the Makery: fresh on Mondays

"At the end of the day, you can't major in Making Stuff."

The Cheese Monkeys, Chip Kidd

It's unfortunate how infrequently I update this blog lately. When not taking care of my little protege, or feeling guilty about not having more time for other relationships (husband, cats, etc.), most of my free time recently has been devoted to putting together job applications for the next academic year. I've started a couple of blog-based projects (one day I'll figure out how to successfully use this medium for my art), but I'm not ready to show and tell just yet. There's also a lot of strategizing going on. I feel like where I am is probably pretty typical - and necessary, perhaps - for the first year post-MFA.

All that said, I am getting antsy to really start working again. I have a couple of brand-spanking-new ideas but for the most part, I find myself mining past and ongoing projects. During grad school the constant pressure to produce work resulted in a lot of half-baked ideas and, in some cases, boxes of print projects and other products that I never really got around to distributing or utilizing in any satisfying way. I guess this is all part of the strategizing I mention above. There's a lot of raw material that I'm trying to re-present in slightly reconfigured ways. Hopefully all of this effort will result in a showing or two over the course of the next year. Stay tuned for that.

In the meantime, the other thing keeping me from making work is a strong predisposition of late to cease contributing to the piles and piles of stuff we produce and accumulate on a daily basis. Something happened between childhood - when I collected many a trinket and souvenir - and my mid- to late-20s - when clutter, artistic or otherwise, became my nemesis (maybe if I stay put for more than four years at some point in my life, I'll be better about hanging on to both people and things). I blame getting married, moving cross-country, and beginning grad school, all in a period of less than six months, for most of my obsessive-compulsive tendencies that seemed to emerge with a vengeance around that time. This predisposition to hang on to very little, I find, is seeping over into my practice as an artist. I think that must be part of the reason why I became interested in Mail Art (sending and giving things to others) and the Internet (a truly ephemeral medium). Much has been written about the gift-like quality in a lot of artists' work. I think many artists would agree that the process is often a lot more personally and creatively satisfying than the end-product, often much more interesting to those outside this process. Then there's the issue of storage. Not only do I have the desire to let go of my art once it's "finished," but even if I wanted to keep it, I have little space in which to store it.

All of this is a long, rambling way of introducing a self-imposed challenge, one that will hopefully simultaneously satisfy my need to make stuff while using up some of the hundreds of dollars worth of supplies I've accumulated over the past few years. The rules, otherwise, are pretty simple. Using only what I already have on hand, I will make one thing (art, craft, cat toy, etc.) each week, document it, blog about it (by 10 p.m. every Monday evening), and then send it off. Unlike past projects, there will not be a separate blog and I do not expect anything in return.

I've pondered the problem of how and to whom do I distribute this stuff for a few days now. Initially, I thought I'd send each finished product to someone I know, hopefully having someone in mind as I make stuff. But getting rid of my clutter, even if it is reconfigured in an interesting way, might just be contributing to someone else's clutter. I'm not sure how I feel about doing that unless it's solicited in some way. Then I thought about doing giveaways each week but of course, the worry there is what happens if no one wants what I have to offer, even if it is for free? But my projects have met with failure before; this certainly wouldn't be the first time. So, giveaway it is, at least for now. If you like what you see any given week, leave me a comment and I'll do a random drawing at the end of the week to determine who the lucky recipient is.

That's the basic premise. I wasn't going to post this until Monday, along with the Makery's first product, since I have a bad habit of getting excited about a project, getting started, and then losing steam before I've accomplished much of anything. But my first product is actually already done and ready to post, so I thought I'd give you a little intro/preview ahead of the Makery's weekly deadline.

Check back on Monday evening for the full post of week one of this experiment.

No comments: