Every job has it’s frustrations. Those necessary but piddling things you’re forced to do. The kinds of moments captured in the movie Office Space. Or those times when you’re at a loss as to how to solve your latest problem, overcome the newest hurdle. As much as I love this new endeavor of mine, those moments are still with me. No job is perfect.
But this job has a pretty cool way of dealing with the craziness of worklife and, well, life in general. When I’ve had a crazy day or feel like I’ve been chained to a desk for too long, I go to my studio or to my workbench. I pull out a piece of metal and a hammer. And then I beat the metal into… something. I create something. Frustration gone. No fancy fixings, not even a goal in mind. Just me, the metal, and a hammer.
It might take a couple of hours to create a complete piece, or it might take several (long) minutes. It might require finish work to make it sparkle or a file to make it smooth. It might lead to my newest favorite piece or I might wonder how the heck to use what I just made. I may not even know whether or how it fits in with my broader collection.
The consistent thread, though, is creating something interesting and releasing the tension of the day. A length of metal sheet or wire can become… a ring or a bangle or earrings.
I don’t think I can adequately capture how good it feels to create something derived from these feelings. Take the worries or irritations of the day and allow them to fuel a thing of beauty. It’s like sipping a fine wine, unleashing a load of sarcasm, or taking a kick-boxing class. It’s a form of therapy for me. When I realized just how cathartic this activity was for me, I realized that I had rediscovered the artist inside me. It was a revelation and I just knew I had to do it again. And again. And… you get where I’m going.
I was a bit worried when I tipped the balance between artist and urban planner. Art was my release from the craziness of working long hours in a demanding environment. Would I still find that catharsis? Would I still enjoy the things fueled by it? Or would it become a chore? And then I created this super simple silver bracelet–just me, the metal, and a hammer. And, hey, I think I’m doing alright. What do you think? How do you deal with your day-to-day frustrations?