I spent the Labor Day weekend in the Black Hills of South Dakota. This is truly an awe-inspiring place. The natural beauty of the rock formations along Needles Highway is breath-taking. And of course, there’s Crazy Horse and Mt. Rushmore close by.
The difficult part of using the Black Hills and all it’s beauty as inspiration is imagining something different than sculpting a huge head in a huge rock mass. But it’s not about doing something on a huge scale. It’s about using that to inspire our designs.
The process which the artists used for those huge projects was to first design it small scale. They started with sketches and drawings. Then used clay and plaster to make their design in small pieces. Making their vision small allows them to show the beauty of their design vision. When I say small, I mean compared to their finished visions, not miniature.
Most of us are not going to make sculptures or projects that have a 40-foot nose. So how can we use this design method for our everyday projects? The method of making sketches and models for our projects may not be practical. Why make a sketch and model of a necklace? The point isn’t the actual steps it’s the concept.
Some projects can be completed quickly, while others may take years. When a project will take a long time, it may be good to make the design with a quicker medium first. Like making a sketch or model. This way the design stays alive during the years it takes to complete it. You’ll be able to show others what your ultimate design will be.
Think about the Crazy Horse Memorial. It’s far from being finished. When you learn the history of this project and see the scale model of the finished sculpture, it makes seeing the progress much more fun. We can anticipate the beauty of the finished artwork. Without the scale model, it just looks like a huge piece of rock with a little bit of sculptured work on it. By knowing how the finished piece will look and all the sacrifice and work that has gone into it up to this point, we can have a greater appreciation for the artist’s vision.
When we have a vision for a project, we can imagine it in our mind’s eye. It may not be a complete image, maybe just the concept, but either way, we have an idea which we want to create so we, and others can enjoy it.(Or hopefully buy it). Whether we jump right in and make it from scratch, or we sketch it first, we have a design in our heads longing to come out.
It doesn’t matter if it takes us a few minutes or a few years to complete our designs. What matters most to us as creative people, is getting that design out of our heads and into the hands of those that appreciate and enjoy it.