Friday, September 21, 2012

Finding Creative Flow after Vacation

One of the most difficult things about traveling is returning to the studio. How do I get back into the flow of creating?

Spring Flock
greenware detail
©2012 Vickie Hallmark
sterling clay
First, inspiration from travels usually gives me ideas. Inevitably I search out galleries and museums in the places I visit, where I collect photos and names of artists to research when I return home. If I have time, I actually write in a travel journal about what I see and why I think certain work speaks to me. I note which works I like, but also which don't do a thing for me, and then I try to analyze why. I deconstruct the work, looking at technical details for little tidbits that might be useful to my own efforts. How are the mechanical connections done? Is the color palette in this piece more successful than in that one? Where is the balance between simplicity and complexity?

Beyond taking in the offerings, I extrapolate my own ideas into the work I'm viewing. If I were making this piece, would I change anything? Is something off balance? Is the scale right? How could I put my own stamp on it, if I were to give myself the challenge to make a derivative piece based on it? So effectively, even though I'm not in the studio, I'm still working. I'm making the same types of decisions, but with more freedom because they're not actually reduced to practice.

Then when I return home, I do go back and look at the notes and Google all the artists who intrigued me. That's why I blog about galleries and museums when I travel - it's my record of those inspirations, with links that I can find later to reconnect me with the inspiration.

fired sterling clay bits and pieces
©2012 Vickie Hallmark
Finally, I have to go sit down at the work bench and reconnect with my own tools and materials. Sometimes it can be hard to reach out and begin something new, so two options often seem easier: 1) finish something already in progress or 2) rework an old idea. This round I have deadlines looming, so both options are in play. I actually left work buried in carbon in the kiln because I had no time to dig it out before I left. And I needed to make a variation on my largest work for an upcoming commitment. As I sit there working, all those new inspirations float through my head, as I wrestle with how to push my own work ever onward.