Sunday, August 30, 2009

Collaboration (or How To Kill Yourself Without Really Trying)

The following is from a post I responded to on Crafthaus on collaboration. Thought I would re-post it here for everyone to see because (1) It's sort of funny, (2) It's true, (3) I am lazy.

Here is the link to the original discussion:

Here is my latest reply:

I would love to try a collaboration as discussed here, it has to be better then the one I recently tried (see below).

I blame this discussion for almost ruining my relationship with my girlfriend of 13+ years. I blame everyone who has responded or will ever respond in the future in this, and every other dimension.

While my girlfriend (I'll call her "Tabitha")...While Tabitha and I both "do" jewelry and other art and work next to each other in and out of the studio we have never worked together before. Sure, we have always asked each others advice, bounced ideas off each other, and all that, but we never worked on the same project together.

So we tried it. A simple project combining simple metal techniques and some fiber work Tabitha has been "researching".

It surprised me...more then surprised--It feckin scared me to find out after 13 years of knowing each other that our artistic view was so different! The piece started very simply with 1 square wire oval(ish) shape and 1 square wire rectangle(ish) shape. I placed the shapes in what I thought was a nice simple design but Tabitha kept moving them around to what she thought was a great design! HOW DARE SHE!

I moved the shapes back. She moved them around again. This went on for a very long time. I even skipped making dinner (I am the house chef ). We ended up "compromising" on a design we both sort of hated equally and we ate frozen gluten free chicken for dinner.

The next morning Tabitha woke with "a really cool idea for the piece", which she was really excited about and I, of course, immediately rejected and hated from the depth of my soul.

The fun continued on and off for 3 weeks. When I say "fun", I of course mean "misery". She wanted both parts of the piece to include fiber, I did not. I wanted a black and white fiber, Tabitha did not.

We continued with the 3 C's. Choke. Compromise. Kill. (Alright, "kill" doesn't start with a "C", but 3 C's sounds better then 2 C's and a K). We did this for another week and after about a month we came up with something that should have taken 2 days at most to make.

This was the most stressful and painful piece I have worked on. Many of my super, great, fabulous, and amazing ideas were shot down as soon as they left my mouth, if not before. I had to deal with a whole other person, with her own distinct vision, personality, and grooming habits. It was much more of a challenge then either of us anticipated and it sometimes took us far outside our comfort zones.

Of course we are already collaborating on our next piece.