In less than a week I will head up to Ithaca to begin my month-long artist residency. I have been trying to get the household ready for my absence and to make decisions about what to bring with me. I spent most of Saturday in my studio and ended up feeling like I should take everything because, hey, you never know. That bag of shoes that Finn wore when he was two? I needs it! That card of moose antler buttons? What if it turns out that I start making something and moose antler buttons are missing link? Gotta have 'em! Paper scraps circa 1998? Bring'em! And on and on like that. Finally I decided that I would come to my studio on Monday morning on my way of out of town and just pack the car until I get tired of going up and down the stairs or I run out of space in the car, whichever comes first.
That's the kind of sharp decision making that I am famous for.
I have deliberately tried not to think too much about the residency in terms of what, exactly, I will work on. I have several ideas floating around but I have actively pushed them away when they have threatened to come to the surface. I don't want to limit myself. Of course this strategy has had the side effect of making me worry (slightly) that maybe I won't be able to make anything. Maybe I will lose my inspiration. Maybe I have forgotten how to make art. Maybe I suck at art. Maybe I was never an artist the whole time. And on and on like that.
You would think that, after 30+ years, that line of thinking would get tiresome but I see that there is still some traction left in them old thoughts. Fortunately they didn't get very far this time because, as I sat in my studio staring at several decades worth of materials, my hands started to make things. Things like I have never seen before. Ideas and materials started to come together and even if I wanted to stop my hands, I couldn't have. I had to force myself to stop, however, because it isn't quite time yet to get started.