What brought me here today:
Creative block is something that I’ve never seem to fall victim to. The ideas that I have always seem to exceed my ability to create them. Most of the time, what that really means is that it takes me a long time to create the larger, sculptural paper mache pieces. While I’m working on a given piece, I still get ideas and create sketches of specific pieces I would like to create in the future.
That all being said, there is a part of me that is hesitant to begin creating larger, more complex pieces of artwork in my new studio space. Putting a finger on exactly what is making me hesitate has been a difficult process. Even using the term ‘hesitant’ somehow feels incorrect. For those who follow me on Instagram, you know that I’ve created twelve tiny doll brooches in my new studio space. It would appear that I’ve solved my own problem, right?
This may sound strange, especially for people who may not be creators or artists, but the artwork I made in Finland belongs in a different place. It’s linked to a former version of myself that is in the past. A lot of money was spent to ship my artwork from Finland to the US. This was done for a few different reasons. Chief among them being that I need to have artwork to show in displays and galleries.
The body of work that I brought with me represents a lot of creative and emotional learning for me. I discovered a lot more about myself than I thought possible while creating the artwork. If for that reason alone I made sure to keep the artwork, it would have been worth the money spent on shipping.
All that being said, that artwork, and the ways in which I created it belong in my past. My extremely recent past. But my past nonetheless.
Between now and when:
The teenie doll brooches that I created were started in Finland. The doll bodies, arms, and legs were sewn together at the desk that looked out onto Myllyjarvi lake. I felt no hesitation in sewing on each dolls hair, or in giving them names. I used some of the felt that I brought with me to create the brooch bases. New embroidery floss was used to add the decorative elements to the brooches and the doll dresses.
The brooches that I created were planned previous to the move to the US. I knew that I wanted to create some tiny doll brooches in the near future, so I got the tiny dolls started before leaving Finland. It was nice to have something to physically work on after almost three weeks of no art creation.
There was no hesitation in creating because I had already done the lion’s share of the designing and planning prior to moving into a new studio work space. It may sound strange, but in my mind, the artwork was already completed. I could go on and create something new.
I suppose that I could blame some of my hesitancy to begin constructing a large, sculptural paper mache piece on the fact that I’m still missing some important materials and supplies. No newspaper as of yet. And I still have not found a glue that I feel is strong enough. There are also a few orders for felt that I need to make. I need a large cutting mat as well.
It seems like I’m attempting to make excuses for not jumping right back into creating large, sculptural, paper mache pieces. Doesn’t it? I think in part I am. There’s another part of me that is processing the new environment I’m living in. Pulling out elements that I find interesting and stashing them away in my sketchbook. There is something creatively coalescing in my mind. I just can’t quite see it yet.
The future is now:
Acknowledging the fact that I still wish I was in Finland and not in the US has helped me a great deal. Now that I know this, I can start moving forward. That might sound strange, but it works for me. There’s nothing I can do right now to be back in Finland. I am right here, right now. And it will do me no good to winge and whine about where I wish I was.
For me, the act of creating artwork in a place tethers me to it. The influence of my immediate environment makes itself present in my finished artwork. I can’t help it. For me to sit down and continue creating exactly the same artwork that Finland inspired in me would feel incredibly wrong to me. Any artwork I make in this new space will have Delaware as an influence.
While talking to my husband, he mentioned that he was still having problems getting into a flow state while working. I’ve written about flow state quite few times in the past. It’s one of those things occurrences that can be hard to describe. Suffice it to say, that to be able to get into a flow state while working, one of the key requirements is that I feel mentally and emotionally comfortable. I need to feel safe.
My new workspace is still new to me. I’m not done figuring out how I will operate within the space. What tools go where. How my supplies and materials will be stored. And, even things like, I’m not looking out a large window onto trees and a lake. These things have a lot to do with disrupting my creative flow state. This is where my sense of hesitancy springs from.
The more settled I get within my new workspace, the easier a time I will have getting into a creative flow state. This is just going to take some time. In the meantime, I will continue working on smaller pieces. Smaller dolls. And see where it all takes me.
So, now what?
I have several smaller dolls that I want to design and create. These pieces go in a direction that didn’t quite feel right to me until I arrived in the US. I’m going to start work on them in the next week. There are also other irons I have in the fire right now that I can begin fleshing out as well. Like I said, I’m never at a loss for creative ideas, so I count myself incredibly lucky.
Mason Jennings, Be Here Now; Boneclouds (2006)
I also know that Be Here Now (1971) is a book by Ram Dass, about yoga, meditation, and spiritualism. I have never read the book.