Sunday, March 27, 2011

Drive Time

Drive time is when I get some of my best ideas. My daily commute is just a few steps between the house and the studio, so I only get a serious drive-time groove on about once a week (it's a 52-mile round trip to the supermarket and library). So when a teaching gig is within driving distance, I actually kind of look forward to that time in the car.

To be more specific, I look forward to the drive home. On my way to a workshop, I'm still running through mental checklists and watching the clock. But after the job is done and those obligations are fading in my rear-view mirror, I'm glad to have time for some quiet reflection.

My first thoughts are usually about the class and the students. The drive home gives me a chance to ponder the great ideas students come up with. Thank you, Lona, for the oilcloth inspiration! I'll be testing it this week.

On the drive home, I have time to savor conversations and connections made with my hosts. My Fargo host sent me home with ideas about applying millinery techniques to vessel construction, a loaner copy of The Tarim Mummies, and a new-found fascination with chemistry inspired by the group's current project, The Elements: The Periodic Table in Fabric. And it it weren't for Kim, I probably wouldn't have taken a single picture during the workshop.

As the miles and the hours pass, my thoughts shift from what's done to what's next. This time, my homeward bound thoughts sorted through work in progress for an upcoming show. After some time away and a chance to reflect, I'm content to move forward with a boro-influenced celebration of renewal. There are stories I want to tell.

It's possible that a few images sowed in my brain on the Fargo trip will be translated into this work.

There are times when my head feels like a grain elevator that's overfull. A nice long drive gives me some time to shift ideas around.

How does drive time fit into your design process?


  1. When my kids were small I spent my time in the car (and there was a lot of it!) thinking through what I was going to do once I got to the studio. It really helped to organize my thoughts beforehand so that I could make the best use of my time. In those days three hours of uninterrupted studio time was about the most I could get. Now that the kids are older I have more time but I find that I'm less efficient. Less crazy, but less efficient.

  2. Good point, Cameron. When I've had time for reflection or incubation and my intentions are pretty clear, it's easier to clear any hurdle in the studio, with room to spare for ideas to evolve.


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