TRUSTING THE PROCESS
for a few days i stared at the pieces. i picked them up, i put them down; i tried to make loose connections. the intention was to make some models, affixing them using props and tape and gravity, but really, there was little i could do to workshop ideas. i had to make some decisions and start gluing.
still, i hesitated—there could be no rescinding. i was facing the blank page, being asked to lay the reality of my abilities alongside the fantasy of my ambitions.
the surest route to courage was courage, however, and jumping in and making mistakes early is surely one of the most important parts of any process. anyway, an iterative, problem solving methodology is one that we practice every day at pixar, for days, weeks and even years on end; afterall, no one can expect to make all the right decisions the first time and regardless, problem solving is intrinsic to the fun. as they say, the work that results from these struggles is a record of a more important personal progress, of growth—trust the process.
to break the ice, i considered painting the surfaces different colors—dealing with them on a decorative basis rather than a structural one. the thought of organizing colors and shapes offered some relief, although in practical terms, it seemed a little cart before the horse. instead, i started cutting out colors, images and patterns and taping them to the pieces. finally, somehow through collage, i began putting things together.
glue took longer to dry than i thought. i could make a move, but then be forced to wait. it became evident that decisions were going to be made slowly. my first inclination was to build the improbable: an impossible juncture. it made sense to start with the largest shapes available to me. from here i extended arms out, made colluding but dynamic partners out of broad rectangles, and began a loop of angles, building a twisting pavillion that extended and came in upon itself... until it broke.
i took this breakage as an opportunity to rethink what i was doing: something that was very stable, dynamic, but kind of boring, disjointed and awkward in a few places—i decided it was time to start over. but the basis for the reinvention would be a twisty little juncture that felt surprising, unlikely, and unpredictable. i decided to follow its lead and construct a wooden ribbon. i'd encourage interesting connections, complex oblique angles, and progressive proportions—and i'd let the pieces tell me where they wanted to go.
although the sculpture managed to come apart a few more times over its construction, i always took it as an opportunity to reconsider the orientation of the whole. apparently decisions could be gone back on, and although now pieces were rougher, gluier, and sometimes uneven or broken, i eventually came to see them as mere scars of creation, a record of the process.
it was on its way!