Daily Archives: April 5, 2006

On Creativity and Art

I used to have this idea that artists should be able to create with ease, remember Mr Squiggle who could draw with his pencil nose a few seconds, a few lines and ‘upside down Miss Jane’ and wow a picture was revealed.

Pro Hart, smearing spagetti and mustard all over the carpet, sloshing, smattering food and in the space of a TV advertisement he had created ‘art’.

And the quilt artists, all that fusing and splattering dye around, slashing at quilts… Tyvek, angelina fibre, beads, embellishers, fancy machine stitches, dyed silk cocoons… it should be easy.

So I tried improvisation, I’d just start sewing, cutting, painting… no plan of couse the ideas are meant to just ‘come out’ spontaneously, right?

I rarely finished anything though, never sure where I was headed, never in love with my work.

But one day I was playing around with some of my photos and I happened upon a fragment of an image that took my breath away.  I printed it out and took it to a workshop I was doing, I showed all the printouts to another participant and she said ‘this one is great!’ and out of my mouth popped… "I’m going to make this into a quilt"

And I did.  And it was worthwhile.

Melody Johnson wrote a post the other day titled Design and Improvisation.  It got my brain churning.

I am now thinking that whilst improvisation and experimentation is very valuable for skill development, for developing new ‘effects’, for developing ideas…. I should not see the product of this experimentation as art, unless I really develop a piece fully past that stage.

My experience with The Dredger has exposed a wonderful, fulfilling way of working.  Get the idea first, think on it, develop it out then start working on the piece.  Six months ago this would have been unthinkable for me, but now, it is the only way forward.

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