Ok folks, overwhelmed.
Mostly because it occurred to me slowly over the course of the day and then it hit me with the force of being run down by a doubledecker this evening when I was talking to people in the studio about how all the underclassmen move out of the Slade at the end of term (2 weeks) and into Woburn (our other space a few blocks away where we will remain for about six weeks until it’s 2 weeks before May 17th’s degree show opening night private view (biggest night of the year) and during those two weeks each underclassmen will be assigned a graduating student to be their slave during set up for the show. It’s the funnest most energetic and high paced part of the year and it sounds like Footlloose Prod Staff, except fun (thanks, Dana, for that analogy) and the seniors send their slaves out with money to buy drinks in at the height of the chaos and I can’t wait it sounds great. Except that this night of all nights is on a Friday. More on that later as the date approaches. Oh and Shavuot (holiday celebrating when the Jews got the Torah) is on 14 15 16 May. And the bunny hopping contest in on May 12. Slade’s not going to like any of this. Ah well. Deal with that later. So. When I come back from spring break I have about 6 weeks to work. All of this leads me my point.
THERE IS NO TIME LEFT.
Which got me thinking that maybe it’s time to spend Shabbos at home that way I can have a full Friday in the studio and Shabbos afternoon walks. But now I’m just thinking about what it is I’ve been waiting to make. It’s not the map. It’s the city. The map is the city, organized and readable, and exciting, on a piece of paper you can hold in your hand.
It’s about the city and my tendency to long and search for something epic whatever that means and I don’t want to just pick a single thing about the city or chart my own map or whatever. I want to channel (I hate that word) the overstimulus of London and the wanderlust and the need to see everything and walk every street –yes, all those intangibles, into a work. I do it all the time (the bunnies, the copper people, the self portrait made out of paper flowers, the tree house). This is not a new goal.
I want to bind a book of my blog (one volume for every month) I want to make more glasswork (thank God for Cornwall) I love the etching and will keep going with that (though it would be nice to have direction, but when you’re learning something at first, direction isn’t necessary, I’m just thinking ahead…) and I’m busy and that’s wonderful (or as Brits say, “alright”) but I want the bunnies the copper people the self portrait made out of paper flowers the tree house/sukkah/chuppah thing. These things aren’t forced, they just happen. There will be 3, 6, 10, 20 false starts and then out of nowhere the most perfect idea will come and I run with it. So I keep working, moving my hands until they form whatever it is that has yet to be revealed to me. So this isn’t the creative anxiety I’ve had in the past. I do believe I will make something again, I’m not past my prime, my sense of self is intact. It’s something different. I think I’m puzzled about this map thing and want to get to the bottom of it.
So what’s it gonna be? If there isn’t a London equivalent of those projects, that’s ALRIGHT (look it up Dad, it’s a word). I’ve certainly gained/learned/seen/made/walked in abundance. But I want to make that quintessential here and now piece that so perfectly summarizes this experience for me. I’ve always wanted that to be the case and mentioned that weeks ago, but now that I have a sense of what’s going on for every remaining week of this stint in London and the feeling that time is running out and passing faster than ever….well, what’s it going to be?
In conclusion, blissfully overwhelmed.
P.S.: Today I spent the entire day in the printshop and you’ll see the evidence later and then I went to my stained glass class where I expected to be calm and composed knowing that I’d finally achieve that moment of AHA closure satisfaction upon finishing the glass map but it took longer than I thought and I had already started another project last time so my attention was divided and I just don’t know how I’m going to display the glass map and it doesn’t feel done and I don’t know it needs or what larger piece it should be part of and that led to a mental panic about my seminar next week because I don’t want people to see it and go on and on about map map map tourist tourist tourist make it yours make it yours make it yours blah blah blah and philosophical questions I don’t want to contemplate/are irrelevant. But I don’t know what it is I want to get out of this seminar. I certainly don’t want to say “I’m not sure what to do next” because I know what I’m doing next, I’m already doing it, it just doesn’t have clear direction or a thesis of any sort. So if I ask that, I’ll get advice I don’t want/need/care about. I think the question that needs to be answered is, what’s at the essence of the maps? There’s something about this city that I’m drawn to. It’s not the maps, it’s what they contain. So how do I make a work that communicates all those intangibles listed above? I had a nice chat late tonight with Frank, Sophie and Petronella, all of whom work near me in the studio, about my qualms regarding this critique and Petronella brought up “if not the maps, what’s at the essence of it,” which was something that occurred to me on my walk yesterday. (As I was walking when the though occurred to me I jotted this down: It’s not about the maps. No wonder I’ve hit a block. It’s about what the maps record. Places I’ve been, places I’ve yet to visit, places I’ll die without seeing. So if I’m not setting out to make my own map, what shall I do with the places that have already been charted? Where do I fit in and what do I make in response?)
If you managed to read this far, you’re crazy. Did you even follow that? I didn’t.