Good morning and welcome to Part 2 of my virtual morning gathering session 2020 version, part of the set routine at former Art Quilt Campus events!
Thanks for checking back today. Since Art Quilt Campus 2020 has become a virtual meeting of the minds I felt compelled to continue with the tradition to provide a little creative inspiration and focus for those who have decided to make this week one of working in solitude with a strong focus on accomplishing a set goal or making a solid start in their work. I applaud you all! Since we all struggle in our own bubble please do provide some feedback in the comment section. It is always appreciated and catapults me forward to provide helpful content in future posts. I use this blog as a way to stay accountable.
The topic at hand today is to provide some insights on how to develop your own style. Take a few minutes to identify what it is you intend to convey. Step 1: Picture three mental images to use as a starting point: Imagine a ukulele, an acoustic guitar and an electric guitar. Which instrument do you feel your work embodies?
Is it the quiet but distinct sound of the ukulele which means your work is making a mark in an understated manner. Your colour choices may be softer, soft edges outweigh hard edges… You may work in a folkart style and have been consistent or are moving in that direction.
Or instead, are you drawn to the sound and metaphor of the acoustic guitar which is stronger than the first instrument but still means you have developed great skill and technique to convey your unique voice. Your choices in colour are consistent, line quality is distinct but leaves room for the onlooker’s imagination.
Or, perhaps you embrace the loud and boisterous sound of the electric guitar? If so, your elements of design would include strong colour and line quality, bold shapes and overall work that is immediately noticed. Ponder the possibilities… if you are not sure where you fit project where you want to fit!
Let’s move on to the next section in defining or developing your style.
Step 2: Are you a person who favours the high powered technology of a Tesla car or are you content with the old VW camper with a few rust spots here and there?
I know, this may come across as a bit of a gender-biased analogy but think about it: Are you always interested in a state-of-the-art sewing machine, prefer to work with a machine over handwork? Sometimes physical limitations, like arthritis, may require us to use a sewing machine exclusively. That is fine. Use what you have and master your tools!
That is the creative challenge we all embrace. Art emerges when we know how to stretch our skills and make tools do the work we need to complete. That is also a motto I embraced early during my City & Guilds training… The motto has served me well. Tomorrow, 23 years ago I entered that classroom on Whitbey Island, WA and never looked back. Oops, sorry for the digression!
Are you a person who is content with the slightly rusty or perhaps even Hippy Flower embellished VW camper? I would say you also embrace the slow stitching movement and handwork is your preferred way to create.
From a personal aspect I will share that I have oscillated between the Tesla and the VW camper models throughout my career as a textile artist and mentor. I have phases where one approach suits me better or I can convey my style for a particular body of work best. It is fine to be comfortable in both styles. As a word of caution: when you have a broad skill set try to be judicious in its application. It is not necessary to show off all your techniques in one piece of art. Select those techniques that will support and move the art piece to successful completion.
Last but not least let’s explore Step 3: What mood do you want to convey. This is a term often used in art and photography. While this element generally greatly depends on lighting we can transfer its relevance to our work by considering the overall presentation. In a textile landscape or portrait the light source is always of great importance.
Consider if the overall feeling your are aiming for is that of a cooler setting, as in a limited colours scheme often presented in winter.
Or are you drawn to the hot colours, sometimes parched due to sun activity?
Maybe it is the moody setting of a rainy or foggy day. So many possibilities!So many outcomes.
Take a moment and look over the art you have created in the past. What is your impression? Too many moods to choose from? Divide the work into groups based on your previous colour choices. This will provide you with some great personal insights as a starting point!
Once you have a clearer understanding of where you are in developing your style or voice you become more authentic in your work. Remember to narrow down your interest to develop that style. It’s fun and exciting to explore countless techniques and designs but if you find yourself a little at loose ends follow the points provided above to seriously move into a direction that helps you move forward as an artist who communicates their goal and understanding of consistency.
I hope this helps you to move forward in your studio practice today! Check back tomorrow for another motivational post to push your creativity forward!
Don’t forget to leave a comment below if you are at all inspired. Thank you in advance. Looking forward to connecting tomorrow!