a long time in coming

While I try to keep it to days or weeks, it has been months.  I have no reason nor any excuses to offer however I am aware that Guilt is there at the outskirts of my mind. I can allow Guilt to lurk out there: it has a role to play in battling Procrastination.  I have no responsibilities toward anyone except myself here, no-one is hanging on my every word . . . the feeling is to do with a responsibility to myself so I say my mantra “Each day passes whether you participate or not” and get on with it.

So far, this is my primary way of sharing what I do but I have made a commitment to myself to exhibit my work next year.  I was going to have a small space at a local art and craft shop but cancelled as I didn’t think my work fitted there so I am getting together with a couple of friends to apply for another space where there is more foot traffic and perhaps more likelihood of selling.

Of course that brings the question of how to price work . . . I’m not looking forward to that.  I use simple materials, often recycled, sometimes very old . . . my mother’s.  Taking time, stitching, utilising skills developed over a life time, some learned as a child and some more recent, self-taught and taught by wonderful generous women (usually).  Simplicity and time, one way or another, is there in my work.

I’m letting loose this particular aspect my creativity rather late in life and I have yet to exhibit . . . does that make me an ’emerging artist’?  I quite like that idea of still emerging just as much as I enjoy seeing which pathways appeal.

Here’s an amuse-bouche of what’s to come.

A small section of a larger piece. Watercolour paper, watercolours, encaustic medium, waxed cotton cord. Wendy @ Late Start Studio

A small section of a larger piece. Watercolour paper, watercolours, encaustic medium, waxed cotton cord.
Wendy @ Late Start Studio

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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. Between assignments Lisa was able to be contacted by email and responded to our questions and inquiries.

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.

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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.