Monday, November 17, 2008

Monday Madness and Collaboration

Coffee in the Austin skyline mug, "Snow (Hey Oh)" by the Chili Peppers (the Red Hot Fest continues) on iTunes. As promised yesterday, I write the saga of the new collaboration.

I love Wikipedia: "Collaboration is a recursive process where two or more people or organizations work together toward an intersection of common goals — for example, an intellectual endeavor that is creative in nature—by sharing knowledge, learning and building consensus. Collaboration does not require leadership and can sometimes bring better results through decentralization and egalitarianism. In particular, teams that work collaboratively can obtain greater resources, recognition and reward when facing competition for finite resources."

Working with Elliott Metal Works has definitely been an intellectual endeavor that is creative in nature and I strongly believe that we have both obtained greater resources, recognition and reward at our shows as a result of our joint work. I have been inspired to create new styles and colorways and my sales have increased dramatically with the addition of the new work--moving both my art and my business to new levels. The partnership has been so stimulating and lucrative that I am all fired up about forming a new one. There are still more directions I would like to take my work that are closed to me when working with steel--e.g., it's very challenging to overcome the rust issue when designing pieces for outdoors, and the steel work is predominantly two-dimensional.

Todd Briske is a local wire artist whom I have known for a number of years. He recently spent a couple of days in my studio helping out with the 7th grade fieldtrip. He was like a kid in a candy shop with all the broken discarded pieces I have lying around and during downtime, he'd grab up some of my junk, wrap it in aluminum wire and hang it on the back studio fence. I was completely enamored of the results and thought what a great potential collaboration I could have with him. Evidently my subconscious came to the same decision as after a couple of weeks of percolating, ideas for combined aluminum wire and fused glass work came pouring out of my head. Though the pieces we plan to do don't look anything like the work on the fence, they were a good jumping off point for my back brain.

When I met with Todd last week to propose working together to him, he was just as giddy about the potential as I was. To start us out and test the waters, I am making up 100 ornaments like we did with the 7th graders and he's going to wrap them in large gauge aluminum wire for added decorative interest and hangability. He's also going to time the process so we have a starting point for figuring out how many we can sell. Won't do any good get an order from, say, Neiman Marcus for 1500 of them if he can't produce that many without having a mental breakdown or losing control of his hands... and the same goes for me. I haven't tried to whip out 100 small ornaments at a time either. I haven't been much of one for small work at all, but helping Jessie with her jewelry over the past couple of weeks was fun. And wow is it easy to pack and carry!

On a more practical note, I will also gain the benefit of having a big strapping male to help set-up and break-down at shows. Delicate little me is just going to LOVE having an extra set of hands... (I'm getting too old for the physical rigor of the show circuit). Todd was initially interested in replacing Becky as my assistant, but I think collaborating on work is much more appropriate and a better fit.

1 comment:

Bill said...