Above, a sorta blurry cell phone picture of the Fortress Key tile while it was in process this summer. I think I mentioned that I carved it at the same time as the Fortress Threshold tile, working on one for a while, and then the other. But what I didn't mention that these two tiles were made in the presence of friends, through the entire process. From designing, to carving, to molding, I was either sitting with friends who were physically in the room with me, or was otherwise in contact with them in the moment, through phone calls or IM conversations. It was an important part of my process, because I wanted to be reminded that I was surrounded by people who kept me safe and secure, and who were helping me to unlock happiness that I had been missing. Now I think of all of these things when I see these designs, and it means a lot to me.
A dear friend made a post today that linked to an article about process and failure, and how people react to those things differently. It is very timely for me, as it is something I am thinking about a lot lately. I think about the processes we go through in life, and how we react and relate to them. And I am in the process of trying to learn from my process, if that makes any sense. Not my technical and material processes in art, I am comfortable in failing and succeeding with those already. Now, I am thinking about the processes of my life and relationships.
When I started researching steampunk, the gear image became an obvious choice for a symbol, as it is prevelant in much of the steam culture. But it has become a very specifically relevant symbol for me personally, one that represents process. The gear is an element that makes the machine work, that moves things along, and is a part that works with other gears to make one big movement. It may be a small thing in itself, but when seen as part of the whole, its importance becomes clear to me. And it is a symbol of movement, working through, processing and continuing... because other parts of the machine need it to be whole. So I have used gears in all of my new tile designs, and when I see them, it makes me think of these things, and helps me question how my machinery (mind, body, heart) is moving.
But speaking of process... The day before I wrote up my description for the Fortress Key tile, I somehow managed to break the mold... clean in half, with one hard smack. It is fixable, I can remake it, but the process to do so is involved. It was unfortunate and frustrating, but I am determined to make it again, and stronger and better next time. And that is what learning from my process means to me.