My new partner in art Helen Conway wrote a great post last week called ‘3 reasons you should know your place’. She talks about how knowing the place, physical or otherwise, that recharges your creative batteries, knowing the place your art practice has in the art world and knowing the place you want to reach is empowering. It should be no surprise to anybody that knows us that I agree with Helen. We are both 110% committed to our art and, just like in our respective day jobs, we both strive to be the best that we can be. And we both know that reflection and self-awareness is an important part of the jigsaw.
But when it comes to the detail we are very different. In her post Helen writes how the repeated ritual of sitting down in her favourite cafe triggers the flow of creative. I can guarantee that, for me, sitting down anywhere with pen and journal posed is enough to empty my head completely. For me creativity (whatever that really is) happens mostly by stealth. It happens when I am immersed in process. I think that is one of the reasons I use intense stitching in my work. I have to concentrate when I’m doing this as I am pretty obsessed about getting straight, parallel lines but quite often, out of nowhere, I have a light bulb moment. Only then do I pick up my journal and pen!
I am a textile artist. I know that that may mean my work is viewed in a certain way in the art world but that is OK. My work is who I am. And how I work is who I am. I don’t sketchbook. I don’t draw. I don’t work in chaotic, organic disorder. I do let my scientific training loose when I experiment with new colours, new marks or new methods. I don’t make one off pieces to fit other peoples ‘theme’ – I let my work go where it wants to go. My methods of working are slow so I have to pick and choose which opportunities to pursue. I am a realist – it is likely to be 10 years before I can create art full time so I pace myself. I know how my art practice fits into my life. And I know my place.