to the best of my abilities if that makes sense. x

    • elbyjewellery

      Hey Mary, No fixed state. First make – creative flow, then tension, then creative flow again. I think it is like the quote from the last paragraph I took. You work with first with desire and in ignorance of obstacles, you have to overcome the obstacles, then you reach the informed passion bit. Well, hopefully. Each piece is a learning curve. x Same for you?

  2. Mary Booker

    Absolutely – but I also work to open up the tension and fear, as I think it is not really a part of the creative process, but an interference. There are obstacles in the crafting – for me frustration in the finding of words that speak what I want to say. But fear is like having someone looking over your shoulder. Who might that be?

    • elbyjewellery

      Meeeee! My expectations And deadlines. I do wonder though by remaking if that is my way of working through it… I consistently show myself that there is nothing to fear… It’s replaying scenarios and eventually I can make without fear. x

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