Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Ashoka: Without Sorrow

            I believe artists, any kind of artist, struggle from time to time. Struggle with what they do creatively, with how they feel about their art, how others see it, whether it's what they want to be doing. This is partly a process as their art progresses to the next step and they become more aware of their skill and the pieces they work on, and are striving to make it better. I have learned so much over the past year about myself, my skills, and my creative interests; opening this box of learning for me, bringing in awareness of so many new concepts and ideas. 

             Of course along with this comes a very conscious and critical awareness of all these very things in my work and how lacking it is. I go through periods of immense doubt and criticism in everything I create, especially so if I am making something for someone else. It is important to find that balance between trying to put all you want and know into a piece, keeping the idea I fell in love with; but also making it skillfully sound so that others can respond to it without seeing the flaws. Back when I didn’t know so much about things relevant to my interests, the idea was important but it had to be executable within my limited skill set. But as my repertoire has expanded, the knowledge and learning available have made it possible for me to do a larger scope of work consequently bringing in more critique.

          Along with enthusiasm, motivation, excitement, ideas, a plan, and inspiration, this project Ashoka began with its share of doubt and starting troubles. I had to keep in mind the desires and requests of the owner of the piece while maintaining my signature and the integrity of my work. 

          The Mandala in this project served as a gathering center of all my energies, the process of working on this piece drawing out all my doubts and forces. In a mandala, the circle represents the dynamic consciousness of the individual, the square symbolizes the physical world bound in four directions. Just as form is crucial to a mandala so is color…white for reality, red for discernment, blue for wisdom, yellow for sameness, and green for accomplishment.

          In the end, just as the mandala’s purpose is to remove the object-subject dichotomy, the process of working on this piece brought clarity and a grasping of the essence of me and the piece in turn. In this mandala I found that my deepest intuitions were crystallized and expressed in the work in this piece, erasing all doubt and proving that the essence and concept of this piece preceded its form. I was able to successfully balance my style of work with the likes of the client.

Handmade Gifts

Diwali Luminaries

             Come festival and holiday season and I find myself combing through my favorite magazines, websites, blogs, and Pinterest for unique gifts that can be handmade. They are so much better than impersonal gift ideas or a trip to the crowded mall. I love the whole process of thinking about the person who the gift is for, planning the project, and of course executing it successfully. You end up with a pretty gift that is not only is budget-friendly and nice, but that also gave the pleasure of working on a new project. So much fun!

             For my Diwali party I put up lots of colorful string lights outside and brightened the inside of my home with pretty little lights and candles allover. I also used sandalwood scented candles in all the candle holders around my home…I love the scented woodsy warmth of sandalwood, especially during the colder months. I wanted to give my friends coming for the party a little gift to bring back to their home....from my home to theirs. I decided to make a collection of luminaries keeping with the spirit of the festival of lights.

              These luminaries were a good way of personalizing my Diwali party and at the end of the evening, my friends were able to take one home. The tiny touches of sparkle and metallics added festivity to my mantle. Though essentially they are not what I had envisioned, I am happy with these results. I also got to try out a couple of new products available by Martha Stewart. One is a translucent glass paint in fine glitter metallic colors and the other is a reusable adhesive stencil specially for applying designs to curved surfaces.

             I cannot imagine a better way of spending the holiday season than with my family, creating lovely things for my home and for the people I love and care about. So here's to spreading some crafting cheer and warmth….make something special for friends and family. And hoping you can find inspiration for handmade gift ideas at The Sandalwood Box!