Craft as performing art II

January 5, 2008

A performer learns their music until it becomes a part of them.  During the concert, they should no longer have to think of the content or technique.

In the performance, all the practice, study and skill combine to create an experience of the music, for both the performer and audience.  But there is also a factor ‘X’ that is more than the sum of the parts.  It is the spirit of the music as channelled through this particular performer with this audience at this moment in time. 

And at the core of this experience is ‘letting go’, letting go of effort and any trace of ego.  The musician has to take a leap, as it were, and trust that everything they’ve done up until now has been sufficient to prepare them for this moment.

When this letting go is achieved,  a state of flow can ensue.  This is the artistic high, the sportsman’s perfect, slow motion performance, when time stops and there is full relaxation and surrender as well as total alertness. It is a beautiful state to experience, and there are moments of flow in craft as well.

powershot-11-062-aframe-cosmetic-1.jpg  I can make practice lines with my loaded brush endlessly, but at some point I will have to move over to the work in progress and make the lines there.  This, too is a letting go, requiring trust that all the experience and skill I have gained until now won’t fail me now. The stress comes from knowing that it is possible to totally botch it, and I have done this on rare occasions. Mostly this happens when I am not in a centred state and should have been doing something else instead.

But when the work is going well, and that timeless state takes over, then there is no effort, only trust, joy and gratitude.

4 Responses to “Craft as performing art II”

  1. A beautiful reminder of what a joyous thing it is to be an artist.

  2. madsilence Says:

    At this point in my life I’ve learned that, to be truly human, one must work, be active in the world, create. Our human and spiritual natures demand it. Only rarely have I experienced that state where “the work is going well, and that timeless state takes over…where… there is no effort, only trust, joy and gratitude.” At one time I believed that being a father, husband, son, employee, and thinker might be enough, but I begin to suspect that one must create something tangible through the arts, crafts, writing. We are called to create and find healing and well-being in the process. Society with its hustle and materialism doesn’t support this effort. I envy those with artistic skills. I guess I’m still struggling to find my muse…

  3. Dear MadSilence,
    thank you for your honesty and openness. I don’t think those who have developed our artistic skills automatically find that elusive sense of wholeness you seem to be speaking about. For every human this is an ongoing process, and it can be touched on through any experience, a wonderful conversation, a moment of epiphany in nature, art or anything.

    I am curious- what would a letter to your muse look like? Maybe in a few days I’ll write one to mine on this blog.

    ps. One thing I do know, muses are touchy things, and won’t approach if there is any sign of forcing, struggle or fear.

  4. Jim Beckta Says:

    At this point, there is something else. Nature/the planet is raging, boiling, thrashing. It wants re-integration. I am seeing little hints, baby steps, about how we can listen and come close to a wealth of life and richness and co-create wild and wonderful stuff.

    Hi Sarah, It’s Jim. Please get back to me via email. A lot has happened/is happening since we were last in touch.


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