A Matter of Trust
Last week I wrote about being inspired by the challenge of working out a new idea for a piece of art. Problem solving is one aspect that I truly love about this medium of altered book art. Good thing I like the challenge!
Recently a customer contacted me and asked for a custom piece that would be a gift for a friend. He wanted something like a school of fish with the folded book style. Sure–why not?
I started with a line drawing of a school of fish. It quickly became apparent that without color, the fish parts all become very confusing–little bits of fins and tails showing here and there between bodies. I knew it would only be worse with the vertical lines of book pages and with text and illustrations showing on the pages.
Before even touching a book, I had several iterations of a pattern that might or might not look like fish in the end. Layering the fish in 3-D was going to be essential, but the layering introduced some additional technical challenges. The question lingered–is this going to resemble a school of fish when I’m done?
In painting, I’ve talked about an “adolescent stage” where the foundation of the painting is laid, but it’s ugly and doesn’t look at all like the finished product. Eventually the “mature” painting evolves.
Book art is totally different. Rather than being a slow evolution with an awkward stage in the middle, it’s more like standing at the edge of a cliff with a hang-glider strapped to your back. There is a ton of careful planning, but then you actually have to start cutting up the book. And there’s no going back. It feels like you are stepping off the cliff.
With the first stroke of the scissors, you are trusting your process the same way you trust that the wind is going to catch that glider.
In hang-gliding, there is only a moment of uncertainty before the wind catches you and you know you are safe.
I’m happy to say that my artistic process did not let me down! And the client loved the book as well. I’m looking forward to hearing how the gift-giving went.
The bottom line is you can spend a lot of time planning but at some point, you have to jump off the cliff with trust. Whether in art, or business, or with raising kids. It’s all the same. At some point you just have to trust.
What do you think?