I just finished three weeks out of the studio. Vacation is great, but man am I ever happy to be back on the tools. Actually I was ready to return to the studio about a week into the trip. I suspect if you were to ask, my husband could probably tell you the exact day based on my level of agitation. But hey, when you’re in the middle of vacation, you’re in the middle of vacation. The studio is miles and miles away and that’s the whole point! Do something different! Have an experience! Refill that well of inspiration!
Turns out the ‘forced’ time away from my usual, and much loved, daily routine was incredibly valuable.
I have, of late, been inordinately focused on the finished form. To the point where I found myself frustrated and even a little resentful of the time it takes to reach the completed sculpture. Something was definitely a little off and I knew that I had lost touch with the heart of why I make art, but turns out I had also forgotten what it is that inspires me most…nature. Nature and it’s oh-so-valuable lesson of patience and perseverance being their own reward. Spring, in particular, gave me its own kind of high-definition, slap in the face reminder that nature doesn’t have a completed, final image to show us, it is made up of a series of events. Something I got to experience threefold on this trip.
When I left northern Alberta for the coast spring was just on the cusp of exploding, you could smell green in the air. My arrival on Gabriola was to a season in full flush, leaning closer to summer than it was to winter. A drive across the mountain passes brought me once again to the richness of spring in all it’s splendour. Filling the air with it’s smells along the Bow and Elbow river in Calgary. I wasn’t alone in the experience. Keen to see the end of winter, a multitude of people emerged from their homes like tulips and daffodils dotting the cityscape.
This was the lesson, the reminder offered to me by nature…creation isn’t about a single end result. It’s about the singularity of each moment and how one will bring you to the next. Focus on the moment and trust in the future. Be responsive to your environment and always, always experience growth. It’s easy to forget this, when my head’s down working on my current project, focused on the next goal or upcoming deadline.
I feel lighter somehow, pleasingly empty from my 3500km of travel. It’s like I was able to leave the heavier bits of myself in the mountains, amongst the waves of the Salish sea and floating alongside the rock flour of glacial waters. Filled instead with the lightness of bird song, flower petals on the breeze and the warmth of a spring sun kissing my skin.