Things are getting more and more eccentric at Casa de la Swain. Changing styles in my textile work, falling in love again with painting and photography...and then there is the ever illusive quest for continuing creativity through working with Eric Maisel. Still on the road teaching, posting now at the Ragged Cloth Cafe and taking the pledge to keep handmaiden up to date.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Late Night Ramblings

See I am trying to be a better blogger....two posts in the same week...the sky is falling. Insomnia is a wonderful thing or at least that's my story and I am sticking to it. It gives me time to plan the rest of the week and what is necessary for my next trips. Also, it gets the gears spinning about artist I want to study and see how I can apply what I can learn from them to my work. Could be good could be bad but at least I will experiment and learn.
It is really glorious to have something that you are passionate about. What do people do that haven't found that passion? Sadly, we all have a passion for something but often we don't allow ourselves to pursue it out of fear. There are two kinds of fear as I see it fear of failure and fear of success. Both quite closely related but coming from different places.
Of course, we have to overcome the personal demons of "I am not good enough," " No one will like what I do," " I will never be able to master the technique."
I have been thinking a lot lately about craftsmanship and inspiration. Here's what I have arrived at after some reading and thinking. If you focus on technique until it is absolutely natural, you never have to question how to create, any technique is readily available to you then something magical happens. The "muse" takes over and the work just comes. If you constantly focus on content, you will often end up having to re-work or trash the whole darn thing. However, if you go to the studio confident you can create anything you want then that is exactly what you will accomplish.
I firmly believe in apprenticeship, internship or whatever you want to call that period of time when you are learning your craft. We should study other artists, historical and contemporary.
Read American Artist and Art News to see what is happening in the world beyond textiles.
I do not believe in working in a vacuum where you never see anyone else's work for fear it will influence you. What is wrong if it does happen to inspire you? You won't work in their exact style; you will just come away with a new perspective.
As I continually blather about to much external stimuli invading our creative lives, I am not referring to art. I am referring to commercialism and propaganda. How can you discover your true self if the tv is always telling you how you should smell, eat, ask for prescriptions from your doctor? That is the type of external invasion that we must keep in check so we can hear our own voice...sing our own our own dance.
Stepping off soap box and possibly into bed....does blogging make one sleepy?


paula, the quilter said...

Thank you for this post. For years, I've been focusing on technique and craftsmanship. Just recently, in the past several weeks, I have flagged pictures of different art in books and online and have been studying them to figure out what about it appeals to me. I have realized that I've been trying to stuff myself into the wrong hole. I admire the organic free flowing look but linear makes me stop and study. And if the 2 are combined well it will totally make me gasp and my heart sing!

Debra said...

God how I have missed you blogging!! Truly intelligent discussion... and thought provoking enough to keep my mind occupied for hours.

Unfortunately, blogging seldom makes me sleepy... but a couple melatonin always help!

Gerrie said...

I love what you said about craftsmanship. I think I am there. I no longer feel the need to take classes. I have enough expertise to forge ahead on my own.

Karoda said...

Gabrielle, there is a term I picked up from bell hooks..."commodification of culture" speaks to the mass media technique of taking a "product" of culture and treating it just as that, a product, a marketing gimmick, a mass persuasion...overlooking all the subtleties and nuances and various processes that come from the human soul.

sorry to get a bit winded but this is what your post made me think of :)

Diane said...

Yay, Gabrielle. I agree, I agree, I agree. Thank you for saying this so succinctly.