22 January 2016
If you follow my instagram, @aeodesigns you've probably noticed a lot of posting around the topic of slowing down in my lifestyle and process of making jewelry. I'm actually not even making jewelry right now. l know I came into this experience saying "I don't know what it will hold but I'm down for whatever comes"...EXCEPT I assumed I would be making jewelry, of course. After meeting with my teacher and showing him my work to which he reply, "It's nice - very rustic and simple. You can make any kind of jewelry you want. I know people like rustic things but in my studio every piece is finished professionally." I thought that sounds good to me, I can always be more professional. The next day I started my first exercise, I was to make a perfect square, rectangle and triangle each out of one piece of wire. It took me 3 attempts to make an ok square and 4 hours to make all 3 shapes. The exercise brought up so much for me!! I left the studio feeling overwhelmed and drained.
Art is my meditation. It has been one of my greatest teachers - it challenges me - pushes me inside myself to see an honest reflection of my shadows and my light.
In that first studio session I had this domino of emotions within those 4 hours, first seeking validation from my teacher then finding frustration in how my time was directed and then a whole lot of self-judgement. I spent most of the actual class time trying to be the best student - seeking that validation of skill from him. It wasn't until the class was over that I took time to step back and think about the class - how did it feel? what did I learned? - I starting feeling frustrated I just spent 4 hours and X amount of money learning how to make a square, rectangle and triangle. For what? I've been doing metal work since 2009! I shouldn't be spending my time here on such a simple exercise. Then I realized that I was doing that exercise because I didn't know how to do it. It seems obvious to say that but it was the truth. I've taken a handful of metalsmith classes in Seattle and Chicago but honestly most of my learning has been in the studio by myself just trying things. I am a creative and one of my greatest abilities is to improvise. I think because of my life choices and experiences I have had to practice this, a lot. Improvising comes naturally to me now, so I use it. I rely on it. I practice it. Improvisation is in my art. I decide what I want to make and figure out how to do that with my limited skill set. I can always get to the destination I want so I don't focus on finding/adding new skills. This was a big a-ha! for me. I became overwhelmed with self-judgment of being 31 (almost 32) and realizing that it's hard for me to invest in things. I start things - I pick things up and set them down. I started counting how many different jobs I've had in my life, it's a BIG number. I've picked apples, worked as a barista, walked dogs, caught babies in a birth center, created a community garden at a health center, taught sex ed, been a hostess at a fine dining restaurant, facilitate a maternal health task force in subsaharan Africa...the only thing to do when you get this deep into self-judgment is called someone that loves you. I called my Mom. She told me to feel the change - all these beautiful vibrant life experiences have brought me to this moment. Where do I want to go from here? I realized I just needed to change my perspective, not to judge but to appreciate that something is shifting inside of me. I think I'm ready to focus - to invest - to be open to diving deeper into something.