Leslie Blackford and Ira Glass – Keep making art

I’m allowing myself an existential moment. And Leslie Blackford’s polymer clay figure says it all (the mask flips up to reveal a much less benign character).

I’m doing a little self-talk about how to be a studio artist. Who knew the prospect would panic me? Here’s a great little video piece by Ira Glass. It’s not my usual Friday fare but this is special.

I love the idea of closing the gap between your good taste and the quality of the work you produce. Have a special weekend.


  • reply Melanie West ,

    Wow, that was a really interesting piece by Ira Glass, Cynthia. Thanks for sharing it. I love to hear how artists who’s work I admire got to where they are.

    I do disagree on one major thing he said, however… perhaps this is just a difference between mediums, or perhaps just a difference between personalities… but I don’t agree with him on having to “fight” to close the gap. I prefer words like “allow the process to play itself out”. He also used the word “work” way too many times (and again, this may be a personal thing). I prefer to look at the process as work/play. If you aren’t finding joy in your work, then you may never be able to close the gap.

    I also have trouble with the focus being on the “product”. It’s taken me 50 years, but I have finally found that it isn’t about the product, it’s about the process. A hard concept to wrap your head around… but it has been an invaluable lesson for me.

    Sorry for the rambling. I’m working on just a few hours of restless sleep… I bad cold has left me with nasty coughing fits through the night. pft!

    Anyway, thanks yet again Cynthia, for another terrific, thought provoking post!

    • reply Rebecca Geoffrey ,

      Thank-you so much for this post. I am definitely one of the many who know they can do better but still trying to get the experience “under my belt” in order for that to happen. I am on my way though. Very encouraging and insightful post.

      • reply Libby Mills ,

        That was a great piece by Ira Glass! Thanks for sharing it. I was just writing about how reaffirming it is to hear other artists speak about the journey of artistic growth. It’s a long and often difficult process, full of moments of self doubt. Sharing our reflections on the process is so reassuring. When I hear/read other artists talk about some of the same things I am going through I don’t feel so much like I have to rush myself.

        Cynthia, your blog is a big source of inspiration and reassurance. I look forward to your insights into the latest phase of your journey.

        • reply Susan Rimmer ,

          I really appreciated the Ira Glass link. Being British I have no idea who he is so when he started I thought about switching it off. But, he got so quickly in to the point (I guess that’s his years of closing the gap) I decided to listen. My taste is definitely way beyond my skill level at the moment but I look back at what I have already achieved and I can see the value in keeping on going.

          Based on yesterday’s post I wnet off to Craft cast (never been there before!) and listened to a talk by Dan Cormier. He was talking about copying work while you are learning and then taking things off in your own direction as you take the techniques and add your own creativity.

          So, I am in the phase of copying and trying to explore – often finding that what I produce is lacking something but I am enjoying the process so much.

          Thank you for the part Polymer Clay Daily plays in my journey!

          • reply Wendy McManus ,

            It’s so interesting how themes line up in our lives to send us messages. Coincidence? I think not.

            I stumbled upon the notice of the Master Class with Seth Savarick, and decided to sign on. Loved it! Last weekend I found a lovely journal/sketchbook and started gathering all the notes and ideas for PC projects that were scattered in many places. Many pages filled already! Then, today your post of the Ira Glass video extended the theme of artistic growth and dedication.

            I also saw a special this week about David McCullough called “Painting with Words”. This amazing author is also an accomplished painter and I will never forget his quote about becoming good at any artistic endeavor. He said the only way to become a great painter is to paint. You’ll never get there by reading books about painting.

            I am so looking forward to many more “less than perfect” creations on my path to becoming the best and most authentic artist I can be.

            Thanks for providing a daily dose of inspiration!

            • reply Sara Creeger ,

              Thank you for sharing the video link. I’m a radio fan of TAL, but never expected to see Ira Glass connected to polymer clay. I’m in that exact spot knowing my ideas are good, but not having the skill level (yet) to have them turn out as fine as they should. For me, just hearing Ira describe that point and encourage one to continue is a very helpful insight.

              Thank you Cynthia, for all you do.

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