The Creative Process and a new Desk

June 1, 2008

While I continue with my detailed documentation about my earlier work I thought about how ideas in one’s brain often flow around in a chaotic manner and then suddenly develop into something organized bit by bit. It is a slow materialization of images, sometimes coming in the night, sometimes during the day while you are cleaning the kitchen or doing something equally non-challenging… 😛

So never underestimate the tasks you consider inferior – you never know what brilliant idea may hide behind the duster! It may even change your life entirely as it did mine…

Before I started my art career I had something completely different in my mind. As a writer of technical documentation I planned to do this as a self-employer but things emerged differently.

Being a very pragmatic person and needing a solid desk for my purpose I decided to build one on my own, perfect for my needs and not the vision of some furniture designer. Thinking about this for some nights – while I could not sleep – I started with the construction drawings until I was sure to have planned the right thing.

The next task was to find the right wood. So my next step was to visit the Home Depot, get some nice wood and get it cut into the right sizes. Well – you need the machinery for this which I had not, neither the space to do this. You see – there is nearly always a solution which need not be expensive.

I got everything I needed now, nice wood with a wonderful grain. I built the desk according to my drawings. Solid and sturdy it was exactly as I needed it but something was missing: the art work.

Well – I am always looking for the aesthetic of an object and this desk was not yet finished in my opinion. I had already gained quite a lot of knowledge about the handling of wooden surfaces, how to seal them from dust, scratching and moisture. But this was not enough yet. So I went back into the home depot to look for something I did not know yet 😕

So how can you look for something you don’t know? I’ll tell you: inspiration. This is the secret of all creative people. Opening the mind, looking around, letting ideas come and go, floating around – that’s inspiration. And I got it: I found a small electric chisel that’s normally used for building models for cars, ships, air crafts etc. And it was the right thing for me.

Back in my studio I began to exercise with this little chisel. I did not want to spoil my wonderful new desk with an amateurish ornamentation. Finally I made some new drawings of the ornaments I wanted to cut into the surface. It had to be a bit oriental (because I love Arabic ornaments) and a bit Asian style as well. I was so inspired from my many travels to southeast Asian countries that I wanted this to be reflected in this desk.

The main elements were to be the geometric forms of the Moroccan/Arabic culture – this appeared to me fitting best for this purpose because the form of the desk was straight and simple. And so I went for it:


The wood was simple to work with. I chose laminated birch wood (?). The surface was sanded, varnished, then treated with a finish on the basis of beeswax and finally polished with pure beeswax which creates a wonderfully, velvety surface.

Just as an aside – the desk can be de-mounted again – because everything is held together by very strong wooden dowels – very practical for a move because you need not carry one very heavy piece!

As an additional comment (thanks to Madame Monet):

I forgot to mention that the carving part of the plate is covered by a thick glass plate in order to protect the carving and still being able to see it!


4 Responses to “The Creative Process and a new Desk”

  1. wpm1955 Says:

    Wow, this is beautiful work (and I live in Morocco, by the way).

    I’d like to make a suggestion to you, in case you ever carve another desk. The place you carved would be difficult place a paper to write on. Why not leave that square or rectangular section uncarved, and make the carving as a wide border around the place you carved in this photo.

    It might be hard to clean, but actually a vacuum might work well on the carving to get the dust out.

    Best regards,
    Madame Monet, in Marrakesh
    Writing, Painting, Music, and Wine

  2. vyala Says:

    Dear Madame Monet,

    thank you very much for this lovely compliment. I totally forgot to mention, that this part of the desk – where the carving is – is covered by an exactly fitting glass plate. Without this you surely would not be able to write on the desk.
    My idea was that the glass plate serves 2 purposes: first it protects the carving but you can still see it and it protects the wood itself because scratches would be inevitable on a desk.

    Best regards,

  3. Jana Bouc Says:

    This is absolutely stunning. I feel so clumsy trying to build anything that I’m just awestruck by what you created! I agree that we need time to just let our minds run free and be creative. Mine does some of its best work while sleeping, showering and doing dishes.

  4. vyala Says:

    Jana – thank you so much for your kind words. It means a lot to me – you won’t know how much.

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