This week’s lesson was a gold mine. I’ve spent the last week thinking and writing about the two challenging issues we were asked to confront—what we use to make our art and its content. My work in both areas will continue long past the end of this class.
Even though I had tried to pare down what I had in my work space when packing for our move, I was surprised at how quickly I was able to fill a bag this week. This was immediately followed by guilt and worry about getting rid of perfectly good stuff. I got past that by reminding myself of Jane’s advice to imagine it in the hands of someone who might actually use it. To that I added something else I learned in a book I read recently about getting rid of stuff—I thanked each item before putting it in the bag. Whatever it was, I thanked it for the excitement and sense of possibility it gave me when I first bought it. And I was grateful to all of it for helping me to better understand the tools and materials that really make me happy. Doing that felt odd at first, but it has made letting go a little easier.
I also cut up an old piece that I was never happy with. The first thing I learned is that I’m not a very fearless person. That first cut was scary even in spite of the fact that I really disliked the piece. Setting limits helped. If I hadn’t done that, I would have spent a huge amount of time trying everything I could think of to improve it. What made the experience especially valuable was one more thing that I learned—improvising and working intuitively are pretty weak areas for me and I want to spend more time strengthening those skills.