My brother,Paul, is a wood carver. Periodically we have phone chats between his wood shop and my fabric studio. The one this week included the question “What do you about UFOs?”. For the uninitiated, that is short for unfinished objects. I believe all makers of art and artifacts have them.
Paul liked my approach. About four times a year I get the UFO beasties out and review them. The first question is “Do I still like the essence of this work?” If the answer is no, it goes out of the studio. It has taken me a very long time to get to this place. Living in a small house that doubles as my studio has been very beneficial.
If the answer is yes, the next question is “What is the next step?” I write the answer to the question on paper and attach it to the project. And then on to the next UFO.
I have discovered that this approach reduces the frustration of not completing projects and increases my creativity by the process of “chunking it down,” (my daughter’s name for small steps of the journey). I am practiced enough that I rarely have problems determining a next step. But I have found that when I do, I take me and the UFO to a trusted set of eyes to help with the answer.
When all the pieces have been reviewed, they are put away. The next steps are fresh in my mind and I have actually generated some excitement about them. That energy and my curiousity typically results in the next steps being taken in the next 4 to 6 weeks.