I finished the flamingo over the weekend. This burst of pink is now sitting on a shelf in my work room and I am enjoying it very much. It is made from hand-dyed wool, linen, and cotton and stands about a foot tall.
The process of designing and making this bird was a pleasure. I would say that I was in my creative "zone," that place in which my creative spirit is made manifest in the piece I am creating. The experience of making something that truly expresses me - my style and vision - is powerful.
I see so many beautiful, creative, and clever things online. At times I have wondered how I could ever find my own unique style with so many images of other people's work clouding my mind. Because I am self-taught in my craft, the internet (as well as art and craft books) have become my school. I have had to learn to take from what I see: technique, use of color, thematic ideas, materials, and meld it all into an expression of my own. My craft is what emerges after and apart from the inspiration I find online and in books.
In making my soft sculpture, I have been inspired by these artists: Lemmikkiapina, Abby Glassenberg, Jennifer Muskopf, Abigail Brown, Ann Wood, Stephanie Congdon Barnes, Tamar Mogendorff, Mimi Kirchner, and many others I'm sure. I honor their work and thank them for their inspiration. But, I need to do the hard work of making my own craft.
If you have a reasonable level of skill, it is easy to copy someone else. But, is that honest? Does that ultimately feed and satisfy your creative soul? Does it make you feel joyful? Having a creative vision and manifesting it is hard work. It does not happen overnight. You have to practice, make mistakes, rethink your ideas. You have to try and try again. The work is worth the effort - as you begin to see yourself in the pieces you create.
I have been sewing and painting this year. I paint a little each day (on my calendar) and sew on and off throughout the week. I can see many connections forming between my paintings and my sewn sculpture. The way I relate to color, shape, texture. I can see hints of this cohesive style as well when I embroider or crochet or make a collage. It is through repetition and everyday practice that I learn about myself and experience the joy of being in the moment of creation.
I am thankful for the opportunity to make things. My life is so much richer for it.