Creativity is an interesting beast, being both a joy and a challenge. I have recently found myself being increasingly challenged by feeling creative but somehow managing to block it by demanding of myself that I work at something new, different, a complete change: all the usual stuff which can stop you in your tracks.
About five years ago at a birthday lunch with some friends we were chatting about our work, and when asked what I was working on, I admitted a need to try out some needlepoint, which had been on my mind for a while. I was reticent to admit it, to be honest, as I think it has a fairly middle of the road and staid image, although I had researched some exciting practitioners of the process.
Wonderfully, they were, as good artists and friends, very enthusiastic, almost thrilled, and this was emboldening. I have made several pieces over the years alongside my other textile practice, but find that stitched tapestry is increasingly becoming the way. Above and below, a few examples of my needlepoint.
So, I’ve concluded that overnight changes don’t work for me. I’m a slow burner, less exciting but going with the way I am is the only path that works for me. You may be different, and can boldly go, at warp factor 9, no less, and completely change tack, with huge enjoyment.
Whatever sort of artist you are, some assessment of your creative personality and, most importantly, acceptance of your make up will pay dividends. I think for me in the past this came naturally, but time can force us to be over analytical, question to the point of extinguishing an idea, and prevent us from any sort of progression.
So, to move on from a recent block, instead of demanding the shock of the new from myself, I responded to some recent advice and decided that doing things that came easily to me is fine, using inspiration that is an old friend is fine, and working with these rather than against them is more than fine, it’s the way for me. This creates a flow rather than a block, and with flow comes enjoyment, and I’m the sort of artist that likes enjoyment in my work.
Then, with that flow comes new ideas and creative directions, almost without trying. They may be slow in arriving but that’s fine. Don’t force it, just get something chilled going.
With all the above in mind, podcasts on, I got out my images folder, and picked out a few pictures that spoke to me. What I really love is collage, with some drawing and paint thrown in, a sort of loose playing around with shapes and patterns, scissors to hand, some nice pieces of printed paper to work with.
In its very early stages, above, a collage of mixed media. Coloured pencils, paint, fine liner pen, papers to be added, quite a lot of work to be done. This is heading in the direction of a design for a largish needlepoint, part of a series, but also, I hope, a piece of work in its own right.
Of the series of needlepoints, one is finished but not photographed properly yet, one is partly done, and this one, still at this stage. I know that the collage will be more complex than the needlepoint, as I tend to like a marginally simpler look with the stitched pieces.
So basically I get the spontaneity of collage and mixed media, and the interpretation into another, very different medium, something considerably slower to make, in which I can still make creative decisions as I go along, and one that will, believe it or indeed not, still surprise as it gently evolves.