People create art for too many reasons to count. I want to look at why you do. And why do you make the art that you make? Are you solving problems? Are you looking at something from different angles? Do you go to art to hide, or to be honest?
I often go because I’m looking at a problem of color. After I hung the DMC Thread Wall in the studio, it seems Moshi likes to consider problems of color too… or maybe he’s just looking for the next threads to eat.
In any case, I sometimes work with color just to see it move around on the paper or fabric. Lately, as I think forward to the workshops I’ll be teaching this year, I go to my sketchbooks to work through thoughts, or fears, or just ideas. But I’ve given myself permission to do something that my Virgo self too often shuts down: doodling. And not just time wasting, but pursuing the deep reflective work of putting pencil on paper and allowing whatever is deep down to bubble up and be recognized. I’ve found this immensely helpful as I wrestle with demons of insecurity, and uncertainty, and doubt. It’s so simple but just moving thoughts around on paper is great therapy – and often teaches me something. And THEN the awesome part about it is that I find myself energized by the reflective unmasking of what’s bubbling down below. This isn’t about skill, or perfection, it’s about going to your tools and developing a relationship with them so they can speak to and for you when you need it.
As I explore, for example, poisons, and begin to visualize what characters will best honor the plants I’ve chosen, I am rediscovering one of my favorite things: creating new creatures out of seemingly unrelated parts. It’s why I SO loved the idea of Metamorphostitch. Using human-plant-machine-animal parts to design an entirely new creature is so delicious, so tingly exciting that I can hardly write about it without wanting to whip up a few cool examples & show you. One of my favorties is to simply add a human face to an animal or plant:
I totally dig the simple intrigue of a human face added to something unexpected. When I start running workshops at Florilegium Needlearts this spring, we are DEFinitely doing Metamorphostitch as one of our first adventures — and as I am completing the book proposal for my first projects book, I’m already toying with the idea of Metamorphostitch as the second book (cuz, really, who doesn’t LOVE mixing and mashing up bits and parts!!) I SO could have been a mad scientist (except for the math… and well, the science. Hmmm, better to stay a witch where I know my strengths!)
As I sit here looking over this, I’m thinking about my new FAVorite business/life/creativity coach: Danielle LaPorte. If you haven’t had the pleasure of her ROCKing your world and you need a little positive mojo, go visit her at www.whitehottruth.com and check out her shtick. She’s part motivator, part guide, all kick ass womanly delish! She’ll set you on fire with ideas, possibility, and plain old inspiration. I just got her Fire Starter Sessions (which she graciously gave in return for this customized embroidered tote):
I have made a fairly decent extra income with embroidery and jewelry in local retail boutiques, but I am just not the type of person who can crank out tons of items over-and-over-and-over to satisfy a retail living. I wish I could, but after I make something, its done, and I don’t want to go back to the beginning and make 50 more. I like to challenge myself, and innovate, and MOVE ON! But, for Danielle, I wanted her to have a special little token, something sweet to carry for a little excursion, so this was how I got the fabulosity that is the FireStarterSessions. And I am. On. Fire. She really nails building an authentic sustainable business, discovering and launching your true strengths, and making meaningful sense of what you have to offer the world with your business – or style – or point of view. I love it that she lets YOU decide the path, the goal, then gives you a zillion nuggets of wisdom and smarts to get you there. I also dig how she approaches her niche: entrepreneurship and spirituality. Bam. Simple, useful, clear. Job done. And her voice is dreamy creamy, so I sometimes have her videos on like music in the background while I work. Nice.
Next – in new news: I’ve just been invited on board the new Hand Embroidery Network’s newest incarnation as a sort of Steering Committee affiliate and an advisor for the community and Needle magazine! Woo and Hoo! I began my online teaching career in 2009 with the Stitchers Garden Book class and built that into a whole whopping bunch of classes, workshops, and even hatched the idea for what grew into Sinister Stitch, so when Sarah invited me to get on board to steer the development of the HEN community and the re-release of Needle magazine I could have peed! I also launched the 6 Stitched She class there, which is the basis for my forthcoming class “Capturing the Affair: 6 women in 6 weeks” (saucy, no? It’s gonna be so FUN!) I ALSO launched my column Caught Being Fearless which spotlighted a stitcher from my online gallery on flickr: the Mixed Media Embroidery Gallery. It is a thriving collection of really amazing art — if you’ve never visited, RUN ( dont dally) and just peruse the delicious inspiration. I am SO proud of my membership who continually knock my thimbles off with their talent – not to mention being a super bunch of artists with big hearts and beaming with support.
Now, If you haven’t had occasion to visit the HEN community, you simply must check it out. The creators and I agree that the strength of the HEN is that we are very diverse culturally and our membership is very passionate about hand embroidery and keeping its pleasures alive and well – from there, the skies the limit and we intend to grow a thriving community (already over 3000 strong!) and develop a delicious resource in Needle Magazine.
Ooh – also visit the new juicy sketches in the Sinister Stitch Diary as I continue to explore what I want the under paintings of the series to look like – I’m going for moody and atmospheric (which is SO easy with Lyra watercolor crayons and a Global Arts watercolor book) AND, you get to have the FIRST look at the final group of 13 poisons who made the cut to complete the set – you’ve met monkshood and foxglove, but wait til you see who else is in the mix. This is coming together SO perfectly!
Speaking of creative creativity: Have you checked out the StitchBomb chronicles lately? There are SO many cool embroiderers out there who are going public with their passion and stitch tagging everything from fences to porcelain to public bus seats!! Check it out over in the Stitchbomb Galleries
After a rather wretched day, I’m digging into my sketchbook with some charcoal (an old friend, that) and seeing who or what shows up to party. Be Fearless, Be Sinister. v.