Intuitive Construction (or how I came to live in a brightly-painted bird’s-nest)

The workshop prompt:  Describe your creative process in terms of the construction of a building / structure. 

I’m not what you’d call an architect.  I don’t use the protractor, level, or tape measure.  I eyeball it.  I drag one piece of wood up against another, squint a bit, call it good or not.  I rely on my gut and love a piece of warped wood for the floor if it warms the space.  I have one organic impression or another—a blooming bee balm flower, a head of garlic, a bird’s nest, a summer storm, but I never draw a blue print.  I just tilt my head and build from the inside out.

When the building is complete, I survey it—I tidy here, I push back a thing there, I switch this part for that part.  The finished product—somewhat a misnomer, truth be told, because I’m always rearranging the furniture or art objects—is not without reflection and evaluation, but the specifics aren’t often drawn and measured before I begin; I don’t pile bricks and lumber neatly or even always ensure that I have roughly enough material to finish a project.

There are certainly drawbacks to not having a plan—the door doesn’t shut quite right, the hallway is always a little drafty; sometimes I live without a roof in spots.  But I have found that the intuitive unwinding of the structures that I create from a pile of raw material I’ve collected over years often results in something rather elegant, something coherent beyond my own expectations.  This window echoes an interior passage way; the house itself spirals around its staircase and on up towards the sky.  Sometimes it’s startling: I find familiar jewels crammed into the gaps inherent to a process that rejects measurements.  It is a strange way to build a home, but I love discovering those unintentional stripes of mottled light.

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