Wednesday, June 21, 2006

A delicate ATC from my friend Bridgette

Today I went over to the Paper Studio to purchase some new bezels they're selling that I saw a couple of weeks ago. I've been spending some time working with them, and they are all lined up in a little row, diamond glaze drying away.

My theme today seems to be birds, eggs and nests. I made some cool charms incorporating Bridgette's wonderful bird's nest above into some of them. I'll post photos of my little charms tomorrow when they're dry.

I have other things I should be doing, like getting ready for the big trip next week, but I only seem motivated to work in the studio. I want to spend time tomorrow making the little bezels into necklaces and earrings but don't know how much time I'll have.

I find lately most days I just want to stay in my studio and create. I love the days that I can play and do whatever I want creatively, no real time constraints. It's going to be a challenge come fall to do my own work outside of school. I will make it a priority to make time!

I also enjoy looking at other folk's blogs. I was reading Nina Bagley's today, and she talked about an issue I think and struggle with a work not being my own, not being original. She says, "for quite some time now, i've been "running" and trying to stay ahead in some sense, trying to keep my own style what it is. i see it as it is, and it is what it is. but lately it seems that my work, my personal style, is beginning to blend and blur into the work of others - i don't know - perhaps we are all just feeding off of each other, and this frightens me to some degree. it almost makes me want to close all magazines, all books, all photographs, all websites, and hide myself so that i can't and won't be influenced by anyone but myself. i used to work a lot more in metal with my mixed media (outside of my jewelry, i'm speaking here; meaning, bookwork and assemblage), using tarnished copper mesh and copper sheet and galvanized steel with much more frequency than i do now, simply because so many other folks are out there using it in mass quantities. i've always worked passionately with what i find in nature - birds' nests, sticks, stones that i drill and lace with wire. these i combine with softer, aged barkcloth and torn ribbon to adorn covers of boxes and books. does even that still look like me? will it continue to look like my work?"

Her words resonated deeply within me. I struggle with this all the time! It's so validating hearing another artist talk about this issue, an artist who's well known, a teacher and wonderful creative force. I sometimes lack confidence in my work, worry that it's trite, cliche, and imitates other's styles. It's a real struggle moving past that. I get so much inspiration and happiness from looking at other's creations, but I also feel like I should cut myself off sometimes to get at the essence of me. It's funny; my friends and family can pick out my work in a field of others, but I worry so much about looking like everyone else's! Well, I guess the key is to keep working, listening and breathing.

If anyone else out there struggles with this, let me know...


kirsty said...

I think EVERYONE struggles with this (unless they have very healthy egos!) but in the end I'm not entirely convinced that it matters.

bridgette said...

I'm glad you liked my atc! :)

The issues of personal style is an important one. I think that in the somerset mixed media world, there is a lot of imitating going on. But, imitation always falls flat. You know? It just doesn't resonate. If an artist uses symbols that are some one else's symbols as their own, it's just empty. It lacks that spark. There is no meaning.

I often hear artists who teach workshops speak about this issue...and I can't help but think that that is what happens when you teach a workshop and have an article in every issue of the same magazine. People will use those techniques and copy. I think it's amazing that they are so generous as to teach others their own explorations and techniques. But I guess it comes with a price.
Just my 2 cents!

One Crabapple said...

I am thinking...

I had a note to you yesterday but took it back since I was not sure exactly about everything I wanted to say.

So I am chewing on it right now.

I had thought to make a blog sooner on the very same subject.

How wonderful to be led here and find these thoughts and Nina's.

Thank you for sharing....helping!