June 20, 2010

Delighting in Distraction

Ah, yeah, I missed doing my weekly post last Sunday so here I am, catching up.  I actually began work on my new print last week Saturday night, as per custom, but didn't move forward as fast as I thought I would.  After some mental coin-tossing I chose to start with the Poppies print and there's a fair bit of white space in the image. That means a lot of area to clear away before I can even print my first colour. I didn't have enough time on Saturday night to finish it all so no printing on Sunday and nothing to show.  
But I made an agreement with myself some time ago not to treat my printmaking as a chore.  Not to see it as something I absolutely HAVE to do or else. I don't ever want to get to the point where I'm working on a print because it's a must instead of because I love doing it.  And so, even though I didn't get as much done last week as I planned, I didn't sweat it.  I fully expected to catch up during the week last week and be ready for the first colour by today.  And then, on that Sunday afternoon, I made a mistake. 
Since I wasn't printing and had a chunk of non-designated time on my hands, I picked up The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson, and headed off into the garden and sunshine.  It only took a couple of hours before I was totally sucked-in.  For the rest of the week I blew off everything else I wasn't duty-bound to do and, nose buried in the novel, spent every free hour in Sweden.  This, even though R and I saw the movie a few weeks ago so I pretty much knew what was coming up in the plot.  I didn't even turn on the computer to check my emails the whole week.  And, of course, I didn't work on my block at all.  Didn't even glance at it until last night (I finished the book yesterday morning) when, again, I didn't have enough time to finish clearing all that white space so, once more, no printing. It sure was a good ride though. 
Did I work on my block today?  Well, not yet.  But, I will be carving tonight still, at least for a little while, because I want to try out my newly adapted bench hook.  Sometimes, after I've worked on a block for a few hours in a row, I get a sore lower neck from bending over the block.  I read about someone having the same problem a while ago on Wetcanvas and the suggested solution was to angle the block up a bit.  I thought it sounded like a great idea and then forgot about it until I saw Annie Bissett's blog post about her new studio.  The table top easel she uses started me thinking again and I got R to come up with a modification to the bench hook he's built for me.

The whole thing used to sit flat on my work surface but now he's added an angled piece of wood underneath to raise it up about 3 inches.  

It's definitely much more comfortable now.  Funny how such a little thing can make such a difference.  And now, no more excuses for not working, I'm off to carve...


Libby Fife said...

I am finding that it is OK to take a break. I don't like to feel like what I do is a chore or a job either. I am trying for balance these days. Trying to have a good mix of the things that I love.

I was intrigued by that slanted set up also. I haven't used a bench hook yet and am still figuring that part out.

Lastly, thanks for the link to Annie's work. How amazing and her posts are quite thoughtful also.

Katka said...

I think your approach is the right one Libby. I generally strive for a mix of the things I love to do but sometimes it feels like there's too many of them, all of them clamoring for my attention LOL.

The bench hook really helps me; it gives the block something to brace against when I carve and now that it's slanted, it makes the whole process even easier.

I'm glad you like Annie's site. It's a great source of inspiration on many levels.


Amie Roman said...

I picked up that book last summer on my way home from a business trip to Kelowna and didn't put it down when I got home, staying up until I think 4 in the morning reading it. I've since read the second and am anxiously awaiting getting the third in paperback (I don't like hardcover).

Hope the tilt of the block helps in the long run.