Friday, July 29, 2011

Bridging the gap

I was taking pictures for work, a kids toy for an ad.  Now I am not a photographer, at all, actually I have more of a negative sense of photography if that is possible, I think if I take a picture it will actually make it worse.  But I have always like photography, my sister started taking classes when we were in high school and she has a natural eye for it.  She helped me understand and appreciate the art form.

Marci Brandt - our uber talented friend - takes most of the pictures for the graveyard.  She make is look much better that it really looks. Almost what I think it should look like....if I actually knew what I was doing :)

Anyway, that got me thinking.  I know that their photo skills look effortless, but both of them would (and have) told me otherwise.  It took time and patience and most of all love.  You have to want to express yourself and have it drive to create something.  The rest is just practice.  Many of us, myself included, never get past that part.  I always assumed if I was talented then things would just come easy.....isn't that how it is with everyone?

About the same time I was thinking this - this poster came across from one of my Twitter friends.  I have to say, I wish I had seen this years really would have changed my understanding of creativity.

I guess in a way I did know some of it....but not really understand it.  I know someone who likes our angel statue, but always thought it should be better and has been talking about making their own "perfect" angel statue.  

They commented to us what they do not like in our versions (and trust me, I see it too) and how their version is going to be so perfect.  We have been having this discussion for years now....we have built three angel statues in that time.....none of them are perfect.  But I do have three physical props and a whole lot of knowledge.....they still have a lot of ideas and some false starts.  Don't get me wrong, I sincerely hope that the first prop they make is as perfect as they see it. The disappointment that you get when your finish prop is not what you saw in your head is hard on the ego....I don't wish that on anyone.

So I now see my angels differently.  Looking at them in this light I would have to say their value lies in that we learned from our mistakes each time and the next version is just that much better.  Actually one of them became "Joan of Arc" - and allowed me to do the first ever international collaborative prop with PumpkinBrain.....I got a cool prop and a great friendship out of the deal.  I would have never found that if my idea as still living perfectly in my head and not "un-perfectly" in the physical world.

If we waited until we could make a perfect prop, we would never make anything.  I have made more than my fair share of not "perfect" props.....many of them are in the yard and I am fine with that.  They represent the creative process of the most fantastic group of people I know.  In that way, they are perfect and priceless.

But, trust me, we are never satisfied and I can tell you that you will likely see several more angels and abbey facades, many more tombstones and props.  Someday, probably not as soon as we would like, we will be creating things that are as good as our ambitions (or Toph's drawings - sorry, that is totally an inside joke....remind to explain it to you all someday.)

......I am not done yet....I know this post is long.  I should have told you to take a potty break before reading.

For those of you that struggle with creating something.....and for those of you that do create amazing things, I imagine you are going to understand this next bit.

I have been toying with little Halloween creations for a while now.  Inspired by the many, many talented bloggers who have beautifully creepy Etsy stores.....I am so jealous of all of you :)  I have made a few things....but they all seem so, well, just not even close to as good as anything else I have seen.  I would be totally embarrassed to claim any of my frog queen follies as art.  Yes, I am a coward, have been all my life.  

I tell myself I am too busy working on other things....but the truth of the matter is (sleep is overrated) I am sure I could find a few hours a week do keep making things....awful things, until my stuff did not suck so much.  But I don't, cause the thought of another project that I spend hours of time on coming out looking like shit just defeats me.  That is my own fault.  I do own that, and I am not proud.

Following this line of thinking - that believing that I things must be "perfect" - the first time, I have really set myself back on many things that I should have done right now.  Husband and I have been talking about a book for years.....we have a lot of work done on it - but it is not finished.  Although I do some print design work for a living, this one is over my head...I have tried a couple times and was just overwhelmed by the project.....and how I really did not know anything about book design and I have a lot of work ahead of me.  So I am really the problem with that whole project, if I would have kept moving from the start, even at the slow pace.....I would be done right now and there would be a Davis Graveyard book.

But I am learning.  Husband and I are working on another secret project.  It is not coming out as I would like it....but I realize that if I keep stalling this to try and redo things to make them perfect, the project will never get done.  I have to, let's see, how do I want to say this.....not exactly "lower my standards" (well, actually that is part of it) but just get over myself and realize that this is going to be far from perfect when it is done....and yes, there are things wrong, and yes,  there are going to be people that call it crap or nitpick - trust me I will be right with them in the front row cringing.....but I am going to finish it, and because I am finishing it and putting it out there....the next one will be that much better and the next one better still.

At least that is the feeling that I get when I sit real still with my cup of tea and tell all the voices in my head to just stop for a minute and let me do something....cause endless limbo, although drama free and safe, is pretty frickin' boring.  Failing hurts - sometimes I really think I will not make it through, but I have made it this far.

So, my friends, onward through the gap! See you all on the other side!

Been a long time since I posted on the Folly this post was not long enough!


  1. Good for you!
    Perfect does not exist. Never did, never will.
    Getting your work to be what you want it to be is not a problem, it's a process, and all it takes to get there is to keep doing it.
    Being. SO MUCH better and a whole lot easier than becoming.

  2. You have NO idea how much I needed to read this!! Thanks so much! This post encourages me in ways I cannot even describe

  3. WOW!

    I've just printed this entire blog post and posted it on my office wall for inspiration. You're preaching the Gospel here!

  4. Amen, Sister Frog Queen! I needed that kick about 5 years ago, but I wasn't ready to hear it then. I'm a Virgo so I'm just screwed to begin with, but I had to find flaws in the work I admired to accept them in my own work. I'm embarrased by my older work. Hell, I shudder at the schtuff I just made a month ago!
    It's a process not a destination.

  5. Ack, I might make myself read this outloud for 30 days straight, and see if it makes a habit.

    Well written post, we all appreciate it :)

  6. now, THIS is an inspirational blog. thank you!

  7. This is a great, great post. As someone who has worked in a creative field for 13 years, I can completely sympathize. I still see other peoples' work and am amazed and jealous. I simply use this as creative reference and inspiration to continually improve my own work. Only with time and practice will you learn to hone your craft and make the important realization of when something is "done." You can work and re-work a project for infinity and still never be totally happy. Every project has to stop somewhere. Present the work when you're "done" with it. In time you'll look back and see ways to improve on the original. This is when you'll realize that your work is always improving. Now I'm off to rework some tombstones from 6 years ago...

  8. Great post! As Mike C. stated, "Perfect does not exist".
    I think most anyone who creates, feels that what they create can be a bit 'inferior' to the next guys and it can be quite intimidating to show their work to others for fear of ridicule, criticism, etc. But we all have a unique style and must practice, practice, practice to achieve some level of satisfaction with our own creations.
    And what we may find unsatisfactory, can be 'perfect' to someone else. Beauty is definitely in the eye of the beholder!

  9. Love this post! I am a reformed perfectionist - but I still attend meetings ;)

    Very encouraging and inspirational post! Thanks!!


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