As the last of the snow disappears from my backyard and I eagerly await the bloom of spring flowers, I find myself anticipating the completion of the project currently on my workbench. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Way ahead considering things are still in the early stages of wood removal. From a seasonal perspective, I’m still in mid-winter on this sculpture.
It’s super distracting, as a part of me keeps trying to jump the queue to completion while another fervently responds that some things cannot be rushed. It’s me versus me, and it’s starting to feel like a draw. So, like training a puppy that is overcome with enthusiasm, I turn to bribery. Playing music I can sing along to while I work or offering the reward of a favourite cup of tea, enjoyed in the sunshine, in exchange for some solid hours in the studio.
Everyone says ‘create a body of work, similar forms with similar context.’ As good fortune would have it, that’s what I enjoy. Creating a community, of sorts, with a relationship between each sculpture and where together they tell a full narrative. But occasionally I feel compelled to explore something different. Think of it like going for a long drive, that’s the body of work, and then you step out of the vehicle to fill your lungs with the fresh air of someplace new, that’s the something different. It’s exciting and invigorating!
I like writing, journaling, storytelling, even the physical act of practicing penmanship is a present-focused, meditative endeavour. I like how what I write enhances what I create. I like how it tells the story of a piece I’ve worked on, laboured over and lived with, often for weeks and weeks. I like that I can go back and read what I have written. It tells me where I was, what I was working through, focused on, and learning.
I like that writing acts as a marker for growth. When I re-read past stories, I can see where I’ve been and how one action led to another which in-turn brought me to my current place in life. Writing is reassuring, it tells me that wherever I’m currently at isn’t where I will be forever. That the possibilities of tomorrow are even greater than those of today.
Clearly, I like writing but…
My husband always says ‘Stay busy, it doesn’t matter what you’re doing, just stay busy’. He usually pulls this advice out when I’m obsessing over something that I either have no control over or to which I can’t find a solution. Sometimes he says it before I even know I’ve begun to obsess. He also likes to tell me ‘When Candace is busy working on a project, any project, she isn’t worrying about all her projects.’
So while my physical body is back in the studio, my brain is in a million different places. Somehow getting back to the project I left on my workbench has slipped from its previous top priority level. This is part of the reason why I don’t have multiple projects on the go, I can be easily distracted (another thing my husband likes to say). Typically, I work on one thing…obsessively, until it’s completed. If I bounce to something new, I struggle to get back to the ‘other’ project, and so it sits unfinished until a looming deadline pushes it back onto my workbench.
Rather than obsess about not working on ‘the one I left behind’ I am choosing to act on my husband’s suggestion. Stay busy. A new project idea is coming to life on my bench with the cue for additional projects of a similar vein getting steadily longer.
What’s on my bench now is a personal farewell to the old, out of use, dock at the Gabriola ferry terminal. Last summer it was being demolished, this spring…it’s gone. Along with it, the Cormorants that used to sun themselves and dry their wings have also disappeared. Now when I want to see them I’ll need to take our little (really little) dinghy around the island to the cliff face that acts as their home. Until I get that chance, I’ll stay busy focusing my thoughts on the project in front of me and listing additional ideas in my trusty, ever present journal.
A tribute to the Ferry Terminal Cormorants has lead me to the start of a mixed media project.