Before all the bits of ribbon and paper are tidied up, after the deadlines have mostly passed, transforming some of the scraps of the month seems to become an act of creating for creative sake. That is something you might expect to happen more often for artists than it actually does.
It starts out with replenishing the tag stash I keep, for those stragglers of post holiday parcels, so some of the tags are specific to December. Then I raid the ribbons and papers that arrived recently as part of gifts we received. My friends and family have probably seen some familiar elements, which is nifty – I always smile when I see wrappings I have used cycle again. Some are just too nice not to reshape. I might also see some bit of packaging that was particularly cool, maybe great card-stock came from a box of Italian ravioli or the trimmings of some oversize signage substrate. I often save and pass on bags and bags of trimmings from the wrapping of soap in the ‘day job’, my trims are the treasure for a friend’s paper-making workshops. Other trims and discards from elsewhere are newly inspiring to me. Because I also design and purchase packaging materials, an inordinate amount of my attention is always aware of what is being used and how, but my tag making sessions do not start with a grand plan. They are more like little serial art projects that have a short life, but perhaps express some kind thought in their mission to complete and identify a gift.
Because taking this time for purely selfish creative play is unpredictable, only a few times have I actually produced enough to sell*. Mostly I am thinking ahead, weeks and months; little handmade missives who do not yet have an owner or home, and may only briefly adorn a box or bag, and then move into someone else’s recycling. All very abstract. Sometimes inspiration comes from another medium, another artist’s journey. Other pieces come as unfinished ideas that need a physical existence.
Ideas and whims expand, themes align, and tiny motifs play themselves out. Seldom figurative but sometimes amusingly so. All very fugitive, and meant to evaporate.
This was my sendoff to the month and year.
*why would anyone buy something when they are so interesting to make for themselves?