Tuesday, August 27, 2019

The Chaos of Unfinished Projects

I  attended a weeklong Book Arts Course at the University.
So many super workshops with accomplished artists: 
"Letters to the Page", a workshop on calligraphy as related
to the art book, began with mark making, 
loosening up on giant paper.
My cup of tea, spontaneous, direct.

 "Comics-Based Narrative Workshop":
Triggered lots of spontaneous story ideas 
& an awareness of the art of the graphic novel.
"Cross Structure Bindings" taught hand sewing!
Not spontaneous & direct, but: 
I loved the calm & orderly process. Not chaotic!

"Printed Patterns & Accordion Books"!! 
Making large sheets using childhood crayon resist, 
but this time it was
a white China Marker under Daniel Smith watercolors!
Above, I created small panels outside of class.
(But that accordion is unfinished.)
I had a makeshift studio in my home away from home
during the week on one simple card table.
It was easier to focus, no bills, paperwork, dishes or laundry.
 In my own home my dining area has become my workspace. (It's my favorite space in the house.) 
And now the work is spreading to the living area!  Arghhh!

 It may not look that chaotic (I spiffied it up for the photos
the way you clean for guests), 
but my unfinished final project for the class exhibition, 
& other projects, are everywhere! 
My unfinished wildflower book...so little left to do,
and yet I am stuck...
And there are so many other ideas
that haven't even begun to materialize on paper
but are swimming around in my brain.

Wouldn't the solution be to move the work
to a separate studio space?
Not sure, because a lot of the unfinished chaos 
seems to be in my head.

Sketching: One reason I love it: 
It's my direct, spontaneous response.
I don't deliberate & agonize over too many ideas & choices.  

Oh, Dear Readers, please give me some tips for
escaping this stuckness,
because I just want to finish my 3 handmade books!


  1. What a fun course. I love that sort of workshop

    About being stuck (this works for me): ONE AT A TIME and finish it.

  2. Such beautiful work!! I get stuck too - but for me, I hang a 'reward' for finishing -- might be an ice cream -- short trip, movie -- SOMETHING -- that I want to do -- but won't allow myself until a project is DONE! Or a make a deal with a friend to do that project together -- me finishing my project, my friend working on her own. The company seems motivational ... I hope this helps!

  3. We never use our dining room except for family dinners..and really w/ everyone it's a tight fit.But the furniture was my grandafather's judge's chambers and my parents had it and I had it..have it..
    But I can't look at chaos except during the chaotic creating..kitchen..studio..then I have to sparkle it:) So I need a remote room to create..If you have an extra bdr..try that then the chaos may not bother you and it will open zen passageways of creativity when you are not surrounded by it:) Can be overwhelming:) It all looks like soo much fun and excitement to me.Things like these keep me awake:)

  4. I'm on the dining table, too. And yes, it spreads. It's so much easier at the lake because there is less stuff here. I haul the painting to the porch (unless it's too windy and then bring in that table here) and I only bring up what I'm working on. Somehow at home, everything migrates to my work space, whether it is art or not.

    As for stuck -- deadlines work for me. Back against the wall. I come up with something. And I get it done. Of course, if you get the flu two days before the deadline, could be trouble... I know!

    And I love all the things you shared here. Those little blooms are so pretty in their stands like that! And the sketches always, always make me smile big. One of my happy places here!

  5. I have no ideas for how to get unstuck but do agree with the advice by La Table De Nana, as it makes sense to me..A totally separate space for your project..Good luck....Love the wildflowers....

  6. If you figure out how to get unstuck and finish, let me know! I have several unfinished sketchbooks, and projects that are un-begun since I haven't finished others...

  7. I'm not sure order and creativity should be in the same sentence. I love your paper solutions.
    Where ever you feel comfortable working is a good place. I do some of my best idea work on the bus or metro. I've thought of staying on till the end of the line..using it as a studio. Any flat area in my place is a work area, including the floor, so I'm not a good example.

  8. Hi again, Rita -- sorry to answer questions from you at my blog on yours but didn't know how else to get in touch. First, the Carnet book is one I got from a recommendation from you! I love it. Took forever to arrive via Amazon but I find his work very motivating in allowing me to free up a bit. And thanks for the recommendation of "The Natural Way to Draw." I find the graphite is good for a suggestion (getting the perspective and lines straight and almost essential for portraits for me) but not quite so much fun. I've been happy with my experiments but I think I'll order this one when I get home -- a good tutorial to keep me going in the winter! And finally, there are ticks in Michigan but since I tend to walk the road BY the woods rather that deep IN them, I've yet to encounter one. Thanks for all your wonderful comments and especially the recommendations!

  9. Sorry to be coming at this so late, but so happy to see all this and to know you did finish the wildflower book! Brava, Rita! xx


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