Thursday, April 11, 2013

Fear and Creativity... Shattered Glass and Success

Guess what I learned this week?  

Reverse enamel painting with 

Cappy Thompson!

Working on adding color to the inside of my vessel~ It's challenging to paint on the inside without disturbing what you've already painted!   We used sawed off brushes so the handles were short enough to keep the end from bumping paint that had already dried.  Cappy also taught us how to burn bristle brushes to make them curved like the inside of the vessel.  Pretty stinky but very effective!

 This was a fun week,  after spending 4 straight days at the Toledo Museum of Art's famous Glass Pavilion with master glass artist Cappy Thompson,  I feel artistically 'recharged'.

I've never had the opportunity to learn from a glass master before, so I was thrilled to hear that she was coming from Seattle to Toledo to teach.  Most of what I know about working with glass is the result of countless hours of crazy experimenting on my own, lots of reading, and not being afraid to screw up royally.  

Fear is something that burdens everyone.  Fear of the unknown, of being hurt, disappointed, unsuccessful, or misunderstood affects each one of us.  In a classroom setting, the fear of failure is usually lurking heavily in the background.  It tries to steal our confidence and it stifles our creativity...We get a few days to learn something completely new in hopes of leaving with a piece of artwork we can be happy with.  Even more intimidating is to be in a class with experienced people when you know big fat... nothing.

When I have the opportunity to try a new technique, I want to learn and understand EVERYTHING in a ridiculously short amount of time.  My mind races into creative 'what ifs' and swirls with ideas to the point where I can't think at all.  I want to skip over all of the beginning stuff and jump into the sea of major undertakings.  I don't care at all about bringing home something pretty.

 I seem to have lost much of my 'art fear' somewhere along the line, and I feel almost free.  I learn new things,  I don't care if my pieces turn out. (Of course it IS a bonus when they do turn out)  Truly, I only want to see if what I had in mind works, or does not work.  In fact, I could spend days, weeks, or months on a project... once I see it completed, success or failure I am satisfied.  The process is so much more important to me, and I really enjoy being part of the processes of others when I'm in a classroom.  Everyone is in the same boat, but our own fears and lack of experience can make us feel like we're in a canoe instead of an ocean liner.  

I wish more artists could ditch the fear.  Fear should not dominate creativity;  rather, creativity should put fear right back in it's place. FAR away from our studios, our classrooms, and our lives.  Something to think about, isn't it?

Creativity builds our skills and brings passion to use what we learn from our failures to create real successes.... 

I dropped my most successful piece from this class on the kitchen floor as soon as I brought it home, shattering it to pieces.  I was frustrated because I wanted my husband to see how it looked finished.(maybe in attempt to justify what I had been spending all of my time on this week...)  Anyway, it is true.  And I really don't care that it's gone because what I learned by making it cannot be shattered.  Every unsuccessful piece has brought me closer to something I can truly be proud of...

The group was fantastic, lots of very talented ladies here~ 


  1. I just discovered your Facebook page and am intrigued and impressed by your work. It's interesting how you talk above about fear and creativity. I find when I take a class to learn something new I need to know (like a computer program), I actually surrender myself to the class, admit my ignorance and hope the teacher will recognize the kind of help I need to learn. I like what you say about failure and learning to bring passion to the creative process. I hope to visit your studio or attend an event and learn more what you do. I live in Findlay.

    1. Thank you Karen, and you are welcome here any time! I find different learning styles very interesting. When I teach I enjoy the challenge of helping people understand my creative process in a way that they can personally internalize and adapt for themselves. I have to admit though, that when it comes to learning things like computer programs I tend to struggle because there is only one way to do it correctly. I've never been good at things involving numbers or formulas, and my 'fear and frustration' of math became evident to me in 3rd and 4th grade. (maybe because I only have 10 fingers?) lol. I find that most people I know who claim not to be good at art have believed that since about that age too, but when they allow themselves to ditch the fear and rediscover what they CAN accomplish creatively, they are usually pleasantly surprised.

  2. lol, I finally read this. I will share. Hey I just had a thought to get you more followers, let's so we're having a contest to see he can get more followers in a week, and tell all the people at Inks and Drinks


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