The Power of the Container
I love this…
This is taken from the ‘new’ book, The Encaustic Studio: a wax workshop in mixed-media art, by Daniella Woolf – that I just got the other day.
“I have been gifted with a wildly fertile, actively creative mind. I look at an object, a pattern, a tree, whatever, and my mind goes to town and morphs, morphs, and morphs. I love to be in that creative place; maybe it’s similar to the experience of meditation for some. However, if I don’t put a harness on it, it can run away with me or paralyze me. I have learned to limit my options, perhaps by color, pen, or medium, but there must be some parameters for my work.
I call this having a container. In some ways, it doesn’t really matter what those parameters are, but simply that they exist. If I give myself free reign and infinite options with which to create, I can’t move. The world is too big. But if I give myself a few limits, I am golden. I can soar and fly and go completely wild within this container.
(I used to) pick a project or give myself an assignment for the month, with limitations that would force me to explore new territory. For example, one December I put these parameters in place: I would work only with black pens, white paper, and two paper shredders. With these simple implements, I developed a new vocabulary for myself. My handwriting and mark-making looked different with just a change of the gauge of the pen or the scale of the work.
Challenge yourself to work with limits. Whether you restrict your selections of materials, colors, or themes, see how far you can go in your art with fewer inputs. Limits create a container for your work that will allow you to explore ideas in depth and go beyond what you think you know about the things you have at hand.
I don’t know about everyone else but this is so true for me. (I have the same problem when I’m standing in front of my closet and haven’t already decided what I will wear that day).
I plan to put this process to work this weekend – I’m expecting an order of supplies tomorrow (hopefully) …so we’ll see!
I’ll let you know how it turns out!
Image of my (glass) desk top taken with my cell phone and the ‘roidizer’ app.