Friday, 28 July 2017

Books on Creativity

When I received the feedback from Christine on our mentoring days, an optional extra was to read some of the books she listed.

I started with Austin Kleon's 'Steal Like an Artist - mostly because it's small and easy to read.  He made some really interesting points so I was glad I read it.

Then I moved on to 'Imagine' by Jonah Lehrer.  This was such an interesting read.  It delves quite scientifically into how creativity works.  There are some really interesting insights into how people work collaboratively.  I really enjoyed finding out about companies like 3M and Pixar.

Christine also recommended Julia Cameron's 'The Artist's Way' which I have read but didn't do the 12 weeks of work.  As I couldn't find my copy I looked online and discovered Julia had written a new version called 'The Artist's Way for Retirement'.  It has some extra activities in it, however I haven't got past chapter 1.

While I was at Christine's studio she had shown me Denise Lach's 'Calligraphy' which I ordered online and then decided to buy 'Journeys into Calligraphy also.

I saw this book whilst I was at Littleheath Barn so I decided to get myself a copy.  I have done one of the activities in it.  And then I booked to go to a workshop with Bobby Britnell which I hope will help me.

And this book was mentioned in the Visual Language Book.

Whilst I was at Julia Triston's workshop in Stroud I bought a copy of her book.

I bought 'Approaches to Stitch' because it sounded interesting.

In my quest to find my voice, style and get-up-and-go (see this post), I bought this book.  I've read part of it and it's really good - if only I actually did the suggested exercises.  I was a bit put off by the chapter on chakras!

While I was on Christine's Paper Lamination workshop I bought this

And lastly I just had to have the latest Lynda Monk book.

And now I'm going to call a halt to my book purchases.  I have to!  Not because my credit card is crying but because I need to read them and do something with what I have learned from them.

What are your favourite books on creativity?

Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Paper Lamination with Christine Chester

Last year I did Christine Chester's 'Poetry of Decay' workshop.  I went straight home and booked my next workshop with her, 'Paper Lamination', which was hosted by InStitches.

Above: newspaper collage with polyester fabric stretched and pinned over before applying matte medium through a Thermofax screen.    Below:  hanging out to dry

Part of the way through removing the newspaper

All that was left!  I didn't apply enough matte medium.  Lesson learned!

Pieces for the next collage

The large gap is because the map looking paper peeled straight off.  I think it was a waxed paper.

Next exercise:  a whole piece not a collage

With the paper removed.

The next exercise involved fabric, tissue paper, pencil crayons, gesso and the sewing machine!

And here are the results

On day two we tried lightly brushing gesso onto fabric to laminate a photcopy.  Sadly I brushed too much gesso so it doesn't look as distressed as I had hoped.

This was a montage exercise

I played with two images and put a lot of matte medium on

This was images of Venice with a 'watery' Thermofax screen.  I was so pleased that the last one was the best.  It's so good to know when you have improved over two days!

All my samples laid out for the show and tell.

Book now: Christine will be doing this workshop in 2019 courtesy of Textile Explorations.  Sign up for the newsletter so that you get all the news first.

Thanks for stopping by

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Creativity and Vulnerability

I'm an over-thinker!  I don't doodle, draw or journal - I just think.  I write whole blog posts in my head.  Or write a journal page in there.  But these thoughts don't leak out anywhere.  Not into a book, or the internet or into any piece of work.

So I've been thinking about why these thoughts don't escape.   I have empty notebooks that I've bought to write in but I don't write in them.

Why is that?

I've been exploring how to find my own voice - my unique style.  I've been reading books and articles about it.  I haven't done any work.  And then I read this in a book on creativity: 'I distrust styles.  To have a style is to be trapped!' (Milton Glaser)   What!

Back to the drawing board!  Or in my case, back to the over-thinking!

I wrote about taking Risks.  I haven't taken any recently.  I told you I seem to be risk averse.  However I do have a risk planned for next week!  Can you plan risk?  Or should taking a risk be more spontaneous?  There's something to think about!!!

In my blog post about the mentoring session I had with Christine Chester I wrote this:
One of the things we discussed was my feeling that I did too many workshops and the skills and techniques I learned didn’t translate into finished pieces. Christine wrote this in the tutorial notes: “One of the key shifts in perception is that process should be subordinate to your ideas – that does not mean that process is not important – far from it. But it does mean that you are making the idea the key feature, rather than the process. This should keep the communication of your idea clearer – either visually to an audience, or at least in your mind in light of having to write artists statements.” This is quite a shift in perception for me and I am still processing it.

And the thinking and the reading and the thinking and the writing things in my head has all been part of the processing and perception shift.

Some questions arose from all this thinking:
Why do I keep taking workshops to learn new techniques?
Why haven't I found my own voice yet?
What stops me finishing things?
What stops me starting things?
Why don't I stop thinking and get on with it?
Should I have a sketchbook, visual journal or logbook?

I was encouraged by Leah Higgins blog post where she said: ' I am not a sketchbook person. All my ideas have a long gestation period in my head before I let them loose on dye and cloth.'

I'm not the only one then!  Although she does start and finish pieces.

And then . . .

. . . . it came to me!

It's about commitment and vulnerability.

The answer to all those questions is commitment and vulnerability.  If I keep on doing technique classes then I don't have to put any of me into the samples.  I haven't found my creative voice because that would mean I have to invest some of me into it.  Probably all of me!  Even writing in a journal - which is for my eyes only - means showing up and being vulnerable.  Writing it down (or speaking it out) makes it more real.

And as for commitment - that means doing the stuff!  And that takes effort.  I draw back from things that take effort.  Which is odd because when I worked, I worked hard.  I put lots of effort into everything I did.  I can be fiercely loyal and determined.  Many people would say 'I go the extra mile' for them.  So why can't I do that for me?  For my creative work?  For my relationship with God? For my relationships with friends and family?

Looking for an image to go with this post I found this piece of artwork I did in March at a retreat.  Obviously the thinking has been going on for a while!

You might be thinking - and I've been thinking it too - if I'm so reluctant to make myself vulnerable in something as private as a personal journal, why am I writing this blog post?

Because I have to break out!  Make a breakthrough!  Allow myself to become more vulnerable - to invest in  my creative life and the rest of my life.  Break down the walls that I have built around myself.

And pressing publish on this blog is just the beginning.

Thank you for sticking with my disjointed meanderings today.

Where are you on your creative journey?

Thanks for stopping by.