Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Ding-dong, bell.

Sometimes there is a sea change in the studio, 'into something rich and strange'.

THE INNER SIGHT was a big disappointment, and it caused a great deal of soul-searching and thinking back on my last few years of output.

I came to the realization that much of what I have made since my
twins were born almost three years ago has suffered from a bit of an attention deficit (or should I say Traumatic Stress Disorder!). Because my studio time has been squeezed stressfully into my childcare regime, I have not had the brainspace necessary to explore the inspiring avenues that were opening to me in the wake of my Macleay Museum studies. I was also neglecting to rummage properly through my materials, and in doing so I was often on auto-pilot - this eliminated the joyful discovery process that is so central to working with found materials. No wonder I was feeling dissatisfied.

Perhaps simply stating that fact to myself broke the spell. THE
INNER SIGHT out of my mind, I set my outer sights on creating the kind of work that speaks to those impulses that had consumed me before the children arrived. And out of the ashes rose "THE AERIAL OCEAN (MAY IT WATCH OVER YOU)", a double-sided swiveling neckpiece that coalesced alchemically in the studio. It was easily the most thrilling time I've had making artwork in the last three years, and will be my own personal talisman. I will be going into the studio to photograph it properly later today.

What a note to close the studio for a month on. I know that I will return after my teaching travels energized with these revelations.

(A small postscript: this is also the first piece to feature my first glass bead! It doesn't shout out, but it can be seen where the chain joins just over the top of the pendant, nestled in the 'frame' of links.)


  1. hi, What a great work of art... I've been a fan of your work for quite some time and now i am so happy to know you'll be teaching some workshops in at ART-IS in CT this coming Oct, which I have already signed up for.. i look forward to finally meeting you.

  2. Keith, thanks for sharing this leg of your journey. With an almost 3 year old and a 6 month old I can empathize with much of the struggle you face in the studio while trying to be present for your kids. I applaud you for not taking the easy way out and 'checking out' entirely when it comes to being an involved dad. The sacrifices you are making now will resonate clear and loud into your future as you contribute to this world through helping to mold and transfer and form your kids as well as all of the other 'found' things leaving a much grander legacy than through your artwork alone. I look forward to seeing your creative endeavors as you explore ways to integrate your children and possibly their way of seeing and wondering into your 'stuffsmithing'.

  3. Fabulous piece as usual, love the main body thingy and the glass centre piece. Have a great teaching time in the US.

  4. 'Cause I know you love quotes, I'll offer a new favorite that made an impact on me. From Eric Maisel's A Writer's Space (the chapter titled Pluto's Not a Planet Anymore):

    "In our mad world, where (jewelry works) appear, we must live with the spectacular nature of the creative process, where profusion and confusion dance together. ...

    Expect change. Wild change. The kind of change that sends nine out of ten (artists) packing -- but not you."

    Thanks for sharing your process!

    PS We didn't notice one iota of slippage! ;)

  5. Totally awesome Keith,Yes children do come into play when being creative thats for sure but it makes us appreciate the time we do get to create,I fing when Im stressed to the max with my sons cronic illness I produce my best works
    Jen Crossley

  6. Hey Keith,

    Happy trails to Artfest, and it sounds like the amulet made YOU.
    cheers from down the road,

  7. Heith..The Aerial Ocean is an awesome piece! It is sooo "you"! I don't think you ever lost a beat but I'm glad you feel better anyway. I'm looking forward to you coming to MA and taking a class with you. It is such an honor to be able to learn from you.

  8. I'm sorry..I meant Keith...geesh..