Looking Deeper: No. 35 of 40 Forts
We are in the home stretch. By this point in creating the forty forts, I was working on several at one time. The last five or six were in various stages simultaneously throughout the week. This piece was one that really helped me peg an unnerved feeling that I had about my creativity over the last several years.
I am one for new projects. I started fortunehearts while working at Craig Jackson & Partners my first year of college. I put my heart and soul into and rolled a million tiny strips of paper. Fortunehearts has taken on many transformations before evolved into what it is today. But now it is primarily dormant. I need to do a major overhaul in the near future. Since that first creative venture, I have had several babies that I have brought to fruition. But it is like I took them to day care and just left them there. They never really evolved beyond that.
Finally as I began focusing more on my art, I have felt so rewarded by what I learn from each of my projects. I could never imagine what the exercises will eventually present me before I begin. And I end up loving all of them like they are my babies. They are. I have so many creative children. You should come by and visit most of them at my studio sometime.
But like any mother, I always have grander dreams from each of them. And usually these dreams percolate in the very beginning stages. I have grandiose ideas before I am even begin cutting the cloth, so to speak. That is the way of an ENFP. For better or for worse.
So with these forty forts, well… I would be telling you a lie if I didn’t admit that I want them to live on beyond Lent (and now beyond May, when I hope to finish writing about them on this blog). And just the thoughts of that NOT happening was, well, bothering me.
I eventually talked to Lia about it and admitted that I am jealous of other people out there on the internet, who picked up x craft tool for the first time and one year later have done xyz. It looks so easy. And it is NOT easy. I have tried to have my projects fly for a dozen years now. Granted, maybe I haven’t tried hard enough. But that is another topic.
Before my big switch from being an entrepreneur to an artist, I would be exhausted by meeting people who were starting their own business. Sometimes I would leave with pounding headaches. Almost every conversation was the same. “My web site is launching next week and I expect to make $60,000 by the end of the year.” All of these conversations were pre-recession. But still… I felt like an old dog barely able to lift my head next to a new puppy. Let me tell you, there is a chance that you will launch a web site and led to riches weeks later, but it can be exhausting getting there. And that is not what I want.
So after getting some feedback from Lia, I thought about what I really wanted. I am just like any other four-year-old-at-heart, I want praise for my work. I am not talking about a write up in The New York Times. Although that would be nice. But seriously, there is a price to fame. Not that I want to be famous. But these trade-offs have consequences. I want to create work that answers questions I am struggling with. And then I share it with my friends and they/you are always so generous. Then I considered that people who love my work may love my work because they love me. And I am okay with that. In fact, I think that is great.
Which is where I discovered:
She took a moment to dive into her frustrations.
Once I really thought about the source of my bad feeling, I was able to realize that I was putting a lot of weight into things that are not important to me. Instead I would rather focus on fostering those relationships that I already have or in the process of developing. Many people have told me that my work has inspired them to do something. So I take this seriously, as well. As I continue to awaken from the coma of the first year of motherhood, I am trying to consciously tell others what I love about their work. I love so much of the work. But it takes practice to actually tell someone what it means to you.
Now I consider one of my jobs to continue to perpetuate the cycle of encouragement. Just keep spinning it like a big wheel on The Price is Right. Huh… that sounds exactly like some kind of theory an entire industry could be built around. But then when would I have time for my next art project.
Anyway, all of this is a little hard to admit. But I promised to remain honest throughout this process.
I love how this piece twists around and dives right into the page, going underneath layers to reveal what is there. Structurally it is one of my favorite pieces. And since I looked deeper, all of those unsettled feelings have been resolved.
As for the future of the forty forts, I have decided to keep them together for now. Initially I thought that I would sell them individually on Etsy. And I still may. But I would like to display them together at any interested local galleries. I hope that some form of a book will come out of it, possibly a Blurb book. The ideal situation would include professional pictures of each piece. Paper sculptures aren’t meant to last a lifetime. But I can honestly say the lessons from these will.
This paper sculpture, roughly the size of a coffee cup, is one of forty forts I created during Lent 2010 as a creative exercise and spiritual exploration.