I heard it used in a podcast I was listening to late last week while buried in my studio, having embarked on a week long mission to design and construct twenty-five gemstone rings.
A literal combination of "beautiful" and "brutal", this word nicely sums up my experience.
Why did I do it? It's a good question. For starters, I had been toying with the idea for awhile now. Not specifically a 25-Ring Challenge, but the notion of wanting to see and measure exactly how far I could push myself within a given window of time. An Act of Disciplined Design, let's call it. One hurdle for me in being an entrepreneur and artist is the frequent lack of routine, which trickles down into a seeming lack of accountability and structure. I thought if I gave myself some parameters and a project with a deadline, I could better gauge my strengths and pinpoint precisely where I stand to improve. After all, if you can measure it, you can manage it.
Additionally, it is my very personal belief that art is therapy. In my world, construction is cathartic. Two weeks ago brought an ending to a nearly eighteen month long war and two weeks ago, I lost. The details here don't matter as that's not the point of this post, but I will share that I don't feel the timing of this challenge was accidental. I needed to bury myself alive in my work. To make something lovely in the face of loss and assign some purpose to my pain. I didn't give much thought to it other than realizing that, last Monday night, I had nothing to lose but myself in a sea of silver and stones, and that's what I suddenly needed to do. I try very hard to let my work speak when my words fail. I had a lot to say. "Why wait?" I thought, so I posted a video announcing my task, and I began the challenge Tuesday morning.
Why 25 rings?
I don't know. It felt impossible and scary, so probably a good thing to attempt.
Why 7 days?
Though I didn't manage to finish setting the stones, what I did manage to do was create a collection of greater scale and detail than any I've put forth before. I did manage to push my own limits and exceed my own expectations. I managed to make something out of a time of sadness and anger, and I managed to manage my pain in a productive, purposeful way. . .
I hope, more than anything, that my experiment has served some purpose in the world for others even as it has also served me. I hope you'll take whatever advice is here as simply my two cents and nothing more, as I certainly cannot speak for everyone's process, ability, or priorities. I also hope that you can find some inkling of inspiration in this post. As I get older and grow softer, I find myself wanting more and more to be a source of joy and stimulation in this world. Know I believe fully in you. You are brimming with good and valuable works, untapped talents, limitless ability. Let's make more things, and let's make more makers. There is so much good here in our hands and in this world, despite the difficulty that often comes with growth.
Note: Full description of this experience may be found on the blog at http://www.rosyrevolver.gallery/2018/07/twenty-five-rings-in-seven-days-and.html
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Sterling & Fine Silvers.
Natural Rosecut Quartz
Measures a US ring size 7.5