Thursday, January 31, 2013

Cutting Corners

The Heroine's Journey.  I'm in the midst of it, the journey that is.  Am finding my struggle to get into the studio greater than I had thought.  I have more time available but my head won't get out of the way to let it happen.  Or is it heart?

This semester's work is supposed to be expanding last semester's work: the five centers of five mandalas that represented the first five stages of the heroine's journey.  I am finding that after giving myself the month of January to go easy on myself that it is harder getting back to the work.  I go into the studio and end up cleaning or organizing or finishing up something undone and unrelated to the MFA work or just stare out the window at the frozen river and watch the snow fall.  I know that is all part of the process.  It's part of the process of grieving as well I suppose.

I've got the 5 centers all laid out waiting for me to pounce on them but it's not as easy as that.  I keep hearing what we talked about in the final crit/presentation and I also think about what Susan said about this semester...there's no 'minor' so put some extra thought into the work at hand.  How can I expand on what I am already thinking about?  Do I add another medium?  Add more pieces?  Radically change what I proposed for the semester?  The thought of completely changing the 5 mandala centers I currently have is a strong one.  Cut them up, manipulate them so the images are so obscure they are unrecognizable?  Lots more thinking to do and living with what is for a while I think.  There is no right or wrong answer, I know. 

I do know that I need to keep the options down to a bare minimum or I'll never truly focus on what is to be.  My decisions will come from techniques most likely and keeping the techniques to one or two and make the work speak that way.  I can get so carried away with technique, color, shape, size, I need to have some sort of guidelines to get started.

The final shape of the finished mandalas is also undecided.  I'm thinking that it would be good to focus on that first as the clay work is more involved with drying times and firing.  That work I'll be doing at Bowdoin College so I won't have constant access to it as I do my glass work.  Form first, content to follow.  There is something that's drawing me to the form and shape of the lilypads in my garden pond.  They are under a thick blanket of ice right now but they speak to me still.  So I might play around with that form first.

I am going to fire the glass pieces face down first to give them a totally new perspective.  Then I will cut into them and introduce new imagery.  My initial thought was to go large with the final pieces.  Now I'm moving toward smaller, more intimate pieces.

So, I'm continually thinking and "percolating" ideas even though I'm not doing the work in the studio like I think I should be.  It's all part of the process...I just need to remain patient and keep trusting.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Beginning of Something New

2013 is here and I thought I'd try a new weekly blog to capture what transpires in my studio, especially for the MFA work.  So here goes....

Winter brings a warm blanket of introversion as these dark and cloudy days arrive making the incandescent lights in the studio lure me in.  I so wish I had a door on the studio so I could close out all the other responsibilities.  I absolutely love the space, it's bright, open, full of windows that overlook the Cousin's River and it has everything I need.
Cousin's River

Glass Frit
I tried reorganizing things so my workflow would be better but I soon realized that it was going to take a major overhaul of 'stuff' to do that.  I have too many mediums going on in my head to dispose of any of them.  A major overhaul is just not in me so plan B will fall into action.  Plan B is to just do a little reorganizing and accept that will suffice for now.

One thing I did do was to make a large, 6x6' work surface so that I could have a more comfortable area for bookmaking. Those large sheets of paper that need cutting were impossible to cut neatly otherwise.

My studio goal for 2013 is to spend more time in it!  Productive time or not, just spending time in it keeps me in a creative thought process and that is good.

Below are the glass mandala centers that I did last semester for my Master's work at Heartwood College of Art in Kennebunkport, Maine.

These mandala 'centers' will be altered and re-fired several times to become complete and separate mandalas.  The basis for these designs are from my work with The Heroine's Journey, or my life's journey.  The images are from dreams, realizations and work with the Journey.  The mandalas will expand in their depth and design during the next semester's work.  Making and carving clay molds is next.  I'll be using a low-fire white clay to make the molds.

I'm making my semester journal at the moment.  It will have some new book features that the previous journals could have used. 

So here's to a new beginning and a commitment to keeping it going!