In the midst of the insanity that is Spring Semester, I occasionally find myself reflecting on calmer, more relaxed times, such as Winter Break- the only time I think I’ve ever had virtually nothing to do. During those seven weeks of nothing, I often had to get creative to stay busy.
Which is why one day, I found myself hot-gluing crayons to a piece of poster board and then blowing on them with a hair dryer. For those that haven’t seen this technique, the idea is that when heat is applied, the wax will drip down from the crayons creating streaks of brightly colored wax. It’s a surprisingly lovely visual. And I was in a DIY kind of mood.
While I am certainly artistically inclined, artistically gifted is more of a stretch. A project like this seemed safe for someone like me, the skill level required was exceptionally low. And yet, I managed to mess it up.
My plan was to get a bit creative and tape the outline of the words, “Carpe Diem” (oh so original), to the board so the wax would drip over them. When the letters were peeled away I envisioned crisp white letters amidst a background of dripping colors. As most aspects in my life, it didn’t turn out the way I planned.
First of all, because I left the paper covering on many of the crayons, the hard wax ended up melting inside of the coverings and ultimately falling out. The pressure from the hairdryer blew the wax in ten billion different directions, which is why a lot of it ended up on the walls. (Sorry, mom.) Not to mention the fact that the only shapes the wax dripped around were the scotch tape pieces I used to secure the letters to board, leaving a bunch of odd looking white squares amidst the mess of wax.
Now, I would like to say that despite my unsuccessful execution, the final product was striking in all its haphazard glory. That even though the project went in a completely different direction than envisioned, the end result still managed to achieve a sort of beautiful honesty. No such luck, my friends. It just looked stupid.
If there’s anything I’ve learned from my career as a college student, it’s that things rarely go as planned. Whether it’s changing your major, taking a class that is nothing like what you thought it would be, studying abroad in a country you never wanted to go to, or waking up thirty minutes late to a 9am, a college student, and a human being for that matter, is constantly having to adjust and move forward. I find that no matter how carefully laid out the schedule in my planner is, there will always be those external events that can upset the entire balance. So yes it’s good to be organized; certainly it is important to plan ahead; and there is no problem with taking on a craft with the end result in mind. But I’ve found that even more crucial is learning to be flexible. When you can still keep moving forward in spite of those inconveniences, both minor and major, that’s when you really start to accomplish big things.
I’m coming to embrace that, one failed art project at a time.