Planning vs. experimenting

I do plan a lot, I get ideas for jewelry everywhere I go. Sometimes I just play with them in my mind, sometimes I doodle them in my notebook or my virtual notebook on my iPad. Some ideas balance on the edge of my knowledge and skills so I have to ponder on them a lot before executing. I have to get the different phases sorted out, create patterns and support structures and solve some design-related problems. In some cases planning is vital and bad planning usually backfires already in the early stages.

steel clay experiments
These two steel pendants fresh out of the kiln were my previously failed projects – with some experimental carving on the dry stage they turned out quite nice indeed.

However lately I’ve been experimenting a lot – it may be caused by the new clays I’ve been testing, but I’ve also felt it has been liberating to just go and explore. Of course it is also a bit easier with bronze and steel metal clays, silver clay is so expensive compared to them that it doesn’t really allow playing with it without going bankrupt. Whatever the reason it has been fun to notice that experimenting has given me plenty of new ideas on the go. Some have appeared on a whim, some when returning to partly failed projects and trying another technique on them with the fear of failing long gone. I like this new energy it gives and the longing to experiment a lot more. But it also means that there isn’t that much control over things as it’s more difficult predict how things go when working fast and intuitively. I just have to endure the increased uncertainty. (Well, some uncertainty always exists when working with metal clay, but you get the point, right?)

Today I experimented both on a Art Clay Silver project and making a Hyperlapse video. The clip below shows me carving and connecting two silver parts to a form I found playing with the dry clay pieces. What is the way you pick for your creative projects? Planning or experimenting? I definitely like both.