From UFO to Completion

What happens to UFOs– UnFinished Objects– that may have once commanded your creative attention?

A pair of sterling silver earrings languished unfinished in my workbox for months as I carried them from my house to a downtown studio and back again. During one visit, I pulled them out, added a piece of curved wire for detail and left them again. Some weeks later, I resolved to seize completion energy.

In a short time I created a patina and set small cabochons of amazonite.  This ancient stone, named from the river in Brazil, is believed to assist one in communicating and aligning words with actions. What an amazing selection to help me fine tune completion energy, one of my recurring challenges. More on those energies and on UFOs in these earlier posts.

Completion energy is the high that comes from tying up loose ends, finishing projects and celebrating the accomplishment of done. 

In retrospect, my earring project was an easy achievement. I wonder why it took me so long. Determined to avoid such an error in the future, I considered with stark honesty the reasons for incompletion not only of the earrings but of other projects.

Themes surfaced: lost interest, changed direction, had unanswered questions, saw no purpose to continue. 

Why UFOs – Unfinished Objects?

It’s easy to lose interest. If the project is no longer important to me, or if I lose touch with the why of a project, it’s “Sayanora,” or goodbye. This happened with a needlepoint project. I found the revival when I planned a family needlepoint gift for Christmas then challenged myself with a completion deadline. When there is no creative challenge, I may also give up, but that’s another story.

Changing directions is the bane of creatives. I call it SOS – Shiny Object Syndrome. I find the cure is structure that curbs choices. Too many directions splinters attention and, as a result, the contributions to an artists body of work are diluted. During the year I tackled polymer clay, bronze metal clay and apoxie clay in addition to various bead projects, my focus suffered. 

Questions. If the challenge requires advanced skills beyond my current capacity, chances are the project may get abandoned. Early in my beading career when I tackled overly-difficult class projects, I found myself in overwhelm. I still have a kit or two from that era awaiting completion. What I now know is to limit the learning curve. For example, if I’m learning a new technique, I may choose to use larger beads for the initial part of the project because they are easier to manipulate.

No purpose to continue. Sometimes I pursue a project for its learning component. Kumihimo, or the art of Japanese braiding using a foam disk is one of those types of efforts. I braid a few inches of a particular color or size of bead to use in another project. However, as enthused as I was at the beginning of the project, when it seems that the idea won’t work, it’s abandoned. 

In conclusion…

Completion energy fuels creative feats. Purpose, combined with intention kindles all manner of achievement. The loose threads of a project (the UFO) are concentrated in its finishing elements. 

Based on my current state of mind, finished rather than perfect becomes an attractive mantra. It’s one that forces me to be present and causes me to jump back into the project at hand.

What will you do to eliminate UFOs – Unfinished Objects? How will you fire up project completion?