A couple of weeks ago it was suggested, in another place, that people might like to put together a blog post introducing themselves or their art. Well, my creations are all on this blog, so I’d better tell you something about me.
The fact that I am writing this on the last day of the two-week deadline tells you the first thing about me: I am really, really bad at leaving things until the last minute, always have been. Homework done the night before it was due, emails sitting unanswered because they “aren’t urgent”, cards made just before they need sending. And it’s not even that I’m really avoiding doing them, it’s just that my brain will take every opportunity to ponder on things before committing to action.
I’ve always had some creative hobby on the go. I drew and painted as a child, did art at school, but don’t remember ever being taught much there, it was just one assignment after another.
[returns to writing after placing two online orders that have been sitting in my browser for a couple of days] And I can be easily distracted, usually by remembering one of the many things on my to do/would like to do list. Conversely, I can also spend hours focused on things, whether they’re interestingly creative or boringly repetitive (like the time I discovered my personal finance app had become abandonware and I had to transfer the data to another app and then check every transaction).
I kept doing the occasional bit of crafting, but then work took over and I got diverted onto Photoshop. Mostly simple graphics for web design, but I also started to get interested in photo retouching for a while. Photoshop was just another playground.
Then I needed something to stop me from staring at a computer screen all day long. The first crafty foray was into crocheting amigurumi (I’m thinking of doing occasional throwback posts here for some of them ). I made quite a few, but they can be quite fiddly, especially when it comes to sewing them together. So I just drifted into not making them anymore. Diversions don’t always last long.
The card making has lasted much longer than anything else though. Four and a half years so far. I don’t make as many as I used to though: I have built up quite a stash, I’m getting more picky about who deserves one of my handmade creations (some people just don’t appreciate the work that goes into them) and, while there is a lot of variety in card making, there is even more variety when you throw mixed media into the mix.
Mixed media was a challenge to myself.
All of my creating had been precise and controlled, with the exception of the occasional alcohol ink background. I was a perfectionist. Making cards had taken the edge off it — I was no longer going to throw out an hour’s work because something got glued down half a degree off true — but there wasn’t much freedom in how I created.
Mixed media, with its dimensionality and its layers, was way out of my comfort zone. But, at the end of 2016, after the Christmas-card-making rush, I was feeling terminally uninspired so I bought myself a subscription box from Craft Box and made my first, small, altered box.
I love mixed media. I love playing. I love trying out new products and new techniques. I love finding a starting point and then developing ideas as I work on a piece. I am happy making a mess, though I do try to tidy up as soon as something is finished. I have ideas. I have four things in varying stages of completeness on and around my desk right now.
But as much as I know I shall continue making cards and creating in mixed media, I also know that isn’t the end of my experimenting. After years of not “getting” abstract art, I now have an urge to learn more about it. And that may well lead to something else down the line.
Big question. Do I call myself an artist or a crafter or what? For the card making: I know that if I drew the critters and characters on my cards rather than stamping and colouring them, I would happily call myself an illustrator at least. For the mixed media: that mostly still feels like play. There’s a part of my brain that insists that in order to call myself an artist I have to be creating art, and that art has to have meaning or a creative drive behind it. I’m just having ideas and putting them on paper, canvas or MDF. I’m not reflecting society’s turn to incivility or the irrationality of leaders or the terrible potential of climate change; however, all those things do affect how I think and my creativity is a way of coping with them, albeit as a diversionary tactic at times.
So, am I an artist? Probably not right now, but I’d rather like to be.