Friday, February 29, 2008

On Not Being an Artist

This is where I'm a weaver/craftsperson/artisan, and not quite an "artist".

In two weeks, I will be going to a weekend workshop on designs. For the course, we've been asked to research a subject, i.e. collect visual material, take notes, write impressions, perhaps even draw or do collages using different media. We are free to choose a subject, but it needs to relate to landscape; it can be an interior, or even an imagined one, but a landscape.

So while I wasn't feeling great, I toyed around with the idea of investigating the interior landscape of a depressed mind. Seriously! I didn't think it would make a visually stunning research, but I thought it might help me understand where I am; you know, along the lines of gathering material from one's childhood experiences or attacking the decline of social mores in one's work. I started reading up on van Gogh and Munch for starters.

Well, that was last week. I think it was a hideous idea, and this is where I'm not an artist but am firmly in the other category: I'm interested in weaving beautiful textiles, not questioning, attacking, demonstrating or otherwise influencing your thinking in any way. I want my pieces to be nice to look at, not trying to get inside your head.

And then I thought, even if I ended up with an ok design, would you ever want to touch a shawl or a scarf, let alone buy it, if I told you I arrived at the design while investigating the landscape inside my head during a depressed spell? Gee wiz.

Artists do strange things. I remember going to our favorite potter in Marlborough. She's known for quirky shapes and bright colors, but one time she had just finished an exhibit and had brought all of her work back. Most were black and white or some such, with amoeba-like designs painted all over them. Now, even though I am drawn to amoebas, the potter made the mistake of telling us she'd been fascinated by illnesses and germs!! Needless to say, we didn't buy any plates or bowls that time; come to think of it, we haven't been back to see her since.

And the landscape research; I haven't thought of anything else yet.

9 comments:

  1. that's funny about the germs! I do like your idea of the mindscape though.

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  2. Being an artist myself, I was struck by your words:---These in particular.
    GOING, ASKED, COLLECT, TAKE, WRITE, DRAW, FEELING, TOYED, THINK, THOUGHT, GATHERING, ATTACKING, STARTED, THINK, INTERESTED, NOT QUESTIONING, ATTACKING, DEMONSTRATING, INFLUENCING, WANT, NOT TRYING, THOUGHT, WANT, TOUCH, BUY, TOLD, ARRIVED, DO REMEMBER, KNOWN, FINISHED, BOUGHT, PAINTED, DRAWN, MADE, BUY, THOUGHT. I sense a pattern there, and I believe there really is an artist lurking inside your words.

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  3. What about those wings?

    http://flickr.com/photos/__chandler__/771197678/

    Wings that free us from depression?

    I think Kaz recently posted about a creative block book that might help liberate your artistic side.

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  4. As for the germs....these can be beautiful! As an under grad I spent hours, days, in the science labs working on electron microscopes and scanning scopes photographing the beauty deep within nature. I still find it an inspirational departure point for my art.

    So do many others:
    http://flickr.com/photos/__chandler__/771197678/

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  5. Yes, Taueret, even though I know that ameobas and germs can't be too different in some respects, I just couldn't eat off of germ plates! Re. mindscape, I might have to go back there as I've started to feel as if I'm running out of time.

    Bonnie, they are ... verbs. Are you looking at the choice of my words, or at the actions I've taken/not taken through those words?

    Lynne, I found another, smaller one, when I came home from the Geometry workshop yesterday. Most definitely I will study the wings, but I can't seem to get my head around the word "Landscape". And germs may be interesting as forms, but ceramic plates and bowls with graphic germs drawn on them are, I'm afraid, not my thing.

    Beautiful photo; thanks for the link.

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  6. I really don't know what I was thinking when I wrote that comment. I thought it might spark you in some way. You seem to be a person of action, so I focused on the action words.

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  7. Bonnie, I am, if left alone, a sluggish person, so I talk up and talk myself into action.

    There was an extremely popular baseball player in the 80's in Japan who had his ups and downs in his career. But whenever he was interviewed, he said he was in the best shape of his career. Whether it worked for him or not, his personality and outlook made so many fans happy and enthusiastic back then.

    Sometimes I do this to myself.

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  8. Words do have power. I used to believe that you became an artist when someone else called you an artist. It was not a title one could bestow upon oneself. I have had many business cards over the years, and have given myself various titles---but never artist. I am having a new business card made this week and my new title is
    VISIONARY/ARTIST/WEAVER
    I've been weaving for 48 years. You'll get there.

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  9. Wow, good for you, Bonnie. I remember the first time I said my occupation was "weaver" and I got the strangest reaction from a man; half mocking, half disbelief. I can't remember where it was, but it was in 2002, and for three or so months, every opportunity I had, asked or not asked, I told everybody I'm a weaver. I'd forgotten about that. Thanks for the reminder.

    Oh, and taking to the bottle? I love to do that sometimes, too, though the last few years I've been so pleased with Lemongrass neat that I don't mix much any more.

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