Thursday, 14 May 2009


I was about to reply to a comment left by Ephemera to last weeks blog, but it started me thinking about the different ways creative people need to ‘fill the well’ of creativity.

For writers, although they claim to need a log cabin in the mountains to complete their work, when what they really thrive on is life. That constant being out there, milling with people, having new experiences, and the discipline of routine to keep their lives and mind in order (and I live with one, so I know how disorganised they can be without a routine!) It is all this experiences and people they meet that both keep their feet on the ground whilst providing the back of their heads with new ideas and characters; it is what fills their wells.

For people like me visual language is more important, which I think is why we suffer the daily grind rather than revelling in it; unless luckily already employed in a creative career, which then we would unlikely be compelled to branch out into our own workshops and studios. For us the routine of seeing the same faces on the same trains, in the same offices, sat at the same screens, becomes the slow death of the artist. We turn inwards and more often than not it’s self-esteem that suffers first ‘if I was a better artist, I wouldn’t be here,’ and so the slow rot begins…

So last weekend we went off for a day at the seaside, Walton-on-the-Naze, which is a lovely bit of crumbling coastline just beyond the bucket & spade hell (for me) of Clacton. The railways bus-replacement service turned it instead into a surprisingly enjoyable adventure as we got the slow route drive around country lanes and villages we’d normally speed though on the trains. A big plate of fish & chips, walk along beach to the Naze tower, and then back home. I didn’t feel like it had blown the cobwebs entirely away, but certainly felt like I’d been away for a week, not a day.

However to combat the daily grind, which has been rather more oppressive than usual, I have taken the rare step of taking an entire week off rather than just an odd day here and there. I also raided the piggy bank and finally invested in a much needed 2nd oxycon unit. These are a great alternative to oxygen tanks, which although they produce a better flame they are very expensive and dangerous to have around. Oxycons take oxygen from the air and condense it, not as pure but it means when they are turned off there is hardly any compressed oxygen in them so they are safe! Here is a picture of my current one, I shall take some time to also tidy the workshop and find a new home for the second one. This will allow me more control over the colours in boro, when there is not enough oxygen in the flame, the flame ‘steals’ oxygen from the hot glass making some colours turn muddy and even change colour! I have one lovely metallic black that each time I’ve tried using it, it’s gone cream instead! I am looking forward to making some marbles with that one in it’s true colour soon, plus a few other very special new bits of glass I am still awaiting from USA; more in another post about those soon ;-)

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