Quick and Easy – NOT!

glasses2You know those moments . . . you take your glasses off and massage the bridge of your nose for a bit – as if that gesture is going to massage your brain too, and refresh your senses.

Those moments allow random “headlines” to occur to me – ones that should be typed in all caps and put on billboards all over the country – this country anyway.

Here’s the most recent . . .


The odd thing is that this ridiculous idea actually came along way before the pace of our lives was ridiculous enough to warrant it.

My earliest recollection of hearing about “five minute projects” etc. is from the Aleene’s Creative Living TV Show, and the Carole Duvall Show carried on the tradition.

I think besides the fact that they wanted to jam several projects into a half hour program, the quick-and-easy thing was meant to convince people that they actually had some time to be creative.

But, as is true of most really bad ideas, this one took on a life of its own and became the rallying cry for the whole craft industry Рwith some spillover into the arts as well. 

Because the craft industry is the entry point into creative arts for so many people, the idea of taking your time to make something got lost.

Just try to find a tutorial that tells you the project will take several hours, or several days to complete. If you do find one, hang on to it – it is probably a very good one.

Art is not quick and it is not easy (good art anyway).

Even if someone can do a sketch in a few minutes that looks great – she didn’t learn to do that by any ¬†quick-and-easy method. She’s been practicing for years to develop that skill.

I have NEVER been a “quick-and-easy” artist. Frankly, I think that is a contradiction in terms. Even my journal pages aren’t quick or that easy.

But I still am enthralled by artists who spend years on a project, and my timing expectations for my own art are still out of line.

The truth of this came home to me for a couple of reasons . . .

I got into glass and I got a kiln.

Toward the end of the first firing – after 16 HOURS of heating and cooling ramps, I was incredulous!!

WHAT? 16 HOURS and I still can’t open that thing and see what I’ve got?! After all that prepping and cutting and polishing and cleaning and assembling small pieces, I have to wait 16 HOURS?!? Or more!

It’s sort of like childbirth – although how would I know, but I’ve been told – It can’t REALLY be like this, and everybody knows it, and nobody told me?

OK – much better than childbirth, but still a shock.

How does anybody ever get any glass art done if every firing takes 16-18 HOURS?!

This will teach me patience, and I was put on this earth to learn patience. That is a good thing.

And then I found a tube of Aleene’s Tacky Glue in a drawer, and it all came back to me.

It got me thinking about how WRONG it is that we think art should be quick and easy in the first place.

The real joy of art making is in the journey.

Although you may smile and feel warm fuzzies when you see your finished piece (or not), that is not the same fun as being immersed in the process of creating that piece.

So, we should savor the creative process, and like we feel while reading a great book, we should not want the experience to end.

This is applicable to all pleasures in life, and indeed, to LIFE itself.

Enjoy the process, the journey, and hope it doesn’t end for a LONG, LONG time.

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10 thoughts on “Quick and Easy – NOT!

  1. linda g

    Love that last line!!!!! I’d like to stencil it around the top of my walls in my craft room….or put it on a billboard!

  2. Diana in Texas

    Thanks for expressing my A-D-D fluctuations with my Art. Watching online tutorials where they can pause and let things marinate or dry, etc has set us up to achieve semi-instant art. All of the craft ephemera in the stores allow us to buy “canned art” and stick it onto cardstock and call if “art” or artistic. I’m as impatient as the next person, but have also begun to “enjoy the journey.” I always enjoy your fantastic insights, Jessica. May you have a joyous Christmas and New Year.

  3. Janet Ebersole

    Thank you Jessica. I have been (joyfully) babysitting my 16 month old granddaughter for the past year and trying to fit my artistic endeavors in during nap time. My projects all have that rushed look and are not up to my usual standards. Your blog has reminded me to take time to do it right. If I only get a little bit done during a nap, that’s ok, I can get a little bit more done next time and not worry about finishing quickly. Eventually it will be done, and I’ll be happy with the finished product.

  4. Judith Green

    Hi Jessica,

    Sorry to write to you here but I wanted to thank you, recieved my sheer heaven papa pearly this week.

    Thanks so much am dying to have a play with it.

    Kindest regards
    Judith New Zealand

  5. Shauna

    Hi Jessica,
    I’m so happy for you about your new adventure! Your glass pieces are lovely! I think Family Ties is my favorite – oh, and the nightlight! I’ve been reading about and watching videos on glass fusing for awhile now and hope to take a class this spring. While researching I was intrigued by the powdered glass and what all could be done with it. I am so glad too, that you pointed out the journey of creating. I take so long on my projects and am always thrown by others who have six things to show and I am just finishing one! I felt like an idiot! But, I just go into “the zone” and am not aware of time. For those who have a fast journey, they should embrace that. But, now I see that my more “leisurely” pace is not that of an imbecile but of one who is learning and enjoying creativity at my own speed (or lack thereof) and that’s ok.

  6. Karen Little

    I recently read Patti Smith’s autobiography, “Just Kids.” I often wondered how she earned her reputation as a rock poet. From her description of herself, she was a bit of an unfocused lay about who hung with the right crowd. In reality, to pick up extra cash, she became a rock journalist. Not only was she intensely interested in the subject, her articles were sought-after. Bottom line: she became a hit because her intense study of the people and the craft she loved. When she finally “came out” as a singer/rocker, she was already at peak talents, with years of study behind her.

  7. Jeanne

    jessica, thanks for the reminder that the act of creating should not be rushed and should be enjoyed for its own sake. I needed that!

    Sometimes I find myself in a hurrying mode because I have so many things I want to do and I’m getting older and I don’t have time and ….

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