Wednesday, August 08, 2007

My Natural State

Recently got a call to do some carving on a theatrical stage set production for a show called "The Gypsy". It's been two years since I've done any work for the scene shop. Two years since I've done any sculpting of any kind. Two years too long. I got lucky in that the job was fairly small and simple, something good to warm up on and get the blood flowing. The job was to carve in styrofoam (the medium of choice in the stage production trade) a column of stylized leaves held together by ties of fabric. The column is eighteen inches wide and ran around a large portal about 18 feet high by 30 wide. The first day of work I was a little nervous that I'd forgotten how to shape the foam, but in no time I knew that the hands didn't forget and the foam started to fly. I had not realized how much I've been missing sculpting and working hard and physically with my hands until I was doing it again. My day job is mostly sitting at a computer, so to crouch and sweat and make art in the muggy heat was a joy.

By the end of the first night, I was working two-handed, a blade in each hand, blurry samurai dreams in the back of my mind and a deep sense of satisfaction rolling through neglected parts of my soul. Sculpting and art-making is a natural state for me. Too often I forget this as my life is consumed by job and house duties. Having said that though, I don't feel the urge to try and make a living from my art as I once did. I found it is a tricky balance between commerce and art; the demands to sell my creative efforts often smothered the good feeling of just making stuff. For now, I'm glad to have an outlet for my creative urges. In the future, when life is soft and grey and slow, I need to remember my natural state and pick-up the pen or knife and get down and create.