Incomplete – Unfinished – Raw
When I was asked by my mentor to select the most expressive pieces from my last body of work, I chose the ones that show the rawness of fabrication, with tool marks still visible. These pieces appear to be more alive.
During the creative process the artist is engaged with the product, and leaves their mark, while also deciding when the work is finished. While it seems natural to desire a state of perfection as a final stage, unfinished works have a quality and appeal all of their own. We can imagine the possibilities of what they would look like if they were finished, but at the same time they have a ghostly quality that is also very beautiful. A piece in the making offers an intriguing insight into the mind of its creator.
This leads to the following questions
Is there danger in seeking finished perfection in all that we do? Is there a risk that in focusing solely on the attributes that define a finished piece we may overlook the importance of the process that leads to it?
Most jewellers have a piece that is incomplete in their bottom drawer, or lying on the windowsill in the studio, that didn’t really work, and has been abandoned. It takes courage to destroy it as there is always that lingering feeling that someone, somewhere, might admire it for what it is. Someone who loves the unfinished might take those coarse edges, those moments where it fizzles out or dries up, as the rough and joyous moments of the first flush of fantasy.
For the next few weeks I have chosen to work with different silver alloys and traditional silversmithing techniques to explore the moment when to pause, breathe, rework, stop or destroy. I look forward to solely concentrating on the process rather than the end product.