how deadlines affect decisions

I spent the weekend finishing a piece I have been working on for over a month. The slice and dice and reslice method led me to a shattered array of black and white shapes that inspires me to do more. The last stitches added detail, structure and narrative.

Shattered, detail, Paula Kovarik

I wouldn't have finished this one without a deadline. I've been asked by American Craft magazine to provide a number of photos of my work, past and present. When I set about cataloging the work I realized that the most current works were not photographed and many are not done. It made me think that perhaps this habit of starting new projects rather than finishing works in progress may be changing the way I do my work. Is finishing important? If I leave a piece undone is it because I can't make a decision about the final look? Would I dawdle forever without a deadline? What stops endings?

My career as a graphic designer required that I make important decisions within limited time frames. Doing a layout 12 different ways didn't make it better, it made it late to press. I often said that the reason I could do the job so efficiently was that I had the power of arbitrary decision.  So now I am the decision maker without boundaries. And I dawdle, second guess and recombine with vigor. And the work improves ... mostly. But it also dies sometimes. Death by losing the original spark, death by fussiness, death by construction disaster.

I'm pleased with the results of this weekend. The piece spurs new ideas and gives me a sense that I am on the right track. It also opens up a new space on the design wall. A gift of space and inspiration. Who could ask for more?