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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A Travelling Interview

A post at this blog (one of my favorites) issued an open invitation to participate in this interview.  I find this blog particularly inspiring so I decided to accept the invitation and conduct my interview.  Here goes.

1:  What am I working on?  I'm actually working on several things at once, which is my usual modus operandi.  I'm knitting a baby blanket for a niece who is expecting her first baby, I'm knitting socks for myself (2 pair) and little pouches that may become gifts or maybe not, it depends.  I'm working on a crocheted tote bag that is quite slow going but I hope to finish soon.  And I'm working on Artist Trading Cards and Altered Rolodex Cards for a swap group I belong to.

2:  How does my work differ from others of its genre?  I really don't know.  Every artist develops their own particular style.  Given the same instructions and materials, each person will create something uniquely their own.  That's why you can always tell a Beatles song or a Bob Marley song - not just the sound of the voice, the the structure and style of the music.  That's why a Renoir is different from a Monet.
In my paper collage I tend to use plainer materials and fewer techniques, where others might use ribbons, buttons, papers, cards, ink stamps and die cuts, I might limit my choices to a background paper, a few cut out images, a little paint or ink, and leave it at that.

My knitting may differ from others in that I tend to read the instructions then pretty much ignore them.  Not exactly, but rather than try to achieve a certain stitch count to achieve an exact copy of the original, I'll work with whatever gauge I get naturally then modify the pattern to fit what I am doing.  In this way I avoid a lot of frustration.  As a famous knitter once said, you are the boss of your knitting.  I like feeling that I am in control and that I am creating something unique even though I'm using a recommended pattern yarn and needle.
3:  Why do I create what I do?  Well, why not?  I knit because I know how and because I like it. There is something about the plain old knit stitch that just fascinates me.  I like its texture, the way it drapes, the feel of the growing project in my lap as I knit.  I guess I create because I can!
Same with the Artist Trading Cards.  When I first found out about them I was blown away.  And although I loved the work of others and hoped to emulate it, I soon found I preferred my own style.  I create these things because I always have.   I have a good friend with whom I used to exchange Christmas gifts each year - always something small & simple, always something handmade.  It's so gratifying to give a gift knowing it came from the heart and to give it to someone who recognizes that and appreciates it.

4:  How does my creative process work?  This one makes me laugh!  I remember a scene in the old "Will & Grace" TV show.  Grace was an interior designer who hired a young intern who quickly proved to be more interested in vodka and clothes than in design - but at the beginning of the episode she said "I'd love to get a sense of what your process is."  Some years later my sister, who really IS an artist, was visiting.  I was making a gift card for someone and asked her to give me a few minutes.  She said to go ahead, she would watch me to observe my process. I laughed out loud.  I didn't view myself as an artist and didn't realize I had a process.  But I guess I do.
It's pretty haphazard.  Based on artist sister's advice I now take a little more time in laying out my collage, moving things around and paying attention to things like negative & positive space, color, spacing, layout etc.  I have also started to implement some of the techniques she has told me about but I'm still a little timid as I still have trouble thinking of myself as an artist.  But my brother (also a very talented artist/painter) says anyone who makes anything is an artist whether it's a loaf of bread, a painting, a building or a sculpture.  I try to believe them.

In knitting it's a little easier, more straight forward.  I start the pattern.  If I don't like it I might start over a few times using a different needle size or stitch pattern.   If I still don't like it I might eventually rip it out and start on something different.
Don't ask me about painting.  I haven't mentioned it yet because it's still a mystery and a struggle to me.  But I still try.  I mix paint, wet my brush and force myself to get something down on paper.  I usually give up pretty quickly but the desire to paint is so strong I keep the paints & brushes near so I can try again.

I haven't mentioned writing.  I write whenever I think of something.  I completed a novel several years ago but it has not been published.  I also wrote a picture book story and just sent it to a publisher a week ago.  We'll see if they respond. What's my process?  Write when I remember to I guess.

Wow!  Even if nobody reads this blog post I feel it was a good exercise.  It got me to think about myself in a way I maybe haven't before.  If you did read, please leave a comment and let me know what you thought - and like my inspiration I invite you to conduct your own interview!

Quotable quotes; in the category Who Am I To Argue With An Expert?

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced."  Vincent Van Gogh.