concentrating on the edge


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The professor over our sculpting class decided to run a little experiment, observing us in all our early-morning-class glory throughout the semester. It was like having Kesuke Miyagi in the room. He and his grad students surreptitiously watched us, even taking notes (!) about our practice as we squished the clay and I tried not to get covered head to toe as per usual. He sat us down in the last days of the year, wanting to share what was gleaned. He told us that he’d run a comparison study in his other classes, those with students who were not majoring in art but took the class as a requirement filler or thinking it was an easy grade. The strongest difference, by a significant amount, was how we approached our work. With us there was singular focus, a quiet concentration and discipline within our use of time. The other students were noisy and distracted and ready to run to the next class. but not us. We were caught up in the rhythms of the process. “Much to your benefit,” he stated, “and your work reflects that.”


I’m pulling on this discipline now, reigning in my scattered thought processes as I focus on the work. As I concentrate out beyond the noise and distraction of my self-doubt, tender heart and healing head.


I’m not going to candy coat this; there is a cost. When I get up after a couple of hours in the studio, I try very hard not to fall over. I feel the strain in my left jaw and inner ear. My thoughts start to spread out again and the internal sounds come thumping back to the fore. But the trade is worth it. I might have to go lay down for hours.  I may get nothing else done until the evening. But the therapy of the rhythm, the tincture of the colours soothes my soul. And it gives me hope.


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