About late start studio

I think the blog title says it all! Or so I thought when I began blogging. Since then I realise that I began my life as a maker very young. The 'late start' is in taking being a Maker seriously . . . giving it the capital letter it deserves. Over the years I have acquired a wide variety of skills , some through need and other through simple curiosity and now that I have resigned from the paid workforce, I am happily pursuing Making with creativity, originality and discipline.

review and reflection

Recently I took a workshop with Lisa Call, Working in a Series . . . the pods in the last two posts are what I made as well as the one below, however they are not the most valuable outcome.

A Promise: Strings Attached Encaustic seed-pod, rebar wire, harakeke/flax, amethyst chips, silver crimps. 40 x 25 cm Wendy @ Late Start Studio

A Promise: Strings Attached
Encaustic seed-pod, rebar wire, harakeke/flax, amethyst chips, silver crimps.
40 x 25 cm
Wendy @ Late Start Studio

I think perhaps I need to start this post by explaining that my earlier day-job was as a collaborative consultant, working with classroom teachers in order that they might better meet the needs of the range of students in their class therefore critiquing teachers is something I do automatically.  When I’m in a class or workshop I listen carefully to the language that is used when the teacher talks to other students as well as noting the response they get and I give feedback.  I tell teachers what I see that works for others and me, what they obviously very good at . . . often what teachers do is unconscious however making overt the positive aspects of their teaching makes a good teacher great.  That said . . . what did I think of Working in a Series?

My goals were to go deeper, to have within the series I constructed a body of work that I could extend with a view to exhibiting and integrate some of my skills and interests and I feel very satisfied that I have met them but what else have I gained?

The workshop, and others, is outlined in detail on Make Big Art and although not stated, is primarily for 2D artists, Lisa says as much in one of her recorded lectures. Had I realised that, I probably wouldn’t have taken it however that would have been my loss.

Each week I received a recorded lecture about the focus for the week as well as the week’s assignment.  There were eamils with links to read for further information about the focus, and about artists that illustrated the challenges posed by the week’s assignment.  Our small group posted our assignments in a private Facebook page and after a couple of days, we met on-line for our feedback based on the work as well as the critique that we wrote.

Significant input + significant output = significant learning

My learning came out of learning how to critique my work, the feedback I received as well as listening to the feedback Lisa gave to others, and contemplating how the weekly focus applied to my work and, importantly, becoming increasingly aware of how I function as an artist.  My learning can only continue as I use the skills, the notes and links I have, as I develop my work in any media . . . . which brings me back to the 2D/3D issue.

I’m not the only 3D artist who has taken the workshop and although almost all the examples of artists work presented are 2D artists, the points that Lisa makes apply to 2D and 3D, and her feedback demonstrated her wealth of knowledge in the field of 3D mixed media art.  I wasn’t disadvantaged although a little tweaking would make it more inclusive, e.g more 3D artists profiled.  (Can you tell I’ve not been asked or expected to write this?)

So who would I recommend take the workshop?  If you’re needing a push, are lacking somewhat in self-discipline, wanting to dig deeper rather than continue with what you know, wanting to learn more about ways to develop a series, take it . . . all of those points applied to me.  It doesn’t matter if you’re beginning or experienced.  The range of skills, the range of media, all of these Lisa responds to individually.  Her feedback is invariably supportive, constructive, and focussed on what worked, and the next steps each artist might take.

Finally, I’m now thinking about where to next with my pods/promises and not rushing headlong into something completely different (of course I do have some other irons in the fire because that’s the way I am) . . . for me, that’s a great result.

just sometimes

Yes, just sometimes when I’m feeling flat I have little to say for myself and achieve very little. Until I find more words you can have this image of another piece in my series of seed-pods to look at: An Empty Promise.  Not the best image for colour: it has a much rustier hue all over.

An Empty Promise Wire, fabric, vintage linen thread, 44 cm. Wendy @ Late Start Studio

An Empty Promise
Wire, fabric, vintage linen thread, 44 cm.
Wendy @ Late Start Studio

where have I been?

I haven’t been anywhere . . . I was here all the time, sometimes working and sometimes just lolling around, however a lot has happened.

I’ve made lots of seed pods . . . a metaphor for a promise.  There are many promises made, some kept, some not.  Some promises are made unconditionally, others have strings attached or their fullfilment withheld for various reasons.

A Fragile Promise. Wendy @ Late Start Studio

A Fragile Promise.
Wendy @ Late Start Studio

A Promise Reserved. Wendy @ Late Start Studio

A Promise Reserved.
Wendy @ Late Start Studio

A Promise Withheld. Wendy @ Late Start Studio

A Promise Withheld.
Wendy @ Late Start Studio

Apart from making some the seed pods, I have had some minor surgery on my nose and acquired a puppy and she’s unbearably cute.  Here’s the puppy, but I’ll spare you the nose.

Meet Uschi.  She would much rather sleep in the crook of my arm but that isn't always possible so in from of the fire with a soft tow will just have to do.

Meet Uschi. She would rather sleep in the crook of my arm but that isn’t always possible so in front of the fire with a soft toy will just have to do.  Right now she’s curled up on my lap, exhausted from her second walk on the beach where she discovered just how interesting rabbit droppings are.

That’s it for now . . . I’ll try to post more often now that things are returning to normal but you know me, it may or may not happen so it’s best to subscribe for updates.

a book, of sorts and some leaves of another sort

It took a lot of searching to find more wire but at last I had success!

Accordion book. Fabric, paper, encausic medium, thread, each page measures approximately 16 x 15 cm. Wendy @ Late Start Studio

Accordion book. Fabric, paper, encausic medium, thread, each page measures approximately 16 x 15 cm.
Wendy @ Late Start Studio

And just in case you thought I was applying some limits to my Making . . . this is my equivalent to doodling.

A spiral of pohutukawa leaves. Wendy @ Late Start Studio

A spiral of pohutukawa leaves.
Wendy @ Late Start Studio

The spiral stretched out. Wendy @ Late Start Studio

The spiral, stretched out.
Wendy @ Late Start Studio

A spiral of pohutukawa leaves sewn with linen thread. Wendy @ Late Start Studio

Seen flat, from above.
Wendy @ Late Start Studio

And another cube . . . just for luck . . . and more planned.

Kozo & Manilla Hemp paper, linen thread, encaustic medium. 10 x 10 x 10cm Wendy @ Late Start Studio

Kozo & Manilla Hemp paper, linen thread, encaustic medium.
9 x 9 x 9 cm
Wendy @ Late Start Studio

squaring off

I seem to be making cubes lately.  Boxes, or rather containers, have always been something I like and I have collected quite a few over the years so it shouldn’t surprise me that these small boxes are forming at the ends of my fingertips.

I’m interested in containment and what we put inside a box, what precious objects or secrets they might contain.  Sometimes, what we hide away cannot be contained for long . . . maybe it grows and bursts forth, maybe the ownership becomes a burden that needs to be shared.  How we decorate the container might give lie to the contents or it can be misleading.  These are the thoughts that go through my head as I create and the box as a metaphor interests me.

Kozo, Manilla & Hemp paper, linen thread, encaustic medium.  10 x 10 x 10 cm Wendy @ Late Start Studio

Kozo, Manilla & Hemp paper, linen thread, encaustic medium.
10 x 10 x 10 cm
Wendy @ Late Start Studio

Kozo, Manilla & Hemp paper, linen thread, encaustic medium. 10 x 10 x 10cm Wendy @ Late Start Studio

Kozo, Manilla & Hemp paper, linen thread, encaustic medium.
10 x 10 x 10cm
Wendy @ Late Start Studio

Kozo & Manilla Hemp paper, linen thread, encaustic medium. 10 x 10 x 10cm Wendy @ Late Start Studio

Kozo & Manilla Hemp paper, linen thread, encaustic medium.
10 x 10 x 10cm
Wendy @ Late Start Studio

Kozo, Manilla & Hemp paper, polished cotton cord, encaustic medium. 10 x 10 x 10cm Wendy @ Late Start Studio

Kozo, Manilla & Hemp paper, polished cotton cord, encaustic medium.
10 x 10 x 10cm
Wendy @ Late Start Studio

They’re not all black and white . . . but then again, nothing much in this life is.

 

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nothing can stop me!

This morning Seth Apter of The Altered Page  posed this question on FB:What would boost your creativity the most: more time, more space, more supplies or something else? and I offered this response.

“Space . . . being able to leave something I’m working on undisturbed while I do something else. I don’t want to have to put away my encaustic set-up so I can make some more monoprints or to set up the sewing machine or get out the typewriter or . . . I’m sure you get the point. A smallish spare bedroom (with carpet) that occasionally needs to be used as one is not ideal . . . guess who is thinking of ripping up the carpet! In the meantime I have vinyl on the carpet and I just take over parts of the house and garden as the need arises. My thoughts on anything that stifles your creativity is, if you really want to express yourself, you’ll find a way.”

Reading other responses as well as my own, I got to some serious thinking.   Deep down, I believe that if you want to do something badly enough you’ll find a way.  I also agree with the saying ‘cut your coat according to your cloth.’   For years I didn’t have much time or money to indulge my creative fantasies so the fantasies remained small.  I made things as gifts and I learned to make do with the resources I had at hand.   If I bought resources, whatever I made had to pay for itself and make additional income. . . one year, back in the 70s, I funded Christmas gifts for my children by making and selling macrame dog leads.

So there you go, time and resources limited my output and limited my creativity but it certainly didn’t curtail it.  I fitted it in.

Now, my only real limitation is space.  Recently I moved my workroom from a small office to a smallish bedroom and reshuffled the furniture around the house and now I have about 10 square metres for storage and to create in.

The Late Start Studio

The Late Start Studio. I think I might rip up the carpet, build a workbench along the right-hand wall with shelves under and over it for storage and display, and put the desk under the window.  

 

 

 

Right now I’m set up for working with encaustic medium and wax on the carpet isn’t great. Fortunately I have another of my cunning plans and got my hands on some free vinyl which I laid over part of it and sealed the edge down with duct tape. When you’ve had to make do, you can come up with ingenious solutions.   There’s still nowhere to play with charcoal unless I go outside( it’s winter here), splash paint, print, sew (I have 3 machines), and my easel is stored behind yet another bedroom door . . . one night is fell and almost brained a guest!  Of course if only I was interested in just one art form life would be a whole easier albeit not as interesting.

Different art forms require different equipment and  set-ups

Different art forms need different equipment and set-ups.  Left to right: boiling and dying harakeke/flax outside, free motion embroidery, encaustic pod with muka fringe.

There might be reasons why you can’t do what you’d like but you can still express yourself creatively but excuses are just that . . . excuses.

In all honesty, I have no reasons however sometimes I have excuses . . . and that’s when I give myself short shrift.

the fight is over

I’ve finally decided to accept me just as I am, to go with the flow . . . water is a powerful force and I could do worse than to emulate its properties.

I have always wrestled with developing habits that would lead to some sort of self-improvement or help me towards a goal.   As a child I did not practise my music, do my homework or even remember to feed my guinea pigs on a regular basis nor do recall being encouraged to do so.  My children could well say the same and although I remember asking them if they had homework, I probably did it irregularly. As an adult there is very little I do regularly but that may have something to do with having had a working life regulated by appointment times and school bells.   Routine and I?  Well it’s always been a difficult relationship: I have a low threshold to boredom and for me, Routine and Boredom seem to have some sort unholy alliance.

My latest attempts to instill some discipline into my practice have all ended up as failures.  My attempts to place limitations on how many directions I go in . . . playing with encaustic medium almost didn’t happen and, right now, I’m really enjoying its possibilities.  And that’s it . . . words like limitations, discipline and routine give rise to a negative, almost visceral reaction however possibilities makes my Self sit up and smile and start to sing.

Why do I keep trying different things? In the hope that something will enthuse me so much that I fall in love with doing it and never look back?  That we, the activity and I, will be romantically entwined for life and . . . what?  We ride off into the sunset to live happily ever after?  Like that is ever going to happen!  And before you go telling me that it just doesn’t work that way with ANY passion whether it be something or someone, I know, I wasn’t born yesterday!   I’ve given up trying to limit myself or form beneficial habits.  I gave it a damn good try many times . . . giving up is just not the same as giving in.

There is much written about the positive effects of having a daily regimen and having a daily practice and I don’t discount it but it simply doesn’t work for everyone . . . and it’s not some virtue and I will become, by some miracle, a much better person on the inside if I somehow crack this Sisyphean task and do something ‘good for me’ on a daily basis.  Read it here now . . . I will never be that person, who when asked about the secret of their success will say, “I XYZ EVERY DAY AND HAVE DONE SO FOR X YEARS.”  The only thing I do almost every day is get up, use the bathroom, make coffee and take it back to bed and read (a book or online) and I have done that since I did my MEd which I completed in 2002 (working full-time I could only do the necessary reading between 5:30 and 7:30).  Now, I wake when I wake and shower when I shower . . . I don’t wear a watch.  And while I try to hand the car keys in the same place there is a second thing I do . . . I make all sorts of stuff.

For me, trying to set up a new habit opens the door to those voices that tells me I have no will-power or won’t-power, I’m hopeless.   The loudest voice of all, tells me positively screams at me that I’m lazy.  I then spend most of my energy digging a hole to fall into and then have to struggle to get out again.  No more.  No more will I set myself objectives that need to be done daily at a certain time.  I shall continue to be haphazard in my approach to what I do.  My weekly goals will continue but always have the rider “unless something more interesting turns up.”

Recently I decided I would draw every day, make marks if you will, the ‘authorities’ (and yes I know, I have ascribed that title to them . . .  they haven’t, however most of them are teachers so, to some extent, they have).  The most I ever managed to keep this up was for 10 days straight and then something happened and I never got back into it.  Maybe it was a visit from my grandhearts (who love to draw), a particularly stunning morning that demanded I go for a walk or perhaps I got waylaid in the workroom on my way to make coffee and didn’t get out of my pyjamas until 11:00.  Does it matter?   Did time stop?  Was there some cataclysm in some corner of the universe?  (And such is my level of spontaneity, it is now 12:15m and I have not showered nor had any breakfast. And don’t get me started on the difference between being impulsive and being spontaneous.)

For me, having to do something kills a lot of the pleasure . . . this probably means that deep down I’m a hedonist but that’s okay . . . I’m sure the world can cope with a few and might be the better for it.

By now you could be wondering what started all this ranting and rambling.  Yesterday on Face Book I read ‘Action opens the door.  Consistency keeps it open.”  You might nob in agreement and say that’s fine, that’s true, but for someone who will have the epitaph “She Analysed” on her gravestone, that isn’t good enough.  First I finished admiring the penmanship and use of watercolour and then, perhaps because it doomed me to failure, perhaps because I am a bit of a pedant around the edges, I found myself disagreeing with the word choice . . . big time.

Consistency (Oxford Dictionary)
consistent behaviour or treatment. “the consistency of measurement techniques”

synonyms:evenness, steadiness, stability, constancy, regularity, uniformity, equilibrium, unity, orderliness, lack of change, lack of deviation
Consistency was perhaps used with the idea of turning up, applying yourself on a regular basis but more and more I realise I can’t do that . . . it’s just not me.  I think perseverance is what keeps the door open . . . persevering thought the discomfort, extending to a point just a little out of reach, not giving up until you can stand back and know, deep inside, that you did well.    For me, consistency and development just don’t go together.

Maybe I’m splitting straws but in my mind the difference between consistency and perseverance is a bit like the difference between equality and equity.

Of course if it really is consistency that makes the difference between me just mucking about with art supplies and being an artist I’m really sunk.   Regardless of whether it does or not, I’m off to persevere in my making and mucking about.  My plastered forms are waxed and ready waiting for me to apply colour.   Next week I could be weaving, embroidering, making more charcoal, a book or perhaps even drawing or painting, miracles do happen . . . but  whatever I do, I’ll be making because that’s what I am . . . a maker (which is not too far from my childhood nickname of Mucker and that’s fine by me).

Plastered forms ready for waxing. Wendy @ Late Start Studio

Plastered forms ready for waxing.
Wendy @ Late Start Studio

And my mottos?  1, Necessity is the mother of invention and 2, Strike while the iron is hot . . . .and there a millions of power sockets in this world.