Stepping Out Of The Comfort Zone
Creating work that evokes emotion takes talent, perseverance, practice, and commitment. Sometimes this is enough – and sometimes it can only take us to the very edge of emotion. Each time I find myself teetering on the edge, I know it is time for a little “failure”. It is time for me to step outside of my comfort zone.
For many artists, this is not easy to do. We get very comfortable once we master a technique. It feels good once we learn to make something that people consider beautiful. The more we make the pieces we’ve mastered, the more praise we get. But does the work we have mastered truly evoke emotion? Does it linger on the mind long after it it viewed? Does it make you think about the work when you are not in the studio? On this journey, sometimes the answers to these questions are no; and sometimes the answers are yes. That tells me I am on the right track. It might seem confusing that both a yes and a no can take an artist to the same place, but for me it does.
It also usually takes me towards temporary “failure”. I find myself covered in clay with a pile of work destined only for for the scrap pile. It is work that will rarely be showcased on social media, at art shows, on exhibition, or on most artists’ blogs. But it is a necessary part of any great work. It shows me that what I once thought was impossible, is in fact quite possible. This exit from my comfort is the bridge over the chasm between beautiful work and work that truly evokes emotion. It is pushing my clay so far that I must learn from failure.
In one day at the studio, this is how that part of the journey looks. From never pushing nine pounds of clay past 17 inches to… well… to the next step. From failure to breakthrough.