What do you do when you find yourself acting like a deer in the headlights on the autobahn of creative anxiety? That was me at 4am on a morning last week. I went from being in a state of floating bliss, most probably dreaming about food, to wide awake and worrying about my tiles drying, the scale of the project I was undertaking and weirdly, whether my step-son has been wearing his school tie.
There I lay obsessing over my tiles drying and possibly warping. These first precious tiles which will be the start of my commissioned ceramic screen. Having commenced this commission at the start of the year these are the first ones to make it this far; so hopefully you can understand my bizarre behaviour. Up to this point I have been making decisions on claybody, the best colouring methods; numerous coloured lozenges have been mixed and fired to obtain the best colours for the piece. Finally, I’ve been trying to be ‘tricksy’ about how I cut them so that I can progress quickly. Yet all I’ve managed to do is go slow, slow and even slower.
In all fairness, I only get one day at TAFE to use their equipment for constructing my tiles and developing colours; then it’s a matter of booking a kiln or waiting until there’s one doing a suitable firing. In the middle of all of this I have become more anxious and more unsure if I can achieve what I set out to do and what I promised my wonderful client, Susie, I would create for her courtyard.
There is a pit of creative sludge at the bottom of my belly which swishes every time I walk and gurgles away when I stand still. What do I do?? I guess I have to do what I preach to my step-kids. Never give up, take lots of deep breathes; stay calm, think and act methodically. More importantly have faith in yourself and your abilities.
How to do this? I believe it’s important not to let raw emotions drag you down. Take small constant steps towards your goal. Don’t think about the entire project or it can become overwhelming. Instead just do the next step and keep doing that till you get to the end. Most importantly, celebrate every little success along the way. It’s these small victories that keep you going when all you want to do is give up and say “I can’t, it’s just too hard.”
In my case, these little tiles are my first victory and as such deserve a little ‘air punch’. Onwards and upwards gentle reader.
PS: In case you’re wondering my step-son has been wearing is school tie. Where do these thoughts come from??