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New Year’s Totem Pole, part III

Okay, I’ve been a little behind on this project, which is perhaps a good reminder that New Year’s resolutions can be hard to keep!

What’s been discussed so far:
Totem Pole Concept and task: list

Totem Pole second task: gather

Your next task in creating your New Year’s Totem Pole is both simple and complicated:

Simple. Take all the materials you’ve collected that stand for the items on your list and assemble them in a way that resembles your version of a totem pole. This assembly should result in each of the items being attached, one to the other, with the “bottom” or beginning of your totem pole being item #1 from your list and the “top” or summit of your totem pole being item #8 from your list.

Complicated. You may have a mixture of two- and three-dimensional items or all of either. If you have a mixture, you will need to find a way to make the two-dimensional items three dimensional. This can be a fun and creative aspect to the task. Let your creative mind come up with the solution. Think about who you are. Maybe you will repurpose objects you have on hand. Maybe you will recycle. Maybe you will go to the art store and find a form to link them together. Maybe it’s as simple as skewering everything artfully on a bare dogwood branch. Whatever you do, it should be unique to your perspective and personality.

Even more complicated. What happens if your items can’t be put together at all (some are overlarge or otherwise impossible to affix to other items)? Simply generate a “reasonable facsimile” of the impossible object. For instance, I know someone who has “ambergris” on their list. Well, by itself, it’s not really a good thing to connect to a totem pole. Instead, that particular person infused a piece of fabric with the musky scent of ambergris and wrapped it around styrofoam form to create a scented ornament. I know someone else who loves the woodburning craft, and they took equally shaped discs and etched images into them that represented the ideas on their list.

The goal here is to capture the symbols of things that have meaning for you and to put them together in a way that creates a kind of hierarchy that expresses your creative intent for the year. The other goal is to make the totem pole as beautiful or eye-catching as you can.

Okay, work on this for a spell. I’ll be working on mine, but I won’t have it finished until February thanks to some big production deadlines and a trip to NYC in my immediate future. When I complete it, I’ll take a photo and post it here so you can see what I made.

At that point, I’ll discuss what all this means and how the totem pole can be used to inspire you throughout the year.

Have fun and don’t worry if it doesn’t make sense quite yet or if your work isn’t as beautiful as you expect it should be. Ultimately, everything you create will make sense to you on levels beneath those which you function at daily. Part of the totem pole project is meant to tap into those subterranean aspects of your creative self to divine more about who you are as a creative person.

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