Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Lighting the Flame ...

No, no ... I'm not referring to glass bead making. "Lighting the flame", in this case, refers to inspiration. I was just playing with words in the glass bead artist vernacular.

I often get asked where I find inspiration for my work in both glass and finished jewelry mediums. Maybe I am lucky, but I see inspiration everywhere and in very ordinary things. Hey, I've gotten inspired by a tree branch! Perhaps I have a vivid imagination. My main problem is that I don't always have the time to immediately delve right in and explore these visions/ideas. Some ideas go unexplored or are forgotten temporarily to be revisited many days, months and even years before it takes fruition. I don't think one necessarily has to jump into an idea without first planning the execution. I have a few ideas that took me several years to plan in my mind and then when it finally came time to execute, the design came together naturally. Perhaps you are one to just jump right in, design as you go, and wing it. If this works for you, I'm not here to knock it. This is just how I approach my own designs as I see myself often, as a story teller.

Let me provide an example to illustrate what I am attempting to convey. Look through any magazine with plenty of photos, and stop at the first picture that catches your eye. It may be the colors, the composition, the subject, the catch phrase, company slogan, whatever that said to you "stop and look at me". Study this photo. In marketing and advertising, this is what they call "branding" but what I like to refer to as "telling a story" through words or images. "Geez Lisa, What are you getting at?". When you create something, whether it be a glass bead, a piece of jewelry, a painting, a sketch - whatever your artistic medium - what do YOU WISH to convey to your audience and what is the story you wish to tell? Perhaps you have no story to tell. That is your prerogative if you design this way. But let's approach this exercise in a different light for a moment and play with me. This separates "art" from "craft".

If I say "it does a body good" and "white mustache" (provided you haven't lived in a cave for the last century) you would probably tell me "you're talking about the milk ad". And if I say "Just do it", you'll smartly answer "Nike". That is "branding" in marketing and advertising. And that is what an artist should want to achieve and aim for in their work. That is what I want to achieve with mine. An artist desires to have a unique voice in their art medium. There will always be the natural inclination for people to compare one artist to another, this can't be avoided. The crafter is more concerned about finishing the project. The artist will wait until their art is ready to speak. What story does your work tell about you? What are you trying to tell with your work? If not, why don't you want your work to have it's own voice? I will explore these topics more in upcoming posts.

In the meantime, I would like to share the artist profile interview that Australian Beading (AB) wrote of me in their premiere issue, earlier this year. The article discusses the topics inspiration and artistic voice. Just click the article image to open a bigger window. Unfortunately, at this time, the magazine is not available in the States yet but I will keep you informed when they are made available here. I will be writing periodically for Australian Beading next year as they will be bi-monthly from 2008. Hooray! The articles for AB are written gratis but they allow me to reach a bigger audience and share my love of design with the WORLD.

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