Process over product.  Kids seem to have it mastered and adults get hung up over it. Ironically, it even managed to stump me when writing this blog post, creating a barrier for me as I fretted over the right things to say. Clearly, I’m still learning to embrace the concept. As a result, it remains work in progress. Yet, as I change, so does my practice.

There’s a vulnerability that comes with creating, because unlike many endeavors, it’s out there for others to see. While we know there is a beauty in this sharing, it also inspires intimidation. As a result, we want the end product to be perfect. Whether it be visually or in content, understandably so, we want to accurately communicate our message.

So, what’s an artist to do? While it’s a tricky area to navigate, I think the first step is vocalizing our experiences with one another. This helps remove some of the isolation. I know for me, simply talking to other artists has helped me shift my perspective. As a result, I’ll attempt to share my experiences as best as I can with you. So, here we go.

During a time in which I felt inhibited by my anxiety, I struggled to make art. I was stuck in my own fears, and as result, had to reconsider my approach within my practice. So, I started channeling my creative energy into a new space. I stopped focusing my attention on the need to produce, and instead focused my attention on sharing the experience of creating with others.
Specifically, I did two things. Firstly, I started making art with kids. This has enabled me to share what I love with others, while also helping me to embrace the imperfections that comes with creating.  Kids don’t worry about the end result, they just dive right in, enjoying the process. As should we.

Secondly, my patient mother taught me how to sew. Now don’t get me wrong, my sewing is still a work in progress. That’s the beauty of it though. I find solace in the learning process. I appreciate the way stitching focuses my attention on the moment, becoming a way for me to reflect and process my anxiety. I enjoy learning new stitches. I enjoy making my own patterns and attempting to sew it together. And most importantly, I enjoy spending time with my mother. This act has not only reconnected me to the creative process, it has reconnected me to those within my life. And as a result, I have found healing in the work.

So, I guess for me, creating for others is what has helped. Working with my community and other artists has helped me push through times of difficulty. While it’s something I’m still working on, focusing on the relational aspects of art, and the healing that comes with it, provides me a way to create. It shifts my attention to the present. So, if you’re struggling, I suggest creating with others. It makes the whole process a little less intimidating.

The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this blog belong solely to the Spokane Art School Artist-in-Residence, and not necessarily to the Spokane Art School.