Saturday, 11 March 2017

This week's progress

Well I stuck to the plan and for several days this past week I've been up early for a pre-work session in the studio. I have to admit I'm more productive in the morning than after work, and it does feel good to start the day knowing I don't have to force myself to fit in creative time at the end of the day when I'm over it. Up here in Far North Queensland it's well and truly light and balmy even at 5.30 am so getting out of bed isn't too difficult. I did spend some time moving things around to fit in the large table I used to have in my Hobart studio. But now that I have dedicated areas for cutting, ironing, sewing and beading, I'm on a roll.

The only thing is, I still actually don't know what I'm making! I've always worked best with an end product in mind and I'm just not sure what that is right now. I remember my art teachers urging me to just make and explore and ideas will come, so I'm doing that. I've taken those lovely pink fabrics I gathered last week and have been experimenting with them using the same techniques and a similar motif to the work I was doing last year. Maybe it's the tropical environment or the climate, I don't know, but  right now I'm drawn to bright colours rather than the muted eco dyed silks I used back then. This new colour scheme and slightly more elongated shapes are giving that old idea a new lease on life. I guess that's what design development is all about… introducing different elements to an existing design and seeing where it goes.

So from this idea I could make brooches, hair accessories, miniature artworks, a major wall hanging or all of the above. For the moment though, I'm just enjoying the act of being creative (almost) every day. Let's see how long I can "stick to the program"…..

Here are some pics of this week's progress.

Please do leave a comment with any fabulous ideas!


Deb x

My study old 70s sewing machine (a hand-me-down from my Mum) ready to roll in the early morning light.
Pinks on pinks on oranges, ready for stitching.
Opaque pieces stitched down.
Then the sheer layers added.
I use the free embroidery foot on my machine to sew through the layers creating the quilted effect.
I like to do a couple at a time.
The free embroidery allows me to use the machine like a fine liner and create fluid lines.
Here the basting glue I use to keep the pieces in place as I sew is still visible!
I then cut the pieces away from the backing cloth. Here I was experimenting with combining two pieces together.
Now I'm trying out a different colour combo on some mini motifs.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

The struggle to be creative.

Thinking pink in the studio today.

After having the intention for a couple of weeks (and whingeing to my husband yesterday about not having the chance to be creative - to which he responded matter-of-factly "well why don't you just go down there and be creative?") I finally set aside a couple of hours today to get into my studio and make a start on something new. Starting new projects usually fills me with a sense of excitement and renewed energy for my craft because more often than not, I've had ideas rolling around my head, waiting for me to finish my current project so I can express them.

But today…. well I really just faffed around for two hours pulling out all my pink fabric, setting up a half arsed ironing station and staring out the window. This was my time, but I just wasn't into it today. I'm tired because I worked late last night. I'm hot and sweaty because I live in Townsville and there's no air-con in my studio. I'm uninspired because I actually don't know what to do! And I'd rather be relaxing in the pool.

But I continued begrudgingly with self-talk going on in my head that went something like this…..
"Stop making excuses. True artists don't wait for inspiration, they show up and create regardless. Find your discipline, and focus. You know you just need to make a start and you'll be on a roll. And also, you've made a big deal about setting up this studio so now you have to do something in it!!

"I'm forcing myself to be creative!" I told my husband. "Why do feel you have to be creative?" was his response.

And that got me thinking, "Why do I feel like I have to be creative?"

Well first of all, I like to identify myself as a textile artist. I know it's not my full time job but I do believe that anyone who regularly applies themselves to their work can call themselves an artist. I have created artwork and exhibited it and even sold some pieces. So I'm an artist, but only if I continue to be one. Secondly, I developed quite a disciplined routine with my practice last year and was very productive. I hate to think of just letting that momentum fall away as if it were another lifetime ago. And also, I know that it's good for my soul to be creative. It's hard to describe, but I experience an inner fulfilment when I create that's a mixture of meditative mindfulness and joyful energy. I know that when I go for too long without it, I start to feel out of sorts and directionless. So yes, I have to be creative!

But what happens when one's lifestyle is somewhat incompatible with being actively creative? When one works full time and runs a household and is depleted of physical and mental energy, let alone any creative energy at the end of the day? And when one lives in a climate which is more conducive to outdoor activities such as pool dips and sipping Gin and Tonics on the balcony than slaving over a hot sewing machine? I suppose one has to come up with solutions to make it happen.

Well miraculously, something did happen while I was staring out the window. I allowed myself to vague out and let go of practical thoughts. My brain became clear and I started thinking creatively. (I guess this is what meditation is all about) I recalled months-old ideas, conversations and suggestions, which led to other ideas. Then, as I gazed blankly around my inspiration boards, I honed in on a colour combination which excites me. It had always been there, I'd just never really noticed it. I was able to visualise a thing and a plan to create it. It dawned on me that maybe what I need is an initial period of mind-clearing in preparation for a new project, just as having a clean studio and a clear desk is necessary.

I've also recognised that after a busy working week, weekends aren't always going to be the optimum time to get into my work. And a once a week session certainly isn't going to build momentum. So I'm going to attempt early morning sessions this week. I'm not at all a morning person, but lately after a work day in this heat, I don't seem to be an afternoon or night person either! So I'll see how the mornings pan out for a week and report my creative progress on my next blog.

Wish me luck!


Deb x