Process of an Idea

I always get the question, “How long did it take to make that?” and it’s a fair question, with a complicated answer…

The other day, I started building intuitively, meaning that I really didn’t know what I was doing or where I was going with this idea but I kept building anyway. I tried to document the process as I went, taking time to step back and look at what I was working on. This went on for about half a day, then I let this piece sit in my studio and we stared at each other over the course of the next few days after which I promptly threw it in the recycle bin.

Process of an Idea | the dirt | Jenni Ward ceramic sculptureFor me, this is all a part of the process of creating. The ability to let go so that you can refine it in your head and in it’s physical form is crucial to this process. I don’t think of this piece as being gone forever, I think of it as not being ready to be out in the world yet. I also know that there are parts of this form that are very familiar to me and parts that are new, it takes time for these ideas to come together. I like to ask myself questions about the content of my work, “Why am I making this?”, “What did I see that inspired it?” and “Are there other ways to express this concept?”.  All these questions need to have at least some start of answer to them if I’m going to continue investing time into making the work and if I don’t have those answers yet, that’s ok. These questions and these forms don’t go away, they hibernate until they are shaped into something I can verbalize, at least to myself. It may be another decade before this comes to fruition but that’s ok too.

So when you buy a piece of art from an artist and you ask “How long did it take to make that?” remember that you are asking about the hours of experimentation, the hours of failures and the hours of refining that went into the process until the artist was able to make the piece that you are holding.

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