Friday, April 8, 2011

Competing with the past

Porcelain Necklace Trio

Today I was rummaging around my stash looking for pieces to make some new necklaces with and I came across these three pendants. I made them over three years ago and promptly put them in my "archive" thinking that I would get around to using them at some point. Obviously I never did, which is typical for me. So, when I came across them today I had several thoughts...

Handbuilt Porcelain Pendant

Thought #1: I really like that rusty red/brown glaze. I remember that it was a test and for some reason I never used it again. I hope the recipe is still floating around somewhere...

Handbuilt Porcelain Pendant

Thought #2: I was much more ambitious three years ago. Or perhaps I should say I was "differently" ambitious. I am still ambitious, just in different ways.

Handbuilt Porcelain Pendant

Thought #3: While handbuilding this type of pendant is very time-consuming nothing more needs to be done in the way of a necklace design. No beads or other embellishment is necessary, in fact, they look best just placed on a simple neck ring. So... are they really more work or are they actually less work????

Perhaps the thoughts that struck me the most were these: How has my work progressed since this time? Has it? Was I better three years ago? What have a I learned during those three years?

I have no idea how to answer those questions but I am going to do some serious pondering over them. Have you ever looked at your older work and wondered if you are a better artist now than you were then?


Helen (Secret Lentil) said...

"Have you ever looked at your older work and wondered if you are a better artist now than you were then?"

YES. Especially because I'm always trying to juggle my time versus being creative, you know, while NOT STARVING TO DEATH. I just came out of a large burn-out phase with the decision to only make things I love, things that engage my problem-solving brain, things that are moving in the direction that *I* want to go in (will any of my customers like that direction? Heck I hope so.) I refuse to make anything solely because it feels like I am obligated to ... I call it, and I think you will appreciate this: frosting. I am only making frosting.

And I have to say, it is really fun and really energizing me. So far, so good.

Spirited Earth said...

these are all amazing ..i love the rust with that gorgeous blue.
i'm a better artist now than before..however i do keep proto types of those flashes of creativity that pop up unexpectedly thru the years and sometimes revisit those ideas.

mairedodd said...

those pieces are really wonderful... one thing to note is that 3 years ago you were incredibly talented as well... so how far back do you need to go to find the 'ugly' stuff? (we all have it)... i know more, and am more in tune with how to make ideas manifest... i think what will be interesting is now that i feel like i am hitting my stride (you seemed to be in yours even then) how will that compare to 3 years from now?
the neck rings are perfect... i love bold pendants on simple leather or wire...

pam ferrari said...

Love those pieces! I gravitate to simple designs that make a statement and these definitely do.

Marsha of Marsha Neal Studio said...

Oohhh… I love finding "old work". It takes you back mentally to where you were in that time of your life. It's like looking through old sketch books or old slides or photographs. It can be quite overwhelming, but at the same time - refreshing. You can take a sideways step back to where you were, and combine it with what you learned and go off rolling in a whole new direction.

I would be so curious to see where your brain takes you in this venture… I'm digging back into my Entomology and nature roots to see where my work is to go next. And I'm totally consumed by it (although it has not quite hit my hands and clay quite as I want yet - which just means more to come!).

Claire Maunsell said...

I do these mental shifts all the time when I find stashes of work that I put away for one reason or another. Usually, it has been put away because I was uncertain about it and wasn't yet ready to evaluate it, or didn't have the internal (artistic) tools to finish it. It's very exciting and as Marsha says, it takes you instantly back in time. The best thing is that what you were thinking then can be layered on top of what you have learned since then and that can make for interesting new work.

I don't know if I'm a better artist, but I stay on the track - better than being derailed!

jamberry_song said...

If you keep on with something, and you're serious about it, you almost HAVE to become better at it. Right? XD

As to your question about more or less work, it's a balance thing. Maybe you could do some of the hand-built pendants and charge a little more for them, while also making your other things. Eh?

Ok, time is always an issue. XD Well, you'll figure it all out.

lunedreams said...

Those are fantastic!!! The work I buried looks like cat poo (which is why I buried it) compared to those!! Oh, to have "earlier" work like that! List them list them list them!!! Or wear them wear them wear them!! Someone should be wearing them. They are fab.

I know I'm a better artist than I was two years ago. I have way more techniques and my mental box is a lot bigger now, thanks largely to other artists. Actually I find much of my early stuff painful to look at. Like cat poo.

carmen said...

Love those pieces. You would make awesome contemporary jewelery. Why not make some more.