Fear of Creative Paperclay?

One of the Izannah Walker Workshop members hasn't finished her doll yet. No, she's not in time out. She told me that my instructions were everything they needed to be, but that she has "fear of paperclay."   

I have to smile at this, because I really understand.   But it's not like the paperclay has teeth or anything.  It's a perfectly benign sculpting medium. You can sand it off, if you want.  You can add more on.   It is forgiving. 

It's not the clay she's afraid of.  It's perfectionism rearing its ugly head.   She's afraid that the reality won't match up to the dream.  But guess what?   If we don't try we will NEVER create something that is close to the dream creation.  Many of the people in the Izannah Walker Workshop had never sculpted before.  They've made some amazing folk art creations!  

At this point I tell people to make an Un-Izannah doll.   This is really important. Just aim for a regular face. or even a fantasy creature.  Maybe make an Izannah inspired troll doll.  That way you get the practice of using the materials.    You're just seeing what the clay can do.  Not many people sit down to play a concerto without first learning "Row, row, row your boat", y'know. 

I have to tell myself this when I get nervous about trying something new.  Giving myself a half-step makes achieving the goal easier.


Susie McMahon said...

Excellent advice! So to your student with the "phobia", I say - "Jump in!"

fiddlestixstudios said...

Yes,excellent advice!What wonderful dollies! I can't wait to get started,just trying to get back into a routine after the holidays,and long break with the kids.Then we turn around last Sunday night and get 10 inches of snow!!!!Kids were right back out of school for a whole 'nother week,plus today for MLK!They go back tomorrow,so you should see me in class very soon!
Hugs :-),

Linda Packard said...

Wonderful blog, Dixie! And this post offers such good advice, and it applies to all media...the blank canvas is scary too. There is a wonderful little book that addresses this: "Art and Fear" by David Bayles. You may already know of it?

I love your paintings, too!

"Do not let what you cannot do
keep you from doing what you can do."

John Wooden