Ramblin' Dan's Workshop

The Sanctum of Fine Art and Invention

Reducing the Pressure

I have discovered how to relax and begin to re-enjoy my creative hobbies. I stopped thinking of them as a job to do for a finished product. Duh? How simple was that? What I have done is to turn off ridged personal deadlines. There are no more self imposed impossible schedules in my creative hobby.

I still have goals but I don’t stress over a timeline. Hobbies have to be on flex time schedules.

The next step is to ignore or at least control other people’s deadlines. I have gone back to enjoying my hobbies on my own timeline.  But I don’t turn off deadlines on family activities. That isn't an option of choice when one has a spouse and family. I do have priorities. My hobbies are never number one unless I can totally share it with my family.

Because of that sharing, I often get asked to produce certain “projects” in my shop as part of that sharing experience. I like that as it does provide a wonderful feeling of doing something for a purpose. Those projects make my schedule but I keep it MY schedule.

My real problem has been the self inflicted stress trying to justify my hobby activities as a retirement business. I strayed away from doing projects just for the fun of making them and started looking for a possible profit. I put aside model building hobbies. (planes, trains, boats) Stop it! Bad dog!

Getting that profit dog (monkey) off my back makes me feel a lot lighter with far less stress.

I had begun to look at the finished object-for-profit as the goal and was losing the fun of the creation.

Sometimes I feel good just making that one perfect part. If I count only finished projects as a measure of success, I build up tension. If I count a single part as a project, I feel very accomplished. I am happy making that beautiful connecting rod but other people just want to see the engine run.

For me the joy is in the construction, as well as possessing the finished product. I love the joy when a project is complete, but I also savor the trip on the way to that destination. It's like living my life, it is the journey that's important. I need to slow down and smell the roses along the way.

A world class racing car isn't hand built by a world class driver. Not saying it couldn't be. Some folks build beautiful open frame clocks but not because they want to know what time it is. My wife sews beautiful quilts but not because she needs 100 of them to stay warm. She doesn't make them for sale either. Now I understand.

Some people enjoy creating for its own pleasure. Some just want to drive the car. Many enjoy doing both.

My present interest in lost wax casting is in the art of the creation, not collecting finished pieces.  But I have realized I do want to create some sort of legacy from things I have made. It’s probably an artifact left over from the aging process, a desire for immortality.

A brass steam locomotive could still be one of those items…

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