For instance, if I am designing an altar, I have to "come to the altar." In some sort of way I have to start over - let old emotion and old notions go. They might come back, but if they do they come back renewed. I always thought T. S. Eliot had it right: "And any action is a step to the block, to the fire, down the sea's throat or to an illegible stone: and that is where we start." The part of me that thinks it knows relaxes. The part that is afraid is invited to come forward. In order to make an altar, I must come to the altar: seeking, listening, looking for revelation, transformation, something new.
At some point the second stage of design kicks in. Here there is indeed 'invention', long experience in the shop, and knowledge of history, design, materials, and liturgy. These two distinct movements inside the artist (vulnerability & skill, let’s call them) can come into a respectful, even loving, relationship with each other. A spiritual chemistry ensues which allows for a new creation.