During the month of October I will be joining hundreds of others as we "Resurrect Our Art." Watch as I share my thoughts, progress, and reflections week-by-week and breathe new life into an old forgotten project that was cast aside.
This little fish creation has been abandoned since September 2017. Two long years stuffed away accumulating dust. I had a big idea, I played, I made some progress but in the end I couldn't make it work. So I walked away. Now 2 years later I am bringing this fish back to life!
Follow my thoughts below...
As I move towards October I am reflecting on my practice and this little fish by journaling and getting clear on my intentions.
September 28, 2019
Over the month of October, I intend to resurrect a painting of fish I began as a creative response to the word “irrelevant.” I had been meditating on the demise of sockeye salmon and the lack of voice they have, how they are perceived to be “irrelevant.”
Being creative is important to me because it’s how I feel most alive. It’s helps me make sense of the world, relax, heal. It’s essential to my wellbeing.
Knowing this about me and my creativity, as I resurrect my art, I want to remember that even if my fish decide to become something else or aren’t finished in the end that I will have still created and that makes me whole. My idea of the fish isn’t dead even if the piece stays that way.
I will dedicate the following time to creating this week at least two evenings after my children have gone to bed.
I am going to tell my husband that I am dedicating this time to this project so that they can support and encourage me when my energy wanes.
October 1, 2019
Think back to when you let this inspiration go. What is the story you have told yourself about why you let it die?
I really believed that this piece just wasn’t working. I couldn’t bring together all the components that I had. I wanted to have the sockeye salmon and this oil slick. I wanted them to be in this disconnected from some natural items like the stick and the homemade paper. I went so big, I made homemade paper with natural materials I found and really wanted to show this contrast of the unnatural and the natural and the fish stuck in the middle. In the end I couldn’t make it work so I walked away. I could feel it fading for quite some time.
Is it possible this isn’t true? What might be another story be about why it died?
Interestingly enough when I looked back at the last image, I posted on Instagram of it, I just so happened to have gotten pregnant around that time. I really found in this last pregnancy that I had very little creative energy. Once my baby was born, I could feel it coming back. When I think about this now, I can see that it might have just been that my energy was needed somewhere else that was pretty important. Maybe it wasn’t that I couldn’t bring all the pieces together but rather I only had a finite amount of energy to share?!
What sort of hands, or energy, were you bringing to this project before you walked away?
I really was starting to push and feel a sense of desperation. I had a timeline attached to this as I was creating it as part of creative challenge in a group. As the timeline crept closer and closer, I knew I wouldn’t be able to bring it together in a way that worked. So, after this tight grip I just through my hands up and walked away feeling defeat.
Spend a moment with your creation or materials holding it in your hands. Listen to it. What is it saying to you, what sort of hand does it want you to bring to it?
Breathe, keep it simple. There is already so much love in this already. You don’t need to love me anymore. Just trust and let me breathe.
October 7, 2019
In one or two sentences write down what your creation asking for?
My creation was asking to hold the original spirit and intention of why you created this. The feeling that I felt when I felt so frustrated and angry that the fish could be seen as so irrelevant. This feeling is what wants to stay captured, the way it manifests isn’t so important.
What were your expectations for this piece?
My expectations were for it to have a juxtaposition of natural and man-made elements, that it would be intriguing and interesting in the end, that it would have a flow or beauty to it.
Can the two of these coexist or do you need to let something go?
I think it can all coexist still, but I will need to be mindful of what I am attached to. If the natural/ man-made can’t coexist with the beauty, then which one goes? If the spirit is to capture the forgotten irrelevant fish, than that will have to come over all of my expectations. It is really clear to me that this piece needs to be about the feeling I had when I heard the prime minister dismiss the fish as irrelevant. The anger, the shock, the frustration that the fish can’t speak. Everything else may need to melt away.
What do you most want to remember as you continue along this creative journey?
To be flexible at each juncture to hold the vision of the feeling that I had in the moment and trust the process that the feeling will guide the work. The feeling is what I am trying to capture the aesthetic will follow suit if I trust the process!
October 14, 2019
If I were to call you up and ask you how your creative resurrection is going what would you say?
I would say it has been going surprisingly well! That it has been really interesting to see something go from such a grind and struggle to something with ease. I have felt the temptation and pull to force things lately and walking away and letting the piece breathe has really helped. I have just been dipping in and out, walking away when my grip gets tight and this has helped. I have also been able to find some surprises and new things emerge when I have tried to open and broaden my expectations.
How is this different than when you started a few weeks ago?
I actually have less fear and more confidence. I honestly was scared to revisit the fish knowing that you all would be watching me! I thought to myself maybe you should have chosen something easier. But as I have gone through this process what has changed is that my fear has dissipated, and I actually feel confident that I am on the right track with where I intended to go.
Imagine that you have come across your creation years down the line. What would this creation mean, what would it symbolize or represent for you?
It represents courage. My own courage to revisit it, the courage to stand up to something that can cut you down and render you helpless. This theme in the piece around the fish being cut in half and the dismissiveness of being seen as irrelevant has become one about owning power. Helping the fish own their power. Helping me own my power. Having the courage to step up and push back.
As you think about the future and now what do you most need to connect the two, to bring this creation to a place of fullness and abundance?
I had this memory come up for me around a friend of mine in University having a professor who would dismiss their questions as “irrelevant.” The fear she had of asking questions in this class, of being deemed stupid, or the silence that happened as a result. This piece was created in response to a creative challenge to make something in response to the word “irrelevant” as I talked about above this feeling of being cut in half. Of my shock that the prime minister of my country could see the sockeye salmon dying in tailings ponds from mining as irrelevant is born of the same. The dismissiveness the damage of seeing something as different or other than us. So, I want the word to be there. I want it in a speech bubble. I want someone to be speaking down to the fish and cutting them in half metaphorically and literally. The bridge between the past and the future of this piece is capturing that feeling that my friend had in university and the feeling I had hearing about the lack of voice the fish had and the silence I found when I was creating.
October 21, 2019
Write down what some of the pebbles of support that helped you through this project you just recollected from the past?
I have an embroidery project that I made of Godzilla that I really loved. It was my first time designing and executing and embroidery project without a pattern. I thin planning and moving slowly really benefited this project. Embroidery is also something that take a lot of slow dedicated time, you can’t just push through and finish a piece in the night! So perhaps there is something about time and space and planning that are pebbles for me?! I tend to not be a planner, I tend to be a slap it together and wing it but this thinking and space really supported this project.
Write down any other things that you already know help you, and support you, when you create?
I need to be so flexible with my time and intentions. Having 3 small children means that my time really isn’t my own and I need to work on things in such a way that I can have lots of breathing space and time to walk away. This is actually a gift in many ways because it lets me keep those soft hands and come back fresh. I also really need to talk through ideas and get feedback. My husband tends to be this ear for me, sometimes I think I should give him and break and pick on other people!
Now take a look at some of the pebble below. Which of these do you think may help you in this chapter or the next?
My pebbles moving forward are to continue to build skills and plan more (mind.) To recognize that time and space really are a gift for my creations and they usually benefit from this, so I need to give myself permission to walk away more and rest (body.) I would really like to cultivate a community of support and accountability for myself. I have benefited and created a large body of reflective work in and the accountability that comes from sharing routinely. I would like to cultivate this for myself again as a way of feeling the supportive push of a community (emotion.) I am really in need of creating a safe place to let all of my inspirations be. I have lots of ideas and sometimes loose them. I would love to be able to have a place where I capture the seed of the idea and hold the spirit of it a journal or notebook. I am not sure why I am unable to sustain this practice (spirit.)