Inspecting the whirling LED Snowflakes, I realize this teardrop art project is my best yet – better than the six cartoon Fish, better than the Roses that have graced two weddings, and even better than the money-eating, laser-cut, braised steel, relationship-killing Sunflowers.
I’m grateful for the Snowflake’s beauty, grateful that my best work wasn’t ten years ago, but now, Now!, this month now. But I’m sad at all that wasted previous effort at the floppy Eels, the twisted grid of the Squares (not regular enough!), and the battered Triangles (looking more Islamic ever day). Those mixed-success pieces each took months of nights and weekends to fabricate. My hands suffered on scissors, staplers, and hold punches. I made the latest Snowflake in just a day.
How to acknowledge past efforts that missed the mark without simply erasing them with a call to Recology for a large-item pick-up? I realize that I could not have gotten here to a Snowflake without trying out several Fish tails. The Fish would not have happened without tinkering with the petal scales of my feather coat or the Sunflower modules. Pieces build on each other. New terrain necessitates lots of exploration.
Folks say great art may require 10,000 hours of effort. Binned into 40-hour weeks, ten thousand hours equals 250 weeks or 5 years of solid work. I’ve invested more like 2,000 hours of effort to LED artwork over 10 years, but I do feel finally that I’m making pieces worthy of galleries.
I’m getting offers to sell my work, with contracts kindly to cover the cost of materials and labor, yet the prices don’t seem reasonable. Like a pharmaceutical company that wants to recuperate its research and development costs, I may want the buyer to incorporate the labors for the less successful pieces like the Squares. Although I do want to find a home eventually for the Snowflakes, I’m going to tour them around for quite a while to a few clubs, a New Year’s Eve party, and the Exploratorium next year (already planning for December 2019).
Likewise, I’ll be living in a Snowflake world for longer than I first thought. I usually finish a piece to move hastily on to the next in my queue, currently Spheres, Birds, and Islamic Tile. As there’s a lot of ground to explore in the Snowflakes, I’m going to poke around some more with teardrops. Can I fold teardrops in three-dimensions to make a Sphere? Can I extend them to make giant sheafs of wheat? Can I fold a teardrop differently into a circle, triangle, or square?