Friday, 19 March 2010

How, why, when?

Thanks for such a positive response to my website!  I've felt a bit vulnerable this week letting people know about the site and knowing that they've been clicking into my blog and the inner workings of my mind!  I've felt creatively supported and also feel that I can be more honest about who I am.  There have been lots of how, why and when questions that I thought I would try and answer.  I must admit to a bit of stage fright knowing that new people are tapping in to follow my creative journey.......hello.

I've already covered how I work in other posts on this blog, but I've not really covered how I research and collect inspiration.  Obviously, I'm an avid blog reader and that introduces me to other artists from all around the world.  I also sketch when I can, though mostly that has become the jotting down of a visual idea, an aide memoire of a visual experience.  I also keep notebooks of ideas, cuttings, postcards, tickets: anything that inspires a colour or technique.

Because of the eclectic nature of my work, I'm a bit of a hoarder.  I collect fabrics and cottons, tapestry yarns, papers and books.  I commit the sacreligious act of cutting up vintage books.  I love the weight of the paper and the matt finish on the print.  I scour car boot sales for vintage childrens' books and hardbacks with interesting jackets and endpapers.  The backgrounds of my collages are pastel paper, sometimes watercolour paper.  I find these are heavy enough to stitch into without creasing and tearing.

I'm very fortunate to have a room to call my own.  It's a box room and is referred to as "That room that Mummy makes things in"!  Also known as my studio.  I've always had my own creative area and this is probably the smallest I've had, but I love it.  It brings me a sense of calm to go in there, even when it's in a mess.  It smells of old books and I like to feel the textures of the things that are in there, personal treasures and photos from my life.

Why I do my work needed a bit of reflection.  All the way through childhood I made things and loved to draw.  I was supplied with materials and encouraged by my Mum.  She taught me to sew and we made bags and clothes.  When I was seven, my Mum and Stepdad made me a portfolio out of gingham fabric with pockets filled with art materials.  I was in heaven!

I grew up near London and trips to galleries were a frequent way to spend a Sunday.  First stop for me was the shop.  Even then I needed to buy postcards to put up as inspiration.  I think what I'm expressing is that art has always been a huge part of my life.  It's right there in my soul and has to be expressed.   I loved art college, especially my foundation year for the way my creativity was nurtured and challenged.  Later I specialised in woven textiles which gave my creativity discipline and the ability to see a project through.

Then came real life!  I realised that in order to live and work creatively, the work needed to be commercial, so I changed tack and sold designs for fashion, stationery and homeware.  I sold work, earnt an income but didn't feel that I was expressing myself.  That's when I found The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron: that became my bible!  In that I found the spiritual strength to express myself and to value my creativity.

I think that's a long winded way of saying I do it because I have to!  Because if I don't I feel empty.  Because when I create I feel a resonance with the universe and feel confident in myself and my place in the universe.

That doesn't mean it's always easy to get to that place!  I have a physical space to work in and a spiritual goal attached to that creative work.  I've manage to create spaces in the week for creative time, two mornings and one day on alternate weeks.  I work as quietly as I can when the kids are asleep and I blog when my youngest has his nap.  The reality is it's a juggle.  My house has huge dust balls roaming around it  (often mistaken for cats!).  I'm getting better but I have periods of time where I'm deeply frustrated.  I have the support of a wonderful husband and family.  They all realise that I'm a better wife, mother, person when I can be me......and oh I love them for that!

"Often people attempt to live their lives backwards: they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want so that they will be happier.  The way it works is the reverse.  You must first be who you really are, then, do what you need to do in order to have what you want."
Margaret Young

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