the path from creating to marketing
artist's diary, part 1
The creation: The CoreSource, a gathering place
for people to connect with others, designed in a home-like setting
and including a business coach, a massage therapist and other facilitators
who offer workshops on personal and professional development.
The place: 5513 NE 30th Ave., Portland, Ore.
The investment: Three months of 10-14 hours days transforming
a 1,400-square-foot dilapidated storefront into a lush sanctuary.
where to begin? Renovation of The CoreSource center is complete
and I've promised my editor a series of articles on co-creating.
Co-creating with the infinite, with the self and with others.
After three months of designing and shaping, I'm ready to write
about the discoveries and the exciting possibilities that lie ahead.
Yet, as I lie here on the couch trying to write, wanting to sleep
and irritated that I can't do either, I'm struck by an immense well
Three months and 40 volunteers later, an artist's vision is
ready for the world.
There's a sadness that waves throughout my entire body all the
way to my fingertips, a heavy sorrow of sorts. My mind wants to
get moving: speak, create, write, connect. Yet my lips will not
comply. Trying hard to not heed my body, I find that I must. Lying
here I simply breathe, allowing the emotions to well up and recede.
Where is this coming from? What arrives is a yearning for sleep,
deep sleep. I know this is somehow tied into all the work on the
center being complete, and with what comes next ... the step of
bringing what I have made to the world.
Or, more pointedly, bringing the world to it.
Oct. 20, 2003
At long last, the center is complete. Well, complete enough to
say, "it's done."
After endless hours of designing, long days of intense focus, fragmented
moments of action and exhaustion, challenging times in relationships
of all kinds and immense joy and delight the work is finally
The CoreSource plans to focus on artful endeavors that expand a
world consciousness, assisting creative and healing professionals
by providing a holistic approach to connecting with their passion,
their "voice" and the people they most want to reach.
The space is beautiful. The response is inspiring. I'm still amazed
that we succeeded in creating a lush, inviting space created from
recycled materials. I'm humbled by the support in creating the space
more than 40 small businesses and individuals helped with
labor, resources and finances. Never before have I experienced such
a community-created project. All who visited experienced my vision.
The celebration is over. The reception even more than I envisioned.
And now. I get to be in the space. Take time just to sit, roll
around on the floors, read. No, that's not completely true, I haven't
read here yet.
To be honest, I just love to walk in and sit down someplace. Simply
sit. Lay my head back on the couch and take it all in.
Every room envelopes me, holds me like a womb, invites me to honor
what's within me, nourishing my spirit and providing strength to
go out into the world.
It's cozy, comforting, relaxing and releasing. If I were a teacher,
I'd give me an A- for what I have created. (The minus just because
some minor details have yet to be completed). Not bad for a first-time
creator of physical space.
So, I wonder, why the melancholy? What am I to do about it? What
is it trying to tell me?
| The space
is done. Now what?
The exhaustion I feel is the most pronounced part of the melancholy.
All I really want to do is go somewhere and lay in the hot sun ...
for days. I ask myself why am I still so tired? It's been almost
two weeks now since the space was finished. My mind says that's
long enough to be recovered.
As a visual artist, I thrive on co-creating with the infinite,
making the invisible visible. I get consumed in the process ...
for days, weeks, months on end. It becomes my lover, an intimate
relationship of tantalizing wonder and delirious surprises.
Through the struggles, the confusions and the blunders of creating,
I work through any fears, knowing that if I release myself and my
process to the infinite, the answers will come. Some days the answers
Other days, when I push too hard, it fights back, refusing to succumb
to my aggression. I relinquish my grip. Let go. And wait another
day to see what comes.
The space and I. Dancing this dance, breathing our breath together,
finding our form.
By nature I am an improvisational creator. There are limited plans
in the beginning mostly an idea and a feeling. Then I jump
in ... create with the space. I use zoom-lens focus connecting
with the present offerings and then ... I pull back to wide-angle
and remember the co-created intention.
Zoom. Focus. Shape. Color. Focus. Wide-angle out. Again and again.
Culling. Adding. Honing. Redefining. Again and again.
As I look back, I notice how easy it is to forget about the immense
mental and emotional energy that goes into bringing my work to completion.
I get so consumed with co-creating with the infinite (no matter
how joyfully) that I overlook our human needs for rest, renewal
Although the project is finished, my body is still in a mode of
creative focus. When the cells of my body finally realize they don't
need to focus anymore, there is a grand release. Emotions have a
roller-coaster pattern all their own. My mind just up and refuses
to do anything. My body wants to float. And I want to swim in my
own sea of tears.
Yet, now the time has arrived to get the word about the new space
out into the world. I would love to "give in" to my tiredness.
If you are anything like me, you don't believe you have the financial
luxury to sit and revel in what you have accomplished for weeks
or even days on end. As I write this I realize the importance of
giving time. Time to ready my body for the next phase. Time to renew
my spirit. Time to make the shift from co-creating with the infinite
to co-creating with the world.
The challenge for me is to let go of my hold on creating physical
space. Yesterday, as I lay in my bed for the second nap of the day,
I started thinking about the colors I could paint the walls of my
bedroom. I had to stop myself and say: "Leave it alone for
now. Your next creative act is to bring people to the new space."
As artists we have to face the truth that we are masters at co-creating
with the infinite. There's an ease, a curiosity and, in fact, a
generosity that occurs when in that zone of creating with the infinite.
This next step, the process of building connections, demands a
different type of co-creating. One that is much slower and, quite
strangely, a more ethereal process.
Where time collapsed on itself during the artist phase, now time
stretches like a fresh rubber band so much time, with seemingly
little immediate return. It feels like more at stake or perhaps
more chance for judgment of what I'm offering. As I created the
space, I chose whom I shared it with.
But now, it's time to invite in the world. Open the doors to whoever
arrives, and let my fear of the judgments simply "be."
I'm realizing that this is my calling and the challenge of the
next phase. To be willing to discover, uncover and re-discover with
others. To move from the precious, private intention of the space
to a more public engagement of possibility. And this may at times
mean engaging with, and allowing, others judgments.
This next step, the process of building connections, demands a
different type of co-creating. We often try to avoid this stage,
yet it is key to our success.
It's easy to forget to take the time to shape a plan that really
serves our mission, but if we don't we're merely reacting to what
comes along rather that clearly stepping toward the vision that
serves our passion and our mission.
Oh, dear diary, that is a big challenge.
It's much easier simply to design and paint. Perhaps that's why
so many great works stay hidden. It's a lot safer than watching
someone's eyes glaze over. Or hearing people scoff, or silently,
without a sound, voicing their disapproval.
At times like this it's important to remember why I am here
to offer new ways of being, of thinking, of creating. To provide
a forum for wonder, exploration and uncertainty. To allow the doubt,
so that new thoughts and creations can emerge. For that, it's key
that I reach out into the world.
For now, it is enough to celebrate my accomplishment and let my
human being-ness rest. I will reach out.
But first, a nap.
Next month: Carolyn shares the pleasures and challenges of co-creating,
along with tips on how to succeed when creating with others.