Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Today's Theme: Tension

Overflowing and Overwhelming
Sometimes themes in our lives just appear. We don't have to search for them or pull them from our innermost beings, or borrow them from someone else. They're reoccurring thoughts that just seem to come to us again and again. I've heard some call this process "ruminating" or "pondering". I've also heard others describe the thoughts as "whispers" and or perhaps "signposts". Today I woke up thinking about the word tension. I've never pondered the word before but lying in bed this morning I thought about what it means. Tension in a situation is usually considered bad. Tension in a relationship could be good- if it's an excited or anticipatory tension, or it could be a little scary. As in "the tension between them created anger on his side and bewilderment on hers".

Creating the necessary slack
The tension I deal with primarily in my work is physical. When I bend and wrap wire I try to use the tension of the wire to my advantage. I've learned to manipulate it as well. When I begin a sculpture, the first thing I do is throw the spool on the floor and pull up a length of it, wiping with a rag and straightening it slightly as I pull. Try working with wire straight off the spool and it's all spiral-y and much more difficult. Throwing it on the ground gives me a 1-3 ft. slack that eases the tension of the spiral. If I was to cut the wire and work with it as a piece, instead of from the spool, then I've noticed my work looses much of it's gracefulness and fluidity. It's working with the right amount of tension that allows me to get the smooth lines and curves. So here was a case where tension, handled correctly was a necessary and good thing all together.

Simply organized and ready for inspiration to strike!
The other tension I experience is a tension-anxiety. This seems to be most evident when I feel like I have a deadline approaching and I feel overwhelmed. My house actually makes me feel like this often. My studio room ESPECIALLY. It overflows with things that don't really have a home, that fill up my working space so that I don't feel like I can work in it. I end up on the dining room table instead. The larger space of the living room/dining room combined with the clear flat surface of the table allows me to think and process the "to-do" or steps of the project. But I love my art room and would really like to be able to work in it and not just use it as a big supply closet. So I decided to give the organization a go. I started with the fabric. Please note the chaos of the first photo. That is soooo symbolic of my life. Then there's the nicely organized, you can see all the colors, and fabric patterns. This is what I would like my life to be. Somewhere in between these two however, is the comfortable life. I have tried living with all my ducks in a row, all my folds correct, all the patterns showing and it doesn't work for me. Without the tension created by the chaos I wouldn't ever take the time to change-I'd be immobilized. So after a little ruminating, I have to believe that tension, like boredom, necessity, and fear are all positive emotions. They are the emotions that cause me to take action and change- without them life would be static. And really very very boring. :)


Cre8tiveQueen said...

Hey Jen,
I just got the email that your class was not going to run again! =( I am so bummed out! I was really looking forward to meeting you! I wanted to make a flower for my mom for her b-day (which is Friday) I'm wondering if you would still want to do the class with just me? Not sure if I am the only one who signed up? You are such an inspiration and I just love your work.
Let me know what you think!
Thanks so much!

WrightStuff said...

I like this post. Funnily enough today on another blog I saw a picture of Martha Stewart's workroom (I don't know much about her since I'm from the UK, but I gather she is some sort of super housewife?). Anway, it was the most ridiculous room you ever saw - everything was so neat. Huge drawers held two pairs of scissors neatly placed. Paints and inks were lined up equidistant on shelves. It was unbelievable.... I'm with you - a bit of mess is living. Sometimes it gets out of control and we need to pull it back, but how anyone can be creative in such a neat environment as Martha's is beyond me!
PS - found your blog by blog hopping! Nice find!

Jazz Man said...

I completely agree. It's interesting how tension in our lives can cause discomfort and that discomfort then leads to change. So tension becomes a motivator for change. Just like tension, change can be seen as both good and bad, but progress doesn't seem to happen without it. That seems to work on both the physical and emotional level.

Good post, Jen.

Jen said...

Thank you all for your comments!!! I love getting some feedback to things I wrote just because it seems more like an interaction and less like I'm just talking to myself. Thank you thank you thank you!!!