Tuesday, June 17, 2008


"I sit and sit in the silence, looking hard into the blankness and wait and wait quietly for my hand to bring me a form, for my heart to speak to me and for spirit to surface. In making art we use our bodies and our minds, our hearts and our spirit. Spirit, once it comes, sits on our shoulders and gives us vision and presence, brings form and speaks to the spiritual practice of art making." - Nancy Azara, Spirit Taking Form.

The rain has put paid to my wood cutting plans for today but it's great weather for developing ideas. One of my art making rituals is to surround myself with art books and sketching materials while I mull over the possibilities. This seems to signal to my subconscious that it's time to produce something. Even writing this blog is a signal of sorts. It was one of the reasons I started a blog. If I write about the art process, it encourages me and puts me in the right frame of mind.
I have also adopted one of Twyla Tharp's methods which she writes about in her book, The Creative Habit. Being one of America's greatest choreographers she is often dreaming up new steps and dances. She starts off by first labelling a box with the name of the project and as the ideas begin to take shape she sketches and makes copious notes which she then puts in the box. Clippings, CDs, videotapes, books, photographs or anything pertaining to this project goes into the box as well. It is an excellent way of organizing thoughts especially when you are uncertain.
"....the box means I never have to worry about forgetting. One of the biggest fears for a creative person is that some brilliant idea will get lost because you didn't write it down and put it in a safe place. I don't worry about that because I know where to find it. It's all in the box." - Twyla Tharp.
So far my box contains sketches, notes, magazine cuttings and photos of old doors, a few metal objects that I might use, a bottle of copper nails, seed beads, a coil of wire and a block of wood I've been experimenting on. It's a good start!
"When inspiration doesn't come, I go halfway to meet it." - Sigmund Freud


  1. It's a great start...and I love that little parrot pencil holder!

  2. Great quotes,especially the first one.
    The process of art creation really is like that, opposite forces must work together; heart and brain, mind and body.

  3. The weather is like this here too and I am loving it, it's the coldest June on Record ever for Canada's Westcoast... such a relief for me and every other pregnant woman here!!

    Hang on, hang on...the box of tools there: did you carve and paint the lid of it????????????

  4. I am seeing your name written on the right...

  5. your carvings are beautiful. and you have a wonderful blog...

  6. This post is so interesting. Every time I come here I get inspired! Twyla's book has been on my wish list for a long time, I really need to check it out, thanks for reminding me about it. It's nice to read about what other creative people do to generate ideas. I love the box idea...I do something similar, but it is not nearly as effective as this method. Instead of tucking things nicely in a box, I throw all of my inspirational bits and pieces in piles all over the place...not good. For my jewelry projects, I like to put my beads in plastic sandwich bags so I can "see" my inspirational starting point. Just like you, I love to sit surrounded by all of my art books and materials and meditate over the possibilites. Do you ever fall into a trance? I have the distinct feeling that you do! Happy creating!

  7. I love the box idea. And your second photo - is there colour in there or is it just reflections of the rain perhaps?

  8. Heather, the green is algae and the shale paving does have a bit of ochre in it. The box is a great idea isn't it?

    June, I do tend to leave little piles everywhere but I am always having to move them. At least with the box it's easier to just pick up and stack without all the bits and pieces getting lost. Yes I do go into a bit of a trance. Isn't it great being so focused on what you are doing that you forget time and place.

    Thanks Herhimnbryn and mormar. I love great ideas!

    Tine, Thats a piece of wood I have been experimenting on. Everything is in an ordinary cardboard box. Glad you are having cool weather especially at this stage. Not long now... :-)

    Thinker, I can't resist a good quote. I think I have filled 4 notebooks.

    Willow, the parrot jug belonged to my gran. It's been around for as long as I can remember.

    Thanks everyone for popping in!

  9. Oh my god, Robyn, it is soooooo brilliantly stunning!!!! It belongs in a gallery!!!! I almost keeled over backwards when i saw it. Wow, oh how I would love to see the whole piece and more pieces like it!!!!
    Ok, let me pick up my jaw off the floor again now...

  10. I love the box - it's a complete work of art in itself. I also enjoy the still life photos of your books that you post from time to time.

  11. I use boxes too though it hadn't occurred to me that it was a system as such! The shop assistants always look at me strange when I say I want the shoe box that comes with the shoes...