Sunday, January 14, 2007


Today was one of those days when stuff just falls into place. After a crappy week feeling really stuck with a project I am working on, I woke early with my mind abuzz. I brewed myself a nice cup of coffee, drank it from my favourite Alex Watson cup (above), went downstairs where I had pieces of the said project laid out on a big table, sat and stared at them for a bit while the coffee kicked in, moved a few things around, swore to myself, and then BANG! There it was! The answer to what was bugging me about the work. I tell ya, that is the best feeling in the world!

The process of developing work for an exhibition always surprises me. I always get to a point (particularly as deadlines loom!) where no matter how much I think, turn it around, read, write, draw, make… it just feels like it’s not coming together. I start to get anxious….start to stress out…panic that this time it’s just not going to work…and then there it is! It’s the same every time, and you would think I would learn to relax and trust the process, but there is always this period of anxiety just before things fall into place. I guess it’s a necessary part of my process and if I did relax about it and trust that it would come together perhaps it just might not! It seems like that period of stress is what produces the result, the adrenalin fires up another part of the brain that swings into action to save the day! Ridiculous! Anyway, I’m just bloody glad it happened today and I can relax again!!

I am always interested in the way people work, in their process. I don’t mean that in the sense of how they technically create something, but more in how the mental and the physical processes interact. I have a friend who sits around and seemingly does nothing whilst I am madly making making making, and then just when you think she is never gonna make the deadline she just pulls something fabulously resolved out of thin air. (oh and I hate her for it!!). But that is the way she works. She thinks very deeply about it, works everything out in her mind before making anything, and then just does it. Whereas I process it all as I make. I have a vague vision of what I want in the end, I have ideas about what I want the work to say, but it is the steps in the making process that tell me where to go next. I just start making and let it all unravel as I go, let it gradually reveal itself. This often doesn’t happen right until the end, sometimes only days before an exhibition! Thus the stress out periods! As you can imagine, I sometimes struggle with projects that require you to say exactly what it is you are going to make from the outset and lock you in to that! Or when you need to have images ready months in advance for a catalogue or invitation! It kills me! It’s killing me now!!

But there are also times when things just flow, when ideas abound and the possibilities seem endless, when the kiln is just a glowing ball of goodness, those rare times when you marvel at your own genius (ha!!). Oh it’s all a bit of fun really!

The cups above are by Alex Watson. They are my absolute favourites and the brown one is the one I was drinking from when the epiphany happened. More on favourite cups - and Alex Watson - soon. The other image is mine. (geez, I'm blogging like a maniac this weekend! Somebody stop me!)


854141 said...
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Florence said...

I love those Alex Watson mugs. I can smell the luscious, brown liquid coffee curling its way to me...oh for my morning coffee!

I find it very rewarding reading about the practises of other artist.

viva la blog ;)


Rebecca-the-Wrecker said...

i'm afraid i'm one of those angst-ridden makers like yourself who fears that they won't be able to come up with the goods due to some deep personal inadequacy and casts around desperately for all sorts of creative lifelines, making making making hoping to stumble on something that actually works! Must admit, coffee does help, especially out of a handmade cup made with care and love.

Mel Robson said...

Hi Florence, I'm always intrigued by the way other artists work, and also by the stories of how they got there.I think I may have to start collecting some of those stories and posting them! And Rebecca - glad I'm not alone!

terraflora4 said...

Mel we seem to be at many places at the same time ...your work is brilliant I can't wait to the little ones can eventuallly give me more time to mass produce..the artists ball game definitly makes one spin up and and out...altough us made people can't get enough of it!

loving your work

Adrienne KNeebonex

Mel Robson said...

Hi Adrienne, thanks...seems we keep crossing paths!! We'll have to stop meeting like this..!