I really like working with PMC (precious metal clay). It’s a marvelous substance and it involves fire and transformation, so it is truly almost magical or at least alchemical. I love that you can mold it, carve it, build with it, sculpt it…
…and I’m freaking terrified of it.
For some reason, I am just really afraid to open it up and get into it. Maybe because I’m aware that it is fine silver? Because it cost money? I don’t know… I don’t want to do it imperfectly. I’ve often felt that way about new skill sets and art forms I am unused to. It’s not a new phenomenon. Avoid the new and scary, avoid the imperfection, and focus on the easily perfectable. Never risk. Never look bad.
I’m realizing how this has really been a factor in my creative life, since my childhood. In my life as a whole. If I’m gonna look bad or less than perfectly assured, I skip it.
I really have to work myself into a space where I can work with the PMC, and it never really feels like play or discovery. The best way I can characterize opening one of those packets is that it leads to just pure panic. I find myself working as fast as I can, numbing out to the actual process, getting it over with… and that doesn’t really lead to my best work, I’ve gotta confess. I have no idea why this is. But I’m really sick of avoiding a medium just because it scares me. Earlier this week I dug in and panicked my way through a couple of packets, disassociation, fear, speed and all. And by the last packet, I was feeling a little less scared.
Now I’ve got a bunch of imperfectly textured charms and some molded pendants in the greenware state. Pieces that I need to refine and then fire. Nothing brilliantly creative – I mostly used commercial molds and texture sheets – but it felt pretty good to work my way through some of the fear. I guess I’ll just sell these imperfect pieces as “distressed” and “rustic” and “organic” or figure out a way to finish them so their imperfections are part of their charm. I’m gonna keep at it. Try to reclaim the joy I felt during that first Intro to PMC class I took earlier this year. Get better. Get through the gap.
What about you? What scares you? Are you ready to jump into the scary empty places and make it go?