Classical artists often referred to their Muse and depicted her as a sort of Angel of Inspiration – a heavenly beauty that would waft down from on high, whisper a few sweet nothings of miraculous encouragement and then evaporate as mysteriously as she had materialized.
I have a muse.
She’s decidedly un-heavenly.
She’s a whiny, petulant, annoying, relentlessly persistent, grossly overindulged, six-year old. She gets an idea into her fevered little brain and simply refuses to let it go, tugging obstinately at the skirts of my psyche until the grown-up part of me – the part that is most likely trying to write the step-by-step instructions for my next class – sighs in exasperation and gives in to her pig-headed demands for attention.
But here’s the secret… she’s usually on to something.
Like most jewelry artists, I have trained myself to be on the lookout for “faces” in my work and to assiduously avoid them. The human mind is trained to see faces even in things that are not meant to have them (like wallpaper, carpeting, drapery fabric) and – once spotted – it’s almost impossible to un-see them. They become a distraction. So, there’s nothing more infuriating than spending twenty or thirty hours on a necklace only to discover a pair of eyes and a nose peeking at me like “Kilroy was here” from within the otherwise lovely swirls of my work.
Last week, I was working on instructions for a new necklace kit and, going over my photos, I thought I saw.. was it? Is it? Is that a face?! Not really… it’s too wide… no, that’s not a face… And up pops my inner six-year old, unwelcome as Rumpelstiltskin.
“You know what that looks like?!” she’s practically vibrating with the sheer glee she finds in having discovered one of my mistakes.
“Go away,” I grumble.
Undeterred, she leans in and whispers, “It looks like one of those big dragon thingies they have in Chinese New Year parades!”
And “poof,” she’s gone leaving nothing but the faintest whiff of bubble-gum and a new, infuriatingly unshakeable idea that will drive me to distraction until I act upon it…
These are the results of my Google search starting with the search phrase “Chinese New Year Dragon Thingy” and through which I learned that there are costumes made for both Dragons and Lions used in these parades;
This is the new sketch incorporating the aforementioned offending element;
And this is my resultant Chinese New Year Dragon. I think there are still some refinements I want to make the shape and I’m not sure what, ultimately will become of this compulsively-created creature… a necklace? A pin? An evening bag closure? I don’t know. But I have to admit – however grudgingly – that I really like this little thing pushed on me by my maddening muse. And I want to make more.
God, I hate it when she’s right.