Focus, focus and yet more focus

Ideas prompt bag and beech tiles
Ideas prompt bag and beech tiles

In the coming couple of months I have two shows with the Sussex Guild (of which I am a member, more on these as they occur) and an exhibition with 3 other artists locally; my first ever art show as far as I can remember. I have also found another couple of exhibitions that I would like to submit some work to to see if it gets accepted, a slightly different direction from most of the work that I currently do.

I do often have a hard time concentrating as I am easily distracted, I have a good flow of ideas and they have the ability to pull me away from what I am working on to ‘just try it to see if it works’. So I spend quite a bit of my time trying to focus in on what I’m doing. I have learned to write my ideas down and maybe do a little working on paper, but more than that I try not to do. I do, however, find it quite difficult.

The awkwardness comes when I then need to produce work for a show or exhibition as I just don’t know which idea to pick first – I know not a bad situation to be in, I’m not complaining honest! Thing is I can then spend ages weighing up the pros and cons of each without actually getting anything done, not helpful when you have deadlines approaching.

So the other day I came up with a bit of an idea which may or may not work (once I’ve used it for a while I’ll know, if I don’t use it I guess that will speak volumes too!). I had some very fine offcuts from a few beech frames I made the other day, usually when the offcuts are that thin they just end up in the burning box as they make excellent kindling for our fire. Something told me to put these to one side, I had no inkling why at the time.

For some reason I decided that I need the decision taking out of my hands – I can be incredibly indecisive and that is one of my biggest time wasters – and then the idea popped into my head to have small pieces of something with words on that could prompt the direction I would take with the work. Immediately I thought of those pieces of beech.

I got them home then realised I had nothing there to cut them with – a pair of pruners later and I had a little pile of small pieces of beech waiting for their words. To start with I put on words that popped straight into my head, things that are inspiring me at the moment but I also included things that I could possibly make. I have left these words as open as I can giving myself ultimate room to move. I then went through my current two sketch books and wrote down words that correspond with the ideas contained within, hopefully if I take one of those tiles out of the bag I’ll relate back to the sketch books, but nothing is a certainty!

My first thought was that the container the tiles are in should be something that I already have (trying to save time here – making progress I think), I tried a sock ( I have socks on the brain at the moment as will be seen in the future in some work I have planned) but I couldn’t get to the tiles very easily. Then I found a bag I had crocheted many moons ago and they fit in there very well as can be seen in the photo above. I can also carry this bag with me very easily so that I can constantly add to the tiles when I think of a new inspiration.

All I have to do now is start using it.

Luckily tonight I’ve been getting on with some designs for a few new Art Nouveau frames. I have some that I am happy with, the hard part will be deciding which one to try first.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

What methods do you use to help you focus?