It’s January 19th, 2015 and I’m so thrilled to be able to post today as part of an
“ Around the World Blog Hop “.
As you’ll see this isn’t typical content for my blog, but you’ll understand why when I explain what this is all about.
Artists from around the world are posting content every week in answer to 4 questions about their creative process. They are ‘tagged’ by an artist and then post their answers to the same four questions who in turn will tag another artist to do likewise and so the circle goes. By reading backwards from previous posts and forward to subsequent postings you’ll get a chance to read and experience artists from all over the globe and see what kind of creativity is happening in their lives from places you might not have had the opportunity to visit .
The online world has paved the way for new friendships for me in the past few years as I’ve taken several on line courses. One of those friendships has come from someone living literally on the other side of my world.
Suzi Poland resides in Australia . She and I found ourselves sharing several ‘virtual’ classrooms over of the last two and half years and I’ve been so inspired by not only her work but her perspective on art and life. We began to communicate as if we were passing notes back and forth across the classroom and after you’ve explored her site you’ll understand why I now consider her an invaluable mentor.
She invited me to participate in this blog hop and it’s just another in a string of enjoyable opportunities she has generously placed in my path as an opportunity to make new friends in the art world. I highly recommend you pop back and visit her blog related to this blog hop and you’ll quickly see why she has inspired me on so many levels. She’s a kindred spirit with layers of talent from sketching to painting and is a word merchant when it comes to what she writes whether it’s blog posts or poetry. I always find myself pausing over her poetic prose . You’ll see for yourself .
Our lives are on opposing circadian rhythms . When I’m sleeping she is awake and when I’m donning woolies for winter skiing, she is at the beach sketching against the glorious backdrop of her summer sun and sand. But our art lives continue to overlap in the most delightful ways. She relates to my need for having more than one artistic expression and I find her perspective so refreshing.
As a way to get to know the artists in this hop, we have all provided the answer to 4 questions about our art life.
1———-What am I working on ?
This is easy to answer but hard to explain. I would say I always have more than one project on the go at a time. I am a fibre artist at heart but true to most artists it’s sometimes one art form that ignites the curiosity of another form and lately I’ve been exploring sketching and painting . I have been working on watercolour specifically because the translucency of the paint when done properly I think is quite magical.
This is my landscape for the most part, but I was raised in the land of winter white, so have been really enjoying learning how to paint snow now that winter has arrived.
But when I started sketching and painting with watercolour in earnest last year, a grey mouse came out of my imagination and onto my pages seemingly from no where. He gave me great joy and has added life to my watercolour painting, providing comic relief in my studio especially now that he’s experiencing his first winter.
And when I travelled last June to attend a painting workshop in France a creative urge was sparked to bring this watercolour mouse into the real world. The concept of sewing and knitting in combination with character building is a large part of what I’m working on at the moment.
I have been knitting him sweaters and fashioning gear for him as he travels along as a companion in my life whether we’re hiking or skiing or even kayaking (that story is yet to be shared).
A trip to Belize is on my horizon and I’m daydreaming about how to make flippers and a snorkel for him. His photo album from his time in France is still being assembled, so yes, he is a large part of what I’m joyfully working on at the moment.
And of course with such a busy character to keep entertained, there is also the story on the blog here of how Wiston acquired some friends to keep him company in a story called
and what he did with them when he had to be away for a few days in a post titled
Now you can see why this question of what am I working on was easy to answer but hard to explain.
I asked for a sewing machine from Santa the year I was 5 and have been playing with fabric and fibre ever since. Spinning and weaving fuelled my creative urges 30 years ago, and since then there has been stops along the way to explore woodworking and pottery.
But now that I’ve stepped nicely into my 6th decade of life I’m more interested in overlapping some of the skills I’ve acquired over the years and have them work together to create a more complex experience.
Even with my new curiosity about painting, as well as having Wiston’s life to tend to, I always seem to have a hand sewing project in progress. Something I can pick up and take with me when I’m waiting to catch a plane or while away some the hours I spend on the ferry in my part of the world. Sometimes painting isn’t as readily accessible or as convenient when you’re away from the studio.
I’ve been creating needle books and sketchbook covers for a while now , using some of my collection of buttons resulting in 3dimensional picture making which you’ll see in answer to the next question.
2——-How does my work differ from others in my genre ?
I believe my work is defined in it’s difference by the process I use of combining several layers of imagery to create the final product. When I’m playing around with what I call Button Art, the combination of watercolour and paper with a few well chosen buttons make the creation of a scene more playful and more interesting visually to the viewer.
I use the same buttons 3 different ways to create 3 individual story boards.
And because I was going to France to paint last year when these playful scenes came to mind, I added to French phrases as descriptives.
” Baby birds are in the nest ”
“ Hide not your truth ”
” Little birds on rough seas ”
I also see the outer cover of a much used item like a needle case or a sketchbook cover as another potential blank canvas in which to create a scene. I have recently opened a shop on Etsy where more of these can be seen.
And in the case of these sketchbook covers I had a larger space to work out some imagery, again using buttons to tell the story.
3——–Why do I create what I do ?
Because it’s just so enjoyable to be making. I lose myself in the creative process and once the planning is done in the case of the button projects ( or sewing or knitting ) I can then just let myself go into the meditative experience of stitching. And of course it’s so satisfying to look at a final creation and hold it in your hand knowing you made it stitch by stitch .
As for my friend ‘ Wiston ‘ (the mouse ) , well he just makes me smile. When I’m plotting out how to create a raglan sleeve for a tiny garment that will fit him it’s a fun challenge with hours of reward. And when we departed for France and he had his painting bag ready with some toothpick fashioned as paintbrushes, he / we were ready for the journey.
4——-How does my process work ?
I think I always start with a curiosity about learning the ‘how to’. Whether it’s painting or sewing, or throwing a lump of clay on a potters wheel . What if I wanted to try and sketch what I’m seeing around me ? What if I wanted to learn how to collage ? What if I lay these buttons all in a row, what image would they create ? What if I wanted Wiston to come to life and join me in France, what would he need to wear ? What if he needed hiking boots and walking poles for the mountains? Or sunglasses , or reading glasses, or someone to love , or …. What if, What if.
And so it goes. I come from a long line of ‘makers’. It’s in my DNA I believe. I always have my imagination with me wherever I go and I never seem to run out of things to be creatively curious about.
All these questions have been great fun to explore. The how’s and why’s of our creative process.
I now look forward to introducing you to my friend Ruth Slater.
She is also someone I met in on line in overlapping classes, and I’m amazed at her Modern Scottish Animal Art. A busy mom to 2 beautiful wee girls , her blog is a delight to read and full of inspiration. She lives yet again on a different continent than Suzi and I and I’m so thrilled to be able to tag her in this Around the World Blog Hop. Her art is so unique I’m sure you’ll be more than inspired when you visit her site and read her answers to the same questions next week .
A special spot in my heart for a girl who lives in Scotland where my original family history ( and Wiston’s ) began . She lives in and on a beautiful piece of land and her studio looks out onto her world of animals and nature which you’ll find are the foundation of her work. Be sure to watch for her post next week on the 26th of January and enjoy another stop on
Around the World Blog Hop.