It seemed like a good idea at the time because I’m excited about collage and assemblage right now and sturdy wooden cigar boxes are a handy size for small assemblage pieces. Like a proud mama, I photographed that pile of boxes stacked on the living room carpet, I photographed them in my studio, I even tweeted the photos. And then I conveniently “forgot” them.
Dontcha know it, an empty box is just as intimidating as a blank page or an empty canvas or any other thing that needs to be begun from scratch with “just” an idea. And I didn’t have just the one empty box staring back at me, oh no, because I have to go-all-out-full-tilt-right-over-the-edge when I do things, so it’s:
TEN EMPTY BOXES STARING AT ME.
AND THEY ARE DRIVING ME CRAZY.
By coincidence, I noticed this creativity queue challenge happening over at Tammy’s Daisy Yellow blog. It felt tailor-made for me – and my collection of wooden “Pandora-boxes” I was less and less willing to open.
(Even better, I enjoyed Tammys index card a day or “icad” project last year, which eventually lead to the “colorful” header on the blog now. Which bright new header was a step toward coming out of my recent ahem blog hiatus. Because tiny things really do make a difference. Believe it!)
So for this challenge today, I love Tammy’s list of suggestions on starting:
TO DO LIST
GETTING THINGS DONE
JUST DO IT
I love the concept of working separately, yet in community.
I love the idea of publishing my work – it’s all good, in theory.
But we all know “begin” can be a tough switch to click. Isn’t it “funny” how having a publication deadline can be helpful – for me, I’m due to publish this tomorrow. Also, photos are better taken during daylight because flash messes with the colors.
So here’s how it went down, step by step, with those
TEN STINKIN’ LITTLE BOXES:
#1. I can’t decide which box to start with, have been hemming and hawing over that all week. But the clock is ticking and I have to do something and do it quick. I make the BIG decision to start with a matched pair of boxes because “twins” seem less threatening than just one. Maybe because it feels like there is a spare? Voila: Specific Boxes!
Deciding WHERE to start is HUGE. It gives me a focus, which in turn streamlines subsequent decisions. And suddenly, it doesn’t seem that hard.
#2. I pull out pieces of paper and supplies: tissue paper, crumpled and stained drawing paper, bubble wrap, water color paints with glittery sheen, glimmer spray, acrylic medium and a scraper made from a plastic card….. Voila: Starting Colors!
This is beginning to feel like a fun adventure I can’t wait to get my hands on. Suddenly, I have a “brain wave” thought and
#3. I dig out the fortune cookie fortunes I’ve been collecting. I only find 3. I don’t let that stop me, but I start to dilly-dally, wavering over which 2 of the 3 fortunes to use. Nooooooooooooooo time for that! I solve the problem by grabbing another box and then I drop a paper into each box without looking at what the papers say. Voila: Themes!
This feels like solid progress, like things are beginning to take shape and come together. It’s really sort of a relief, now that I’ve gotten started. The problems I had been wrestling with, the questions about materials, colors, theme(s), and even which size and shape and how many boxes have all been sorted out in one quick session.
#4. I stop to take pictures and congratulate myself on the flurry of progress I’ve made so far. (And mostly resist the temptation to wonder why it has taken me over a week to actually do this.)
But wait. I know I’ve been stewing over it all week while I went about my daily life and seemingly “did nothing” about the boxes. I know that in the background my brain has been mulling it over and trying on this and that to see what might work…so today the answers seemed to pop right up like magic.
Best of all, going forward is easier because I know what to do next: use the papers to line and/or cover the boxes, color more paper if needed (I set out the sea salt and isopropyl alcohol toys to play with)
and then ponder what to add to the boxes to transform them into that series of assemblages I had in the back of my mind when I snatched up that serendipitous pile of boxes off the sidewalk in front of the fancy shmancy (and smelly) cigar store in Pasadena last week.
In other words, I have no clear idea (yet) what they will turn into. But no longer do I have (scary) “empty boxes” staring at me. These little boxes are now a project in process; I am free to play around and see what happens next.
I am kind of in love with them. I’m calling them #Boxettes.
Boxette #1 (Don’t do something, just stand there!)
Boxette #2 (Dreamer’s Destiny aka DoubleD)
Boxette #3 (r a I n)
And ya know what? The leftover boxes are just pinching and shoving and squiggling, they are so eager to get off that shelf. I hope they can wait their turn like civilized little boxes should. If not, that’s OK too. There’s plenty of room on my table, now that there’s some forward momentum.
p.s. If you happen to have any spare fortunes in your junk drawer, I’d really appreciate it if you could send them my way?
p.p.s. Do check out the rest of the posts and participants in this fun creativity challenge over at Daisy Yellow!