Monday, January 6, 2014

Devices of the Creative Process

It's the beginning of a new year and a great way to get it started is in the studio, or at least by thinking creatively to get you going in the right direction!  

People find inspiration for their artwork in all different ways.  It can change depending on your medium or the approach to the type of artwork created.  So many variable factors are involved that the possibilities are enormous, it can be very exciting but also daunting.  

I don't want you to be be over whelmed with a new start, this is why I would like to talk about several approaches and techniques I use in my creative process, and one in particular that can be used in almost any medium.  So come along with me and hopefully you will find that new bit of useful information or a glimmer of inspiration for that next project!

I would say my 3 biggest areas of current inspiration are plants, architectural elements, and a 3rd one simply being piles of parts and detritus I have sitting around the studio which I have collected over time.  

My natural environment gives me insight into the special spacial structure which occur around us in organic forms.  I spend time each day with my cactus collection examining how all the plants grow and change.  Taking special note of any variations either in growth patterns or illnesses.  
The Mexican architecture is also a wonderful resource for me.  I love the structures, colonial and more contemporary alike.  The forms, textures and colors found within them and on them are incredible, many of my pieces have their foundations raised from the presence of these buildings.  Here is a great example of an old building with a blue and white facade from the village of Mineral de Pozos that became a fun brooch.

I also can get very excited and inspired to create work from the little repositories of collected elements I have sitting around my studio.  Sometimes the shapes, textures or designs of these elements will speak to me and inspire a piece.  Or perhaps I may already have a specific design in mind and then go looking through my reserves of scrap bits searching for that one little extra added element that completes the soul of the piece. 
Regardless of where the inspiration comes from there are many people out there that say it should all be put down on paper first by sketching or drawing out the idea or design.  From time to time I do indeed draw in my sketch book, and I did it for many years during my university studies.  But I have never really gotten excited about it, or felt very confident about my skills to draw or sketch, and sometimes I even get frustrated because it seems so hard for me to project on paper a true image of what I really want to end up creating in the end.  
For this reason one of the very biggest parts of my creative process is making patterns.  I probably started doing this years and years ago when I worked at a machine shop, even before I ever started studying jewelry.  Most of my patterns get made out of thick paper such as card stock that I can cut with an exact-o knife. 
But some patterns I also cut out of thin sheet metal.  I love my patterns, they are an immense help to me.  I like the fact that I can have a hard edge to push against and draw a line along, it also comes in very handy when I want to go back and make another piece the same or similiar to one I already made.  I have drawers with hundreds of patterns in them, sometimes I just like looking through them.  I can even go back and study my patterns for inspiration.  This can also be an added plus when you wish to make bodies of work that have similiar design elements, because you can build off of already existing patterns you know you love!  

Here's wishing you all a rich and productive new start in your studio for 2014!

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