When you visit a craft fair or art show, you see shelves and racks and cabinets filled with beautiful finished products. Fat colorful coffee mugs rounded to fit the cup of your hand, stunning framed photos of frozen waterfalls or birds in flight, the striking drape of a woven wool and silk scarf: their unique beauty stops you in your tracks, earns your admiration, perhaps even secures your ownership.
What we don’t see at the fair are the hours the artist spent bent over the pottery wheel, the precise balance of brute strength and fine pressure required to throw a symmetrical vessel. We don’t witness the lopsided learning curve or the moment of inattention that sends a blob of clay whirling across the studio. We don’t wait with the photographer, bug-bitten and motionless, in the field, or feel her boot crack through the ice that covers a trail of mud. We aren’t privy to the knotted tangles of thread, the beads lost under the radiator, the two discarded muslin mock-ups in the sewing room.
Or the cat who insists on helping.
Anyone who’s ever made anything knows the truth: The creative process is messy. And hard work makes more art than does inspiration.
The same might be said of love and relationships. Continue reading