taught reminded me a great deal about my own creative process. it was -at once- painful, valuable, frustrating, and ended up being quite artful.
this was my month to start fresh: i had a few hours on weekday mornings in july (while the little lady was at summer camp) to dream into my next career steps, to make art, to have space. i had high hopes. the mornings went FAST between drop-off and pick-up (what is with this phenomenon? i can barely get a load of wash done during camp hours!) i made attempts to get my shit together. to make grand plans. to tackle technical difficulties. i let myself down and beat myself up.
then i remembered myself. ah yes – the familiar in-between space where i “should” all over myself about all of what i should be doing right now. and instead i do anything but those things. i call friends. i play with instagram. i listen to ani difranco. i lurk around facebook. then i eventually make art.
i remember reading back in art therapy grad school about edith wallace’s ideas on the creative process. in her model, the creative process is made up of four stages:
- preparation: where one forms intention and ideas
- incubation: the process of working and resting
- illumination: the solution appears
- verification: where the product is completed and refined
for me, july has been a time of preparation and incubation. out of these early stages, the grand ideas come, right? i do see the light at the end of the tunnel. could it be… illumination? all i know is that right now i’m planting seeds. seeds that still have to sit in fertile soil for a while no matter how much i yell, “grow grow grow GROW!” at them. i have to be patient and remember this is part of who i am during transitional times. i’m impatient and seemingly sloth-like, in the eye of the casual observer.
this is part of my personal creative process. i eat much chocolate. i plan girls’ nights out and date nights and i host dinner parties that are prettier than they are delicious. i download new photo editing iphone apps and play with them into the wee hours of the night while my husband puts a pillow over his face to block out the iphone bat-symbol projected onto the bedroom ceiling. i watch far too much watch what happens live. i cry about how little i’ve accomplished in july. i wipe the tears and i remember wallace’s encouraging words that this stage is about working and resting. yes, i am creating wonderful little things, little circles within the grand circle… and i am resting. okay then, back to square one. make something else.
i watch my daughter make art.
i watch my daughter get very curious about her world.
it inspires me to do the same. i take a ton of photos of inanimate objects. i dehydrate almonds and learn a new recipe for buckwheat buttermilk pancakes. i go to the beach. i play uno. i re-do my mantel. i wait.
i rejoice in making new types of art with my favorite little artist.
we get into a mandala theme and try our hand at melting pony beads into suncatchers in our toaster oven, outside. (i am scared of toxic fumes.)
i celebrate the art she has created in summer camp… herb-infused oils, hand-stitched tea bags, potted plants, homemade bread and butter, a felt lavender sachet…
i celebrate her half-birthday (you may remember that we do this in my family) by baking a chocolate cake with vanilla icing — her flavor request. i so can’t handle this combo aesthetically because to me it’s like wearing black socks with white shoes, so i make the icing lavender and then it seems like a brown/pastel baby shower theme from 2004. a wee more acceptable.
i made her a half-birthday crown as my sixth needle felting project ever, with a little embroidery and hand-beading. i think i love it more than she does, but i’m okay with that.
and in reflecting in all of the happenings of the month of july, i see my process so clearly. i always require a great deal of preparation and incubation before something new is born. july felt as tiring and as full of nesting as the third trimester of pregnancy felt. it’s clear to me in hindsight that i should have been maxin’ and chillaxin’ and enjoying those spare hours of july rather than “shoulding” it away. in observing myself throughout july, i can see that something is about to hatch…
here’s to new creations on the horizon…