Making little things

Grand plans have their place. But sometimes it is good to make little things.

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Clockwork beetles (eventually became part of an illustration for Trudi Canavan)

They are beautiful. Their tininess is fascinating and they look incredibly complicated by virtue of being small, and all the natural textures come out to play in ways that are lost in a big piece. People will compliment you on your remarkable detail work which is a nice ego boost, although you know that the trick is this: the smaller a piece is, the more detail you can leave out.

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Trying to get the textures of matchbox art (for Mermay)

They are completed so soon. You have made a thing! It is out in the world now, being. On busy days or hard days or stagnant days or days all stacked up on giant projects, they remind you that you can make a whole thing, that you can hold in your hand.

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Out of desperation to have drawn a thing, any thing, that day.

Like a prettyish sort of little wilderness, you can lose yourself in a small project without fear of wandering too far. There are, after all, times when you can’t get away for long, and times when you need to stay close to home.

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Learning control

They can be test-patches for larger ideas. There’s no pressure there. No commitment. You are just trying things out in the service of some larger beauty. A few verses to try out the style of a grander epic. A short story to feel out the edges of a world. A tiny print in the manner of a picture book you’d like to make. And maybe it will lead to grander things, or maybe you will decide this was enough. You have made a thing, after all, and it was not here before.

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High waists are back in

Many little things, all set side by side, can add up to a collection, an exhibition, but that is not the point.

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And why are we standing behind the watch? What does it mean?

You can pretend you are a clockmaker, or a spy hiding secret messages.

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And then, when you are done (so quickly!), you can put the rest away and sit back for a little, or go for a walk, shining with having made a thing, one thing, today.

13 thoughts on “Making little things

  1. Thank you! So inspiring and what beautiful pictures. There is something special about tiny things, even when the work is not as wonderful as yours. I didn’t know low waists were out of fashion of ants pants!

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