Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Studio Time: Developing a Cohesive Body of Work

So, I've been buckling back down to studio time.  While I would make art and dabble in bits and pieces over the last several years, it really had been 6-7 years since I was in the "I-can't-help-but-make-art" phase where I was really productive. I have to admit, it was a little bit of effort to get myself going in my art again. I had some fears. Some fears of not being good enough and a mental block knowing I had to get through the slog of “beginner work” again.

And now that I have, studio time is coming naturally (and obsessively) the way it used to when I started as a hobby. I’m still in a wildly experimental mode, but as I was taking pictures of the pieces and looking at the pile on table, I realized I am developing a cohesive body of work. It’s still in early enough stages that other artists can replicate easily if they want to. (See the bon-bon necklace in simple basic colors.) But, I’m beginning to riff off previous work (working in a series) and the result is getting more and more cohesive and recognizable. I’m not sure it would qualify as “art jewelry” completely yet, but we have to start somewhere, right? My simpler pieces have more mass appeal (and I kind of like these pieces because this is what I used to wear before I made my own jewelry) and I enjoy making these. These are going to be the ones I have available for farmer’s markets and craft/art shows. I’m working at building up a reasonable inventory and want to start doing first Fridays maybe next month? 

This is a huge breakthrough for me to look at this picture and see “me” in it. It's been about 6-7 years since I saw such a cohesive style in my work. I've been in wildly experimental mode which can sometimes induce "style whiplash" where you can't find a discernible link to previous work. But, as long as you persist, what starts out as whiplash eventually links previous work to current work. Sometimes you just have to "play wildly" to move on. 

While I’ve taken a few techniques classes (and didn’t master them), and I follow other polymer artists to see what they’re doing, I’m really trying to develop my own methods and techniques. I find this is method is really working for me. I might take some expensive classes from masters later, but I’m liking putting blinders on a really focusing on putting my own stamp on this medium. 

Do you remember when you saw a cohesive "body of work" in your art? 

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