Tuesday, 4 November 2008

An online sketchbook

Time to start bringing a bit of fun and randomness to this blog.

Originally, my self-imposed rule was that I would only blog when I had some weaving to show. However, as it turns out, all that does is put the pressure on and I end up doing nothing, no weaving, no blogging and feeling guilty.

That rule has just been dumped.

Instead, I am now going to treat this blog as an online sketchbook - as a creative work in its own right.

I have kept sketchbooks for years in different ways. Drawing, photos, words, all kinds of things. The main thing is to let it go where it needs to go. My sketchbooks are records of ideas and thoughts, but they are certainly not about perfectionism.

Historically, I have been very protective of my sketchbooks - they are a sanctuary for fresh, creative, vulnerable ideas - I keep them safe from critical eyes and tongues and lack of imagination, so the ideas stay magical to me while they are manifesting.

The end results - the work produced - is generally what people get to see later when the pieces are done and robust enough to stand alone.

So who knows what I might decide to share here in this blog sketchbook.

It is impossible to turn every single idea into a finished piece of work, there are far too many ideas. The discipline is in picking the best ones and seeing them through to completion.

As mentioned in the last entry, it has been a healing experience to compare notes lately with another ex-art-school artist.

Four years at art school taught me some important lessons and honed certain skills. Over this period, for whatever reason and there were probably a few, I also lost a lot of confidence and didn't feel inclined to draw or paint for quite a long time afterwards. Since then, my relationship with my creative side has been quite sporadic and has never quite healed. Also, the whole issue of earning a living has been centre stage for a long time.

So it's time to start having fun with this and become fearless in the face of negative criticism - especially my own. At the end of the day, all I need to do is make things in whatever way feels right to me, document it in whatever way feels natural and take it from there.

So from now on, the timing of these blog entries is going to be completely and utterly random. I'm only going to write them as and when I get the urge.

Your visits to this blog are always welcome, as are your comments if you feel like writing. I very much like that you can share your thoughts here too. I haven't got into the habit of responding individually - I may or may not do this, I'm not sure yet - but this doesn't take away from the value of what you say. I do read them all, as do others. The energy you bring through viewing this blog and what you write is a significant part of this process. Sometimes when I get stuck, it is your comments that gradually tip the balance and get me going again. Thank you for that.

Image: a pile of sketchbooks (not mine)


Peg in South Carolina said...

I'm not a tapestry weaver, but as a weaver, I find this a fascinating idea.


I don't remember how I found you, but I'm glad I did. I sometimes feel the same way about blogging, the stress of getting something done to blog, but I've resolved that the blog is mine for my thoughts to share, and not for critical eyes, but for support from others, comments and commeradiere.

gavin fry said...

"I have kept sketchbooks for years in different ways. Drawing, photos, words, all kinds of things. The main thing is to let it go where it needs to go"

Reading these words really struck a chord with me Steve. I'm finding that the random tends to get cut out because in part I work slowly. You've enabled me to re-think this,as an embroiderer the often painstakingly slow process, which although a collage one, eliminates the randomness and squashes the fun. It doesn't have to, so there are some new goals for me. I'll let it go in & out of my logbooks into thread work where it leads me. Thank you.

Dorothy said...

Hi Steve,

After I did a degree in English Lang. & Lit. I didn't read a novel for about 8 years!! I was interested to read how doing the art degree had a similar effect on you.

I'm all in favour of chucking out rules and getting on with things, I shall be back soon to see how the sketches are going! By the way, I was puzzled by the sky divers picture until I read what it was. What an extraordinary image. They looked like little bows of coloured ribbon to me at first.