I am reminded of the art school that did an experiment with its students one term. The class was divided into two groups: One group was instructed to make only one work for the entire term, but students were told that it needed to be a masterpiece; Quality was their goal; the second group was instructed not to worry about quality, but to concentrate on quantity only. Not surprisingly, the best quality came from the group that was instructed NOT to worry about quality, but just make as much work as possible. Two things are evident: 1) Practice makes perfect and 2) Releasing any inhibitions and pressure allows creativity to flow more freely and after a while, the best work emerges. Try to do a little work every day!
Look for inspiration everywhere. There is an overwhelming instinct to depict or represent what we see around us when we are looking for inspiration. Look for shapes, lines, colors, angles, contours that can translate into new beginnings, springboards into new original work. Just a kernel of a visual experience can lead to the edge of a closure in a garment, a division of space in a quilt or a palette you might not have cooked up in your studio. Get ideas and inspiration anywhere you can: through the lens of a microscope, in architecture, from the tiles on the floor of some public place, from the produce display at the grocery store. Record ideas by taking pictures with your phone, keeping a sketchbook or on the legendary paper napkin in a restaurant. Go back to these records when you need a reminder of what inspired you that day. Remember the key word, "inspiration!" It does not have to be a representation or a depiction of what you see....just a springboard to your own new creation!
December, 2013Don't compromise your design to make it technically easier! Years ago, when I was a graduate student in sculpture, I was doing an independent study with one of the University of Washington professors who was a well known sculptor and fountain-maker, George Tsutakawa. He would either come to my studio to look at what I was doing or I would go to his office to show him some ideas I was considering. During one such meeting, I showed him several sketches of ideas for my thesis works of two part pieces and, pointing to one of my drawings, I remarked, "I really like this one but I don't think I can pull it off technically." (One part seemed to be floating above the other.) His reply was, "Don't compromise your design to make something technically easier; you will always figure out some way to do it." I have always remembered the wisdom of his advice and have passed it on to my students. In the quilt world, I can't tell you how often I have heard a quilter say, "I made a mess of that intersection of seams, but I'll just add a button (applique, embroidery, etc.) there to cover it up." If that is not what the quilt or work needs, then you are compromising the design! Take the seams out and fix it! Having said this, if the change in the design does not compromise it, then go right ahead! But be honest; and don't be lazy about doing the work to make something better!