Saturday, May 7, 2011

A New Song to Sing

The latest project - a planter bench (minus its trellis) for Passionfruit, Take II.  The last one froze to death inground.

It was not my intention to turn this into a crafty blog, but it does feel like the course that I've taken so far. It was an easy path to follow: I am a homemaker, and much of my creative outlet will involve home decor. Besides, the how-tos of certain projects are what people want to see, and what got me started here in the first place.

But this blog is ultimately narcissistic, and I am interested in much more than home improvement. So be forewarned, some posts may be utterly useless to you, but are visual and verbal reminders to myself of some of my ideas and plans.

In my thirty-something years, I have generally made the practical decisions, chosen the safer alternatives, taken the road more traveled.  I am of Asian descent; we are a pragmatic bunch of survivors moulded by history and experience to calculate odds and weigh risks carefully. All of which sounds like a mid-life crisis waiting to happen, you say? No, I am nowhere near crisis. Those choices have led me to good places.

But (oh, the inevitable "but"!) now that I have a little more time on my hands, I am finding myself inclined not towards returning to the career for which years of formal training have prepared me, but back to those earlier years when grades and prerequisites and careers didn't matter, and when I could guiltlessly dabble with clay and stone, paint and pencil.  My sewing machine and jigsaw projects I can easily justify with their utility... But how to rationalize where this latest search for a new medium has led me?

For years I've wanted to try my hand at glass as a medium. To my untrained eye, it seemed to offer everything I wanted: color, texture, and even luster, with the added dimension of dangerously sharp edges and high temperatures. But most things I've seen made of stained glass actually don't do much for me, visually.  So I remained undecided until, of all unlikely things, I found myself leading a cub scout den through a local museum which happens to house the world's largest collection of Louis Comfort Tiffany art glass. It was like comparing a Winslow Homer with an oil painting in a cheap hotel (the sort my father-in-law calls "Sunrise Over Stream Draining into Toxic Waste Dump".)  I was enchanted, inspired; I signed up for a stained glass class within a week.

And made this:

Which, while not quite "Apocalyptic Dawn" quality, still falls in the realm of art-glass-pieces-I-don't-particularly-like.  To be fair, the teacher was knowledgeable, skilled and patient, and I went into the class knowing I'd be working on a preprinted pattern for the sake of learning technique.  I knew I wouldn't become Tiffany in a day (or ever), but in the shop I didn't find one piece that I even wanted to mimic, just for practice's sake.  Inspiration is a funny thing; you may see the calla lily above and envision growing from it gorgeously intricate panels of flora and fauna.  All I could see were endless rows of knick knacks and suncatchers in obligatory display.  And the work of gathering tools and making a workshop suddenly felt daunting.  I should mention that I loved the physical process of cutting and foiling and soldering... but the end result discouraged me, and I couldn't find my vision.

But I am blessed to be married to a man who specializes in Vision, no less, and while in casual conversation I hit upon what it is I am going to do with this new found skill.  And how to hone it in a way that I would enjoy the process, and perhaps achieve some exciting results.  It is so novel it's breathtaking (I've googled it, and wonder of wonders it doesn't look like it's been done yet, at least not in appreciable quantities), and I am breathlessly speaking in riddles for the ridiculous fear of being scooped (who will read this, anyway?)  So, re-energized, I've gone back to craigslisting for tools and sheds, and perhaps something wonderful will come of this.   Or perhaps not.  In any case, it feels good to be creating again.

Seeking more creativity in your own life?  Don't know how or where to start?  Check out this post here.

No comments:

Post a Comment