Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Artfully Meandering: The artistic journey of developing skills to match my level of taste

My creative juices have been flowing again and I'm so happy to have them back! I've been totally off my game for the last few years between health and moving around a lot. Next move - Jacksonville, Florida next month! 

So, I need to get into the practice of blogging again. I miss the everyday adventure of when I lived in Hong Kong. There was so much to write about! But, there is much to write about in any creative adventure and my goal is to develop a regular practice of being creative (writing and art). Today's post is a push in that direction. While this isn't going to be a perfect post - I'm pushing myself out of my uncreative funk and "just writing."

The Gap between Taste and Skill

Today's randomness was sparked by reading an interesting quote from Ira Glass on Julie Hamilton's blog. The quote was about the gap between our taste and our skill. It crystallized a line of thought I've had for a while about my own art and whether it was "good enough" to be put on display, and more critically, "good enough" to sell. 

I wouldn't say I have killer taste. I have a defined taste, but it's not as refined and killer as one of my artist friends. (She did an amazing job on a brochure created for one of my jewelry collections. It made me jump with excitement when I saw it. It's the second brochure down on this page.) She sent pictures of her home remodel and her home is a representation of her killer taste.

Southwest Style

Southwest style epitomizes my personal aesthetic. Elements that I love about Southwest style are rustic, handmade, arches, washes of color, texture, minimalism, and patina. I love the eclecticism permitted by southwest style. And I love seeing the imprints and evidence of the "hands" (i.e. an adobe house) that made the object. Those elements are found across the world in styles such as western, country, French country, Tuscan, Moroccan, Spanish, and Mexican.

A Retrospective of My Artistic Journey

Some of the jewelry pieces I've made after five years of making jewelry and glass beads finally were approaching the embodiment of that aesthetic. But it took five years of experimentation and work to get there.

Don't get me wrong. I go back and look at my early work and there is much to love there, too. It's part of the journey. Some of that early work became semi-signature style and got a lot of attention. I still have a lot of my pieces in my personal collection and my sister has been the recipient of a steady stream of my work. I recently went through her collection with fresh eyes and thought, "Hey! That's pretty good! I should keep doing some of that." As my skill progressed, I looked at some of her pieces and realize how I can make things with better quality and longevity (all in all, everything I've given her has held up pretty well). All good things if I'm going to make this into a business.

I definitely had failures in there. I have some beads that I bought at my first bead show that have been in at least 4 necklaces. I just can't seem to make the right necklace for those beads. 

A Stop Along the Way - Country Style

I've been making lots of art for the upcoming issue of Kanna Inspire™. The dragonfly in today's post is an outtake that isn't making the cut, but it contains ideas of the collection that will be produced. I like the idea of it and will probably use the sketch in a future collection or to launch an idea for a future collection. 

I finished up a grouping of patterns and prints and my mom's comment was that "it looked country." And it's true. It did. While "country" is not my core taste, it definitely has elements that I am drawn to. It's a step in my artistic journey as I develop skill in drawing, manipulating Illustrator, and creating end products such as textiles and jewelry. I only make what I like and what I would use, wear, and display in my own home.  

Even these middle efforts still produce aesthetically pleasing results that are a representation of my artists journey to my core taste. 

Your Turn

Where are you in your artistic journey? Does your skill match your taste yet? If so, how long was your journey to matching skills and taste? If you're not there yet, what are you doing to get there? What are you making that you still love even though it's not at your taste level?

P.S. - A Shout Out to Artists with Killer Taste AND Skill

By the way, two of my favorite artists are found in Artful Blogging in this issue! Julie Hamilton and The Noisy Plume Congratulations Julie and Jillian!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Studio Time: Creative Rabbit Holes and Distractions

I love a rabbit hole. I take that back. I dislike rabbit holes when it comes to business meetings. Creatively? I love falling down a rabbit hole into a warren of possibilities. Playing leads to so many interesting results.
  • When i get to my disorganized desk and assess the materials laying there, my mind speeds off in an interesting and unexpected direction
  • Unexpected materials or colors land next to each and I must play
  • My experience doesn’t match my expectations and the resulting play session ends up disappointing
  • Halfway through the process I end up really loving the results of right where I’m at, even if it still isn’t getting me to where I intended to go
I start out with a an idea in my head and rush to the workstation to start trying it out. But many different situations can send me down a rabbit hole where I get lost end up in a very different place than I intended:

The following photos were from falling down a rabbit hole and just following it. This was a combination of "speeding off in a different direction" and getting "halfway through the process.” Both of these are off track of the next theme for Kanna Inspire, but there are some really interesting possibilities for the future. These are not high quality polymer work, but rather prototypes. They’ll get put into an idea bin for future design possibilities.

I starting making canes for some Folk Houses that I wanted to make, but got all distracted and entranced with the prettiness of the canes themselves. I love the millefiore look of the polymer.

This is another example of “halfway through”a process. I was mixing scraps together. The really cool thing with polymer is mixing a whole bunch of crazy colors together and running them through your pasta machine. The partially blended results are really stunning. (The beads were poorly made, but I wanted to make them quickly to capture the idea for use at a later time.) These two experiments will go into my ideas box.

Your turn: How do you fall down the creative rabbit hole? Where have your adventures led you that made you very pleased? 

P.S. - here is a link to some truly gorgeous polymer clay finished product on Polymer Clay Daily. A gorgeous necklace posted back in September 2012.