Concentration Reassurances

Some thoughts, reassurances, and ways to begin as we dive into creating ‘concentrations’ together…

Some Thoughts:

1.   Your concentration will evolve over time. You can only really know what you need to do to make the next piece…and this can then lead you to the next piece. Do NOT feel like you should know what your 8th or even your 3rd piece will be! This needs to be informed by what you actually DO…the doing will help your path of decision making.

2.   There are always too many things we could make, too many ideas. This is a good problem, but can also be distracting! Your concentration is not the ONLY work you will make, so don’t feel like you are stuck just making this visually and conceptually related work. You will also make other work. J

3.   A repeated subject alone is not a concentration. For example I should not say ‘my concentration is ‘shoes’. However, my concentration could be ‘to design a series of shoes which explore a connection to nature’, or ‘to create a series of sculptures using feet and shoe imagery to imply travel, movement, and displacement.’  There needs to be a connecting IDEA that you exploring, digging for, investigating, chewing on…

4.      Ideally this is artwork you look forward to making!

5.      Even though this is work you ideally look forward to making, there will likely be moments when the work just feels like work…I often am really excited to start a piece, then sometime during the project I just have to really be disciplined in order to actually finish the piece.  There are ups and downs in the ‘making’ process!  



1.    Your first piece may not actually be a concentration piece! THIS IS OKAY! This is a start, and if not the actual first piece of your concentration, it will still become a piece for the ‘breadth’ section of your portfolio.

2.    Your concentration is really YOURS…we are looking at a ton of examples, but your work can only come from you. There is no expectation that your pieces look anything like what we have seen thus far.

3.    Of course you may have some worries about your concentration series at the start, THIS IS NORMAL.

4.    Eventually these pieces will feel like an opportunity to explore something you really want to make and see—not something you feel you just SHOULD explore. Your idea, your materials are for your own artistic explorations



1.   Think of a piece you have made already that you really like. This piece could lead to a whole series of work! Consider how you might create a ‘next’ in this possible series.

2.   Consider at least 3 subjects or places or people or themes that you feel very connected to and consider creating a piece related to these ideas…

3.   ZOOM IN…think of something seemingly insignificant but concrete (a chair, a fern, a room, a face) and consider how it might be seen symbolically or how it might be imbued with meaning thanks to your artistry.  For example, a room that is empty conveys a much different emotion than a room that is stuffed to the ceiling with objects…and is exploring a totally different view of interior spaces.

4.   For 3-D folks, consider an ordinary object and brainstorm 10 ways you could re-imagine or transform this object.

5.   See giant list of concentration prompts and ideas! Choose a prompt from the list to inspire your ‘possible concentration piece’.


Finally, know that this is a PROCESS, and that I so look forward to working with each one of you as you begin to discover ‘the central idea of your concentration’. 


--ms. ridl :   )

Last modified: Thursday, December 6, 2018, 2:17 PM