While the moving in process goes on, I started thinking a lot about why I do what I do, why am I a creative, a maker, an artist.............
So I thought I would let you know the story.
I could do the whole 'I loved drawings horses as a kid' story, but thats blah. Yes I was an arty crafty kid, and I wanted to be either a teacher or a printer like my dad. He worked as a linotype operator for The Age and Herald Sun, and on occasions I visited and sat next to this huge, clunky, smelly machine as he made the plates, and I loved it!! After secondary school I tried several job applications to screen printers and for lots of reasons it never happened. So I ended up in a boring office working for the government- but I learnt lots, their in house training was awesome- but by my early 20's I'd had enough and resigned to become a personal trainer :)
Radical shift there I know (long story)....... but the hours were unpredictable- and I needed to earn more.
I had learnt a lot about health and nutrition along the way (and had studied part time at to get my qualifications) and decided to develop a home based vegetarian cooking school based on eating whole foods. I created a range of recipes to suit people with allergies to wheat and dairy, recipes that suited the seasons and a range of meals, snacks, breads and drinks for the courses. That was a fun 8 years!!! I cooked in health food shops, wrote a column in the local paper, was invited to speak at groups, developed over 10 different courses with recipes for each and had my own 2 kids under school age.
This is the interesting part about the 'why' - we are all on our own journey, and we all evolve in our lives as the journey unfolds. It is amazing to see how one situation links to the next, and opens doors to the next phase.
I went to a painting exhibition and fell in love with the style- traditional european decorative craft paintings. That was it, I enrolled in every class, workshop, conference I could get into and bought a pile of books to help me learn. Until then I had done lots of crafts in textiles- knitting, embroidery, weaving and quilting, so painting was an exciting new hobby. I had 2 more children by then and was heavily involved in volunteer time at the school. With many enquiries coming in about my painting projects I decided it was time for a new business, so combined painting with my facilitation skills and started teaching in a new subject area. That was in the early 90's and the business continued until 2008. I taught adults, children, people with autism at my home studio, schools, Tafes and tourism areas. At its peak I was facilitating 10 classes a week, with an art supply shop and small gallery. During those years I learnt so much, met so many wonderful people and really loved what I did. But for health reasons it all had to fold and my mind went crazy tied to home, and the next phase unfolded.......
I wanted to learn a new skill that would satisfy my itchy fingers and my active mind. Clay had always fascinated me and I envied those who could make objects from a lump of clay, particularly with a wheel. So I bought a book, a bag of clay and started to play, and again I was hooked on a subject that I wanted to learn as much as I could about. I thought a few subjects at Tafe would suffice, but no so I enrolled at university and devoted 4.5 years to researching and developing as many skills as I could. Like many things, the more I learnt, the more I realised how little I knew.
It is a topic that many have devoted their lives to and are considered 'master' potters, but all I am sure, would admit there is way more to learn. The topic is endless, and that suits my creative mind really well, it allows my curiosity to be forever awake and yearning to explore more.
The arts are a sector that have a ripple affect on many, many people. For the maker it satisfies curiosity, and a playful and inquisitive mind, but the 'object' made can be functional and used and loved by others. This flow on affect applies to the performing, musical, dramatic, writing and visual arts.
Personally I believe we all have a creative part of our make up that is either nurtured or ignored. The inventive side of our nature is often not recognised as being the same as the creativity that an arts person explores more deeply- however many trades such as nurserymen, chefs, cake decoraters' etc all utilise the imaginative side of their minds. I believe my path just naturally converged into being the maker that I am, and I am eternally grateful for the joy it has bought me in so many ways.
As creatives we need to portray our work in image format often. And it needs to be done well.
Whilst at LaTrobe we had access to the photography department to have quality images made of our work and it made it simple- take the work there, pick up in 4 hours, done! as if by magic.
When you're out there on your own, that magic has to happen by you- just like the branding, bookwork and marketing. I attended a weekend workshop years ago about taking images of your work, and after 2 hours I was lost! Way too much tech talk for me and it went over my head, but I did pick up some small snippets of information that I know will be valuable.
But I thought I would share some images taken at uni that I particularly love. All credit goes to Ian Hill, who was the staff member and photographer who snapped the images.
Slowly the boxes are being unpacked and the shelves are filling, with lots of tools of the trades, and many pieces of past work to display. It's fun seeing it all again, but the room looks a big mish mash of styles.
Really there is no style- I do have 6 matching sets of black metal shelving, but the rest of my storage is really just a lot of old furniture that is now not needed in the house. So I have the base of a pine dresser I bought 35 years ago, a bookcase from the 80's, a lovely queen anne set of drawers that were owned by a close friend of the family, plus my old kitchen table from the 90's!
A strange eclectic mix, but each piece has a story to it for me, and I am big on upcycling and not sending tatty furniture to the dump.
So today I sanded the set of drawers and re-stained them, and then repainted 6 drawers from another cabinet I had, and attached them vertically to the wall as new shelving. The drawers came from an old bedroom suite that I bought from the op shop 15 yrs ago for $8- the frame was worn out, but the drawers were in good shape. When I stacked them together they make a feminine shape- I'm loving them with their new paper backing.
The kitchen table got a rub down with some wax to spruce it up and my storage is complete.
My last studio had amazing, purpose built cabinetry that held HEAPS of stuff.
This one will be squishy and a tad messy, fitting everything in, and although it has no particular style, it is a reflection of me, with objects that tell a story.
I wonder, if I had the money to blow on a designer studio, what it would feel like to work in?
When I think about the cube of space I chose out of my backyard to be my studio- it really was just a cube of air once- its amazing that our collections of items, objects, things, possessions etc make our space our own.
Most artists I know love to visit other crafts persons working spaces, there is a deep curiosity about how another person sets up their space to be their creative zone.
I have also sat at my wheel and thrown some vessels! Really nervous that I would of forgotten how, but it all came back to me. For something different, I have played with geometric shaped water etching on the surfaces. My visual diary has a lot of ideas I intend to create, but I really dont want to get in the groove until all my equipment is at hand- nothing worse than starting something only to realise you cant move forward without a particular tool.
Here are some images taken in the studio today.
I am a certified creative addict- having played with arty methods constantly since childhood. Now I work mostly in clay, painting and textiles - always designing and making new objects.