When whipping up something new, it is always good to come up with a fresh twist on the familiar. Simple as this sounds, it is incredibly challenging to actually accomplish. I was watching one of those cooking reality shows at my mom's place the other day. Normally, I am not one for reality shows which, as you know, are about as real as a politician's honesty. However, this particular show WAS rather amusing. It was a bit like Project Runway (another "reality" program), but with food instead of clothes. I have to admit that I was intrigued by the chefs' inventiveness. They would be given a theme (like 'Japanese') or a flavor, etc., and have to come up with something dazzling in short order if they wanted to advance in the competition. Well, sometimes pressure can crush a person into dust and, sometimes, produce diamonds. The diamonds make the cut (or, get the cut?). Anyway, wordplay aside, my point is that challenges can spark our creativity to rise to new heights. I recently visited with a jewelry designer who feels somewhat stuck in her work. She was questioning her ability as an artist because she finds it difficult to be innovative in her work. From what I can see, her ability to create beauty is unquestionable. Maybe she just needs a bracing challenge to kick her creativity up a notch, to give it an undeniable "BAM!". Have you ever thought of having your own, private version of a reality show challenge? Give yourself one word, one color, one texture to work with and see what you can come up with. The necklace pictured with this post is a piece I am still working on. My challenge was figuring out how to meld the teardrop beads with the barrel beads in a pleasing manner. I also needed to make the neutral tones of the piece have a little bit of 'POP'. So far, I am loving how it is developing. I added in a lampwork bead that I torched especially to coordinate with these beads. The client is pleased and I am, too.
Custom pieces especially seem to present these types of challenges because the artist has a 'judge' to please (the client) as well as him/herself. The process can be intimidating but, when successful, oh,so rewarding! You just have to be willing to take a risk. After all, what's the worst that can happen? You waste some art materials or time? You have to take your work apart and start again? Well, that surely won't kill you. And, as the saying goes, 'What doesn't kill you will make you stronger' as an artist. Just don't do anything dangerous, OK?
"Life's challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they're supposed to help you discover who you are."- Bernice Johnson Reagon
"Anything unattempted remains impossible."- Unknown