I saw the documentary, The September Issue, weeks ago at BAM Rose Cinemas. I was really intrigued by the BAM website's decription of the film, which said it followed Vogue's editor and its Creative Director during the creation of the 2007 fall fashion issue, and that it was a story about the relationship between curator and creator. The film did not disappoint me. The journeys of both women are intriguing, and the work relationship they've crafted over the last twenty years together gives the impression of a fragile tension, held together by vision and commitment. One of my favorite parts is near the end, when the Creative Director is talking about how hard it is to make work that gets cut from the issue, time and again. But then she says something like (I'm doing this from memory here, so it's probably paraphrased), But the work needs a vessel. It's the vessel that gives the work its validity.
My thoughts ever since keep creeping back to the relationship between creative work and the vessels that deliver it to the world. The ways in which a well-designed vessel can turn the volume of its art up in the world's conversation, draw an audience, or even give it an opportunity to be created at all.
A few weeks ago I was in the woods of New Hampshire, awake early in the morning and watching the light creep into my room. It was my first day teaching, and I thought about how long I had dreamed of creating the conversation and experience that my students and I would travel through that day. All I've ever wanted is to participate in people's healing, I thought, and that is going to happen today.
And then I realized that Squam Art Workshops were the vessel for this creative work I've longed for and not yet done: creating classes. And Elizabeth was my curator. I felt that partnership to my toes.
The picture broadens now, as I turn my focus from simply making good work to also looking for how to pair the right work with the right vessel, and how to create vessels for other artists. How to elevate and validate the work that is waiting to be introduced or showcased, or even made in a live moment. And I'm letting myself dream, freely and big.
What vessels are you dreaming of for your work?