This morning my desk is as clean as it has ever been because I’m unboxing something very delicate and fragile. I’ve been on the fence about sharing this moment and this project, but I think it’s a good opportunity to peel back a curtain and talk openly about something I think a lot of artists struggle with: fear.
These pieces are for a Kumiko lantern being made by a very talented woodworker. They are just a portion of a stunning panel that will be backed with Japanese paper. The craftsman asked me to pen illustrations onto the paper panels. When we initially discussed it, I had no idea how lovely and intricate these panels would be. When I peeked in the box, I had a bit of inner panic. Ok, a lot bit of inner panic.
I’ve never made illustrations for panels. I’m scared to even touch the paper because it’s so pristine. What if my ideas absolutely don’t work or fit? Basically a flood of bad thoughts.
We then talked about the project and the reason he didn’t give me specific direction, he wanted me to be able to create some ideas without limitations. Wow. That’s a lot of trust.
I’m not sharing this story for a pat on the back or a “you can do it,” I’m sharing it just to say, sometimes we creatives don’t have it all together. There’s a lot of reflective questioning happening, and for me, for a long time, that questioning ended saying, “Sorry, I can’t do that,” not even knowing if I could or couldn’t, but being too fearful of failure to try.
Truth be told, what I create may not be the right fit and the maker could still decide to leave plain paper panels, which would look wonderful. And, if that happens, that’s ok. However, a weird shift happened over night in me from fear to excitement because it might just turn out to be something unique that I never expected to take part in.
I share it to say, take a breath. Maybe don’t say no right away. Know your limitations but also reevaluate them from time to time. Know it’s ok to fail but it’s also ok to push yourself beyond what you think you might be capable of.
I will keep you posted and be 100% honest in the outcome, whether my designs are used or not.
#workwithyourhands #handcrafted #maker #woodworking #artist