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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.


Anne Butera said...

I'm so glad you decided to take part in the traveling interview. Thank you! I really enjoyed reading about how you work and what you think about how you work. I think the most important thing for anyone who is an artist or wants to be an artist is that drive that makes you want to create (and I definitely hear that underlying throughout this post). THAT is what makes a person an artist. Well, that and making the art.

You made me laugh when you talked about ignoring the knitting pattern (I'm that way with recipes).

(Love that Van Gogh quote, btw).

AND I must say that your apple painting looks great. Keep going and don't give up!

Kat W said...

Nice to get to know you a little via this interview. I'm visiting via Anne's blog (I'm the one who passed the blog hop baton to her originally). Glad that you found it useful and fun. When you talk about not following the pattern I think that speaks volumes about your artistic/creative nature in that it suggests your urge to create something new/original from your own self. This is a big part of what drives an artist/creative person and helps confirm you as an artist in my mind. Having said that I think we all have huge creative potential that when harnessed brings out artist side.
Wow, I ramble on, lol :-)
Kat :-)