The question that led to a series of aha moments

What’s my favorite piece?

A couple of weeks ago someone asked me which of my sculptures is my favorite. It didn’t’ take me long to answer “Whatever I’m currently working on”. I answered quickly and with certainty, but oddly enough the question continues to echo in my thoughts.  So I began to wonder if maybe I answered too soon.

I think the whole situation of enquiry and response sticks in my memory because I found the question curious. I’d never really thought about a ‘favorite’ before and my consequent lack of hesitation in answering seemed even more curious. Particularly when I asked myself ‘Why?’

“Why is the current project my favorite?”

Version 2

The early stage of a new project is always exciting, it’s messy and possibility abounds.

After deliberating for some time I’ve come to the conclusion that my prompt reply explains a few things. At first glance a decisive reply makes perfect sense; I have to be 100% engaged in my current project.

  • I need to be excited about what I’m doing if I’m going to spend hours upon hours with it in the studio.
  • My commitment has to be ‘all-in’ when it means I think about it constantly and even struggle to sleep because it pervades my thoughts.
  • To create is to be so enamoured of an idea/form/story that it’s all I want to do with my time.

So here are those Aha moments:

As the sculpture gets closer to completion, my interest begins to wane. It’s like I’ve learned everything I can from the form and it has nothing left to offer me. So… I start to pull away.  It is at this point that the ‘relationship’ is over and I become eager to move on to the next image idea. (aha #1)

This is also when I begin to experience what I think of as post-sculpture depression. The extreme high of creating an idea, being immersed in the idea and bringing it to life in three-dimensions ultimately leads to a low.  Similar to a friend moving away or a relationship that has ended, there is a sense of sorrow in the ending of something. (aha #2)

You’ve heard the saying without darkness there can be no light? Well this experience is more like the rebalancing of an excessive feeling of fullness with its polar opposite, emptiness. I am beginning to suspect that it is this sensation of loss at the end of a project that pushes me on to the next one. (aha #3)

I experience an almost desperate desire to ride that high, fill the void and feel that my life has purpose again. Even if only for a couple of days, weeks or months. So, the next project becomes my favorite one, but it just so happens that it becomes my current project and so I interpret my answer as ‘My favorite sculpture is the one I’m currently working on”. When in actuality “My favorite sculpture is my next one”. (aha #4)

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