Sunday, 14 February 2016

Searching for a creative voice part 1

I have so many interests I sometimes feel like a fibberty gibbet butterfly brain. Constantly fluttering between paper arts, quilting, needle felting, zentangling and baking. But the truth is I've discovered each has its season and they feed into each other so instead of being widely varying activities, they compliment each other. Take quilting, this is generally an autumn and winter thing for me, appreciated best when the frost outside bites.
Fabrics and quilts are cosy things which speak of dark nights spent with a needle by a glowing fireside.
Baking fits in with this season too. One of my favourite things is to curl up in a well cushioned chair with a pile of recipe books researching new recipes to freeze or store away ready for when visitors drop by. The boys sometimes help out too but I removed the biscuits with their rude words before taking the photo!
It's lovely to spend time in the warmth of a kitchen on a cold day, filling the house with the festive scents of cinnamon, apples, cloves and oranges.
A row of jars and tins filled with welcoming nibbles or Christmas specials feels like a practical way to hibernate when the days are short.
As we leave the short days behind us and climb into spring my interests change. The new year is when I feel curiosity building up, time to learn a new technique or develop an existing skill. Usually it's paper crafts and zentangling. After tidying away after the latest quilt or growing weary of washing up baking trays, I like the simplicity of pens and paper and instead of needing to follow precise measurements or weighing ingredients, I can freewheel. My mind is off the hook and floating free.
In all these things I'm searching for the unique spark of creativity. I can copy a pattern and follow a recipe but creating something new, original and unique doesn't come so easily. How do you find your unique style? That thing that makes your artwork instantly recognisable as yours? I'm beginning to think it will only be found in the art for arts sake, things you do when your mind is not hindered by instructions or under pressure to produce a finished piece of work. And it's very relaxing to just doodle...
Something I rarely mention is music but it plays a huge part in my crafting life. There are some quilts I've made which in my mind will always be associated with a particular piece of music which I listened to over and over while setting my stitches. I listen to a lot of radio drama and comedy and those have special associations with things I've made. The quilt I've just completed for my nephews first birthday is linked in my memory with Bleak Expectations, a very silly radio comedy based (very loosely!) in Victorian England.
Another quilt given as a Christmas present last year was made while listening to series 4 of John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme and another remains associated with the radio dramatisations of Cadfael. Kate Bush is fairly prominent and her lyrics are prime source material for some art journaling I'm planning. Equally Eminem has loads of words which spark off cretive thoughts and may feature somewhere soon. So as I continue to search for that creative voice, I'll pay more attention to the music.
My experiments with paper, inks and pens will continue in part 2 of this post....

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