A few years ago when I was in New Brunswick with two friends, we had a whole lot of fun creating stencils with leaves and spray paint on old windows retrieved from a barn that was going to be torn down. The windows would soon be thrown away, but first we made them gorgeous. We had no idea what we were going to make, but one thing led to another (spray painting the leaves), and then another (adding maple keys and dirt and twigs on the surface, and then another (taking photographs when we thought we were done).
When I’m stuck in my work, I often try to keep going. I’m like someone trying to move through knee-deep mud. It’s slow and I don’t get very far. But occasionally I stop, fool around with something else, and then the “stuckness” no longer seems to be the insurmountable problem that it was before.
Fooling around doesn’t have to lead to anything. That’s the great thing about it. But even though we were laughing about the craziness of what we were doing, we were still immersed in the process, deep in the moment. No one was looking, and we wouldn’t have cared even if they had been.
The photographs of these windows, with their radiant colours, are among a few I’ve saved to remind me that the messy, vibrant “aliveness” of the making matters just as much as the thing that is made.