Sometimes when I am talking about work I describe it as a conversation or a song. When I discuss how I know a piece is completed it is about the conversation having ended. At times there are harmonies and beautiful melodies. At other times there are arguments, hesitation, abuse. It is all in there, in the work, in the discovery and the internal dialogue (so often critical with artists!). Angela shared a YouTube clip with us at the start of the MA course: Ira Glass’ The Gap. I have come back to this many times. It is a reassurance.
It’s normal for it to take a while: Fight your way through that…..
So, whilst working on a large piece today I reminded myself that I could lose myself in the play of the work, yielding to the push and pull of the materials and caring less about whether this will be one of those pieces. A good one. A special one. It just is. It exists. It is part of the process of making, creating, making more. It is taking shape. Better yet it may collapse at any point throughout the process and I may have to work with it as a ‘self-destruct’. The anticipation of this potentially occurring is exciting. I stacked a pile of extremely thin shards of plaster yesterday and the delicacy and impermanence of it was hypnotic.
This work has a myriad of meanings. It is developed in clay that will only turn black once fired – changing on multiple fundamental levels in the secrecy of the kiln. It will dry brittle and hopefully shrink pleasingly around the objects I have pushed into the surface. It is likely to crack around them and this will also happen in an organic way – one which I have little control over. I have punched holes for threading and lacing in places, visualising it as a completed piece, though I cannot be sure I will even be able to remove it from the mould it is in without it being irreparably damaged. Perhaps becoming more itself. Thinking of the work as a being, an entity, a song. It seems normal to me. When I talk about the relationship with my work, the work is active in this.
Perhaps I am a lonely soul!
Jean-Léon Gérôme’s 1890 painting of Pygmalion and Galatea.