Sunday, June 24, 2012

One Objective Leads to the Next


This from Seth Godin's blog:

Doing the big work (at the little table)

Most of the day is spent in little work. Clerical, bureaucratic, meetings, polishing, improving, reacting, responding.
The obligation is to carve out time for the big work.
The big work that scares you, that brings risk, that might very well fail.
And we're most likely to do that work when it's least expected, when the table is small, the resources are lacking and time is short.
No need to wait for permission or the lightning bolt of inspiration. The big work is available to you as soon as you decide to do it.


Seth's words really hit home for me.  In my universe, the Big Work is putting together a book. The book.  That's the project that scares me.   And he's right - the bits I get done seem to happen when I don't expect them.  At least it's coming along.

 The book is a long-term goal.  I have every reason to expect to meet it.  In the meantime I must control my sense of urgency about it.  The urgency seems to come both from my natural drive and from my natural anxiety.  (I believe drive and anxiety are related.)  And, yes, I'm a bit afraid of it.  But I'm coming around.

In the meantime, I'm working on some involved but less overwhelming projects.  The first is a working Ouija board to be released in August, just as we begin to anticipate Autumn.    The next is to complete a set of Tarot cards.    The idea is to use the momentum from each of these projects to fuel the next.  It will be interesting to see how that goes.

 In the spaces between, Poppets must happen, because they fuel everything else.
  The last few days were spent creating a Space Jockey Poppet.   It encompasses all my nerdy love for the Alien universe and my disappointed longing for Prometheus.  In the end ( as usual )poppet proves to speak better than I.

I won't kid you - this piece was hard work.  But it was really, really fun too. 

One objective leads to the next. 

In between, I'll make some space suited poppets to go along with our Space Jockey.  Here's my question - do I suit them according to Alien or Prometheus?  Or do I allow poppet to make that call for me?   Time will tell, but I'd like to hear what you think.  And any thoughts on Prometheus.

Hope your Sunday is good.  Oh! - and here's the 360 degree view:



Monday, June 18, 2012


  Summer is here.  We swim in the dark and sleep with no covers, listening to fans blowing and night birds chirping.  The heat comes up with the sun and the crows launch immediately into raucous conversations.   Outside the air shimmers in the heat.  Inside,  we look for ghosts in the darkest corners.  Sometimes they let us find them.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

How motivation is working out, so far.

On Motivation and Inspiration.   The latter was quiet, but near.  I think I heard him scuttle about in one dark corner.  I didn't dwell on it, because once I started to work in earnest, I fell into a rhythm and began to chip away at things that needed my attention.
  I finally was able to finish The Hanged Man Tarot poppet.   I understood why it took so long, finally, because once it was done, I experienced the relief of catharsis.
  I've been the hanged man. But then, you likely already know that.

  Then I finished The Empress who, in person, looks as though she might rise from her seat at any moment.  Neil mentioned the Tarot poppets on Twitter and several people suggested I start a kickstarter project for that.  I think though, I'll continue as is and let it develop over time.   Each time I get a commission for one of the major arcana, I collect the images that will become the cards.  I don't know that this will be the first Tarot deck created from images of three-dimensional work, but I like that aspect.  I'm falling in love with the idea of a poppet deck, for sure.
 The first kickstarter project I try will be for the book.  I haven't talked about it much lately because I was apparently busy figuring things out whilst hanging upside-down on a metaphorical living cross. 

  Since Sunday, I've spent my studio hours finishing and packing pieces ordered on Etsy.  By letting go of what was becoming a frantic search for inspiration, I was able to find a great deal of satisfaction in paying attention to details of this aspect of my work.  All the while though, I sense that I'm no longer in a holding pattern. More and more often as I work I'm stopping to make notes.  This might be what's stirring up the clawed creature that will eventually transform me into the creative Hyde that connects the dots and writes and makes large things that move about.

  I'm a romantic at heart.  I like the idea of trekking out into the wild to find and conquer my muse.  But I've lived this artistic life long enough to know that every day isn't that day.   In the meantime, there are poppets, whom I love and who love me.

  So I'm working quietly, hardly glancing at that corner.  Whatever's there in the shadows will leap out at me when it's ready.  Or when I am.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Motivation isn't Inspiration

  It's Sunday morning, the house is quiet and I can choose how I want to spend the day.  This is a privilege and I know it.  Pete has taken charge of the Orion unit and I am free.  Given that I have hours of freedom, what I want to do is make something.  I want to be in the zone.   It's not writing I'm looking to start with.  I want to start with my hands, with broader movements. 
Now.  Inspiration. 
Hmm.  There's no equivalent to checking to see if it's plugged in.  I can go put my feet in the water and wait.  But I know that's not going to work. Works for phone appointments.  This is something altogether different.
And something - I've had to admit of late - that I've utterly and shamelessly taken for granted.
I mean, me.  Damn me.  What an asshole!
  I've written more than once that I never get blocked. 
 I can always make something beautiful.
I can always make toys.

I wasn't lying.  At the time it was true.  Because I took the inspiration for granted.  Without it, where is my motivation? Motivation is not inspiration.  They're not the same thing at all.  But they're related.
Let's think about that.  Inspiration brings motivation.  Inspiration can breathe life into the most exhausted of souls.  It can animate, re-animate the immobile, wake the sleeper, slap inertia into a running leap.

Can motivation inspire?  What motivates an artist to make art?  Artists know these answers. They're the same answers that motivate everyone to every thing.  Survival, duty, guilt, shame, love, boredom, coffee and so on and on.

Can motivation lead to inspiration?  Well, I can tell you from experience that inspiration often comes on strongest when I'm already working.

How do I know I'm going to get up and go to work?  I just realized that I will. Just now. Because my hands have twisted my hair into a bun and stuck a pencil in it, almost unconsciously.

I'm not inspired today, but I'm motivated.  Today I'm motivated by my desire for inspiration.  I want it, and it's not hovering around waiting for me.  I'm going to have to work for it.  I may have to apologize for taking it for granted.  Fair enough.

I don't know what will come of my work today, but when I tie on my apron I'll mean it.  When I tie on my apron I'll understand that there's no guarantee inspiration will follow.  But effort will.  I'll give it my best effort.

We can't always begin inspired.  Sometimes we have to begin with motivation. Motivation is not inspiration, but it doesn't need to be.  It is its own creature, with its own purpose. It's gritty and real and present. It has mass and requires a different sort of fuel and can survive without inspiration.  It's something altogether different from inspiration, and it seems that this is my curriculum for today.