But how do you know when it’s finished?

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Chandelier 3

Chandelier 4People often ask me how I know a work is finished. It’s always the same answer; because it makes a sound. It’s not quite a sound, more a pushing energy which says Take your hands off me, I am no longer yours, I am free, let me go. It’s usually a kind of shocking moment, and it always creeps up on me out of nowhere. I’m working away, wondering if I’m gonna make the deadline, then something shifts, an energy, a vibration, a wanting, and, like some kind of wierd art sci fi movie, the work actually pushes me away. There’s a kind of grief moment in there, where I think really? It’s done? I’m not ready to let go. Like all grief perhaps, the moment of parting comes unexpectedly; we can never be prepared for loss. And then I just stand there, or sit on the floor usually, chilling out, having a look, spending some time. I imagine this is what it must feel like when your child walks for the first time perhaps, or goes to school. There’s one bit where this being is part of you, and it’s so much a part of you that you don’t understand it or know it, you can’t really see it too well because you’re too entangled in it. You know what it needs next because you communicate on some ultra non-rational level, where you don’t need language or maths, you just need to keep listening and feeling, and trying things out, because you’re learning through living. And then suddenly, it’s done with you and holding your hand to be able to stand up. It’s off, into the wide world to make its own fortune. Yep, I reckon the streets are paved with gold too, go find out.
That’s how I know a work is finished. It just doesn’t need me any more to be who it is, and it’s ready to brave whatever is coming, all on its own.