In my newsletter last month, I alluded to a story about a piece called â€œWillaâ€™s Journey.â€ HereÂ it is. I hope you are ready for this story – it’s rather lengthy.
First, the back-story: Several years ago, I read a novel by Willa Cather called “Death Comes for the Archbishop.” a Life-altering reading experience. Her ability to rivet me to the story was compelling, so I read up on her writing style. She was known to sacrifice a robust draft of a story to the greater good, in other words, she would take another story that could have been a novel on its own, and give it over to the novel at hand. (I recall the back-story to the bigger novel and still wonder what she would have made of the back-story – it was that good.)
This concept of sacrificing one story for the greater story was foreign to me. When translated to my benchwork, I have always been conservative with materials and minimal in my designs, telling my story in a straightforward way with as few elements as possible. Every element I put into my visual stories is weighed with a great deal of consideration for the design, not to mention the cost. I will often design in my sketchbook works with many pieces and parts. Then when at the bench, strip everything out that clutters up the visual bones of the piece. Add to that the fact that I have many precious little elements at my disposal – really good little stories, if you will, and I weigh them as too precious to sacrifice to the bigger story, because maybe someday I will have created the perfect piece for this element, and I won’t have the element any more. Or because if I add too many elements, it will then be too expensive. Or if I add too many elements, it will just be clutter.
Next? The Journey. Read more in tomorrow’s post.