Thursday, March 22, 2007 8:19 AM

Create a totem.

Part two of the "Exorcise a creative demon" exercise (ha! how often do you get to use those two words together in a sentence?) is to make a creatitivty totem. Because of the deep connection I feel with this painting of mine, I thought about how I could interpret this into something 3d that could sit on my desk or drafting table, and not be so fragile it would fall over.

I thought, a doll! I need to sew! But then I realized I wanted it small enough to sit in the palm of my hand, so I stopped mid-iron (I didn't want her to have wrinkles!), unplugged the iron, and ransacked the house for any kind of modelling material. You would think with 3 preschoolers I would have lots of stuff, but all I could find was brightly colored Play-Doh and I wanted white. All I could find was the world's tiniest can of white. I was so frustrated! So I sketched out what I wanted to make, and waited, rather impatiently.

Finally the weekend came, and even though there wasn't really any time for me to go to the art store, I threw dinner in the oven, gave Paul instructions on what to do with it, and ran (with his blessing). I can't really explain this whole thing except to say that there was another force guiding me and urging me to create. As long as I listened to it, things were good. When I denied it, I got cranky. Very cranky.

I grabbed 10 lbs of clay at the art store and ran home just as dinner was cooling on the stove top. We ate dinner, put the kids to bed, and I escaped upstairs to my studio to GET TO IT. I am by no means a sculptor, so I decided ahead of time to forgive myself and all my mistakes, and just go for it. I spread out all my newspapers and supplies, and opened the box to see that I had not, as I thought, bought 10 pounds of white clay, but instead, bought 10 pounds of brown clay. I took a deep breath, decided that for whatever reason, I was supposed to have brown instead of white, and dug in. Wrapping it back up and returning it to the store was not an option.

I let go of any preconceived notion about what this was supposed to look like, and just started. I thought, dryad. Nurturer. Mother. My figure initially was too girly and I added more and more curves so that she was more fertile and weighted. I made the bird separately, originally so that I could paint the figure better. But now I think that the bird won't always sit there. I want to fill that lap with flowers, shiny rocks, acorns... whatever I find on my walks that speaks to me for the day. When I finally stood up and looked at her, I realized I had created a fertility goddess.

I'm quite pleased with her, but she's not done yet; I plan to paint her vine-y hair green and brown and those tiny leaves bright green; her legs and lap dark brown and black, and paint tree branches growing up her front and winding around her arms.

Or maybe I'll just live a spell with her as she is, naturally. It really doesn't matter because I simply can't mess this up. This is all about the act of creating. As long as I'm creating, and honoring my creative spirit, there are no mistakes.

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