Friday, May 8, 2009

scale necklace and procrastination

My goal is to finish my scale necklace in time to enter in Cheongju next month. There's no reason I would not be able to finish in time, but the problem with these major pieces that get dragged out for years is they start to feel like they will never end. I started that piece in grad school in spring 2005. So while the piece is nearing completion, I am also feeling like after 4 years, is 5 more weeks really going to be all I need?

It's kind of embarrassing when a piece takes so long. Cause there usually isn't any good reason for something to take so long. I have identified 3 common reasons why my pieces end up taking way longer than they should. The scale necklace has been victim of reasons #1 and #3. My teapot was victim of reasons #1 and #2.

1. Other more important things come up that need to be finished (like work that I am actually being paid for). This happens with almost everything I am working on that does not have a deadline and I will not be paid for immediately after finishing (like work that I hope to sell in the future, rather than custom orders).

2. I have to make a decision about the design and don't know what to do. I never have pieces totally designed when I start on them. Some times I get too indecisive about certain things, and end up putting the piece down thinking I will decide later. Some times "later" is not for several months.

3. Work gets too boring/tedious. Like making these scales. Making waxes from the rubber molds, spruing trees to cast, casting, cleaning them all up. It's just so boring. The finished part of the necklace has over 100 hours of labor in it already. Boring boring monotonous labor. Or with my carved scale brooches, when I feel like I am not making any progress.

Sometimes when one of these reasons comes up and I stop working on a piece I will put it away and just forget about it.

When I sign and date a piece I usually just mark it with the year I finished it, not the years I took to finish or the year I started. I'm not sure what other people do, I usually don't bring up the topic of pieces taking years to finish due to procrastination when I talk to other jewelers or metalsmiths. I really have no idea how many other people do that sort of thing.

Pictured below are about 450 sterling scales for my necklace. They are almost ready to be attached to the necklace. I have about 50 more that I am still working on. After I attach those 500 I should be about finished except for the edges.

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