Friday, August 24, 2007

On the Process

As I mentioned in the last post or two, I've been spending a lot more time lately working on photo restorations and organization for my other time-sucking beloved hobby/side-job, I had a custom pendantorder in the works, though, which I just finished up and wanted to share.

This was a custom order for a very, very patient friend.
It is to be a gift for her sister-in-law, and there's a photo transfer charm of each of SIL's grandmothers. It took me FOREVER. I hope they both find it worth the wait!

As of Wednesday night, I had decided it was some of my worst work ever.

As of last night, I had decided it was one of my favorite pieces I had ever made.

After it was "FINISHED!" I laid awake in my bed, unable to sleep because completion of this piece had jump-started my brain and I could NOT stop thinking about all the new directions I want to take my work in.

I can't even tell you how many times in the process of making this piece I started over, screwed up, backtracked, cursed, cried, and just all-around wanted to give up.

I have a love-hate relationship with the custom orders. They are truly my favorite thing to make, but they can be the hardest. First off, light skintones and other light colors can be tough to transfer without breaking/smearing/tearing the image. Second, especially if it's a person, you have to make sure it looks like that person. Whereas with a "stock" item I can embellish over any area that's not perfect, or just put that project aside, with the custom pieces I have to do it over (and sometimes over, and over and over) until it's perfect.

Then comes the real trick, which is knowing when to step away and take a break. Before you overdo it. Before you stop being gentle enough. Before you look at it so long that it looks like a piece of crap in your eyes. STEP AWAY. And sometimes you really have to step FAR away, or you'll end up hating the whole craft. And one should never make art because they feel like they are obligated to. One should make art because there is a passion inside that must be brought forth, because they truly enjoy the process and the product, because the creation of the piece leads to good feelings for themselves and/or for others.

There is a certain satisfaction, or joy might be a better word, that I get from making the custom pieces. I feel like I have created a new heirloom, rejuvenated a memory, turned a little ball of clay into a piece of history. I know, or at least hope, that my custom pieces hold a special value for their owners, and I consider these pieces little historical treasures. It is the same joy I get from restoring old photographs for people, except in this case, it's much more fashionable. :)

When I finished beading that necklace, I felt like a huge burden - not the project itself, but the feeling of dissatisfaction I had been suffering from
, the dread of packaging up and mailing something that I wasn't at all happy with, because time had just run out - had been lifted off my shoulders. It all came together in the nick of time, and I felt like my joy of working in this medium was renewed and expanded as I packaged up the order and rushed it to the post office.

The real fun comes when I hear the feedback from the recipient. Fingers crossed.

1 comment:

Jan Z said...

I feel that burden sometimes on some of the crazy properties I appraise!

How did the recipient like this custom order?