Acquiring a style of your own

Many years ago when I first began to create flame worked glass beads and jewelry I worried that as a new artist, I didn't have a style. I could not yet show a body of work that when seen, someone might say 'oh, I know that artist!'  I did not yet have a collection of pieces with an identity or a discernible similarity in each piece. A cohesiveness.
I needn't have worried. I've since learned that acquiring a style of your own as an artist is a natural evolution.

I spent some of my growing up years on a ranch in the Upper Halfway area of the Peace country in British Columbia, Canada. I wasn't really crazy about being there at the time, yet there were things about it that I loved. 
We lived on 2400 acres of pristine land that sat next to the long and winding Halfway River.  There was a natural spring of water that bubbled ..happily, it seemed to me,  up out the ground on a hill above our house, even in the dead of winter! Like some great amazing life force.
Some days I would sneak away with my battery operated radio [have I mentioned that I am 100?] on the back of Brumbee..a gentle gelding who was happiest when his nose was pointed toward the barn. Until then, he could only muster a plod, or if he was feeling magnanimous, a [resentful] trot.
I would find a pretty spot, tie Brumbee to a close bush, and lay listening to the birds and the music on the transistor radio, watching the treetops move with the drifting clouds. Plotting and Day dreaming.

The countryside in the wilds of British Columbia are compelling and beautiful. The colors of the earth are always changing. There is a distinct perfume to each of the seasons. The heady sweet scent of fuchsia colored rose hips in the Summer and the acrid smell of the undergrowth in the Fall..the new sap running through the birch in the Spring and somewhere, always a faint smell of smoke hanging in the dense icy air of Winter.
All of these elements have somehow carved their way into my bones and no matter how far I travel or how many years pass, they will forever be a part of me.

Below are a couple of my brothers photos [DC Nature Photography] of the magnificent Peace country where he and his family still live. 

Photo by Dan Cantlon Northern BC, Canada

Photo by Dan Cantlon Northern BC, Canada

In time, the basic process of bead making became second nature and I found that as I relaxed my own unique style began to emerge.  The simple things that brought me joy began to show up in the jewelry. I used rods of glass in the subdued earth colors you might find in nature..rich ochres, sage greens, the tender robin egg colored blues. I designed using texture and movement, petal and leaf curved line...always including a dark to play amidst the lights.

Recently, I took a small silversmithing class here in the Middle East..my teacher a master who has designed jewelry for some of the wealthiest Sheiks here in Doha.  He told stories of rooms built solely for the purpose of holding rows and rows of cufflinks.
I enjoyed the class and have been taking great satisfaction in constructing my own organic style clasps that mimic the curved petals that I love to design in the glass. Each are hand fabricated using mixed metals of sterling silver, copper or brass with a simple hook making them easy to do up. 
While these connectors are worked to be comfortable on your wrist, they are also rough hewn and earthen by design. I like to age them further with a patina so that they might look like they may have been buried somewhere for some time.
My makers mark the raven, is either stamped on the back or stamped on a small dot of sterling as a charm.

Detail of clasp on Art glass bracelet 'My mothers Garden'..Sold

'Of the Earth'  Available here

'Voodoo' Blue Wave Fine Art Gallery 

'Dreaming' Available here

'Yesterday' Blue Wave Fine Art gallery

Paul Coelho in the Alchemist says this,

" You will never be able to escape from your heart. So it is better to listen to what it has to say."

and in there lies your Style.

Picnicking at the river with the charming M&M's



The art of Connecting with your Muse

Anyone in the field of art or design will tell you that there are days when they don’t feel very creative. That can be scary.
If your rent relies on you churning out new work, it can be very stressful to go through times where you just don’t want to even think about your art, never mind actually make anything. Especially if those days stretch into weeks!
Even for those who practice art solely for their own pleasure will begin to feel the drag on their life without the joy of “making” in it.

Don’t Let a Day Go By

I had a teacher once who told his students never to let a day go by without practicing your art. Does that sound exhausting? What if it’s just sketching your ideas – big loose, messy sketches? Too much? Maybe it’s just scrolling though the many color palettes on the Pantone site?
There have been some days where scrolling has been all the creative energy I could muster. But then something in the purple and green color combination was plucked from the pages and stored in some small compartment in my tiny brain to be retrieved one day in the work studio.
Maybe recharging your muse could be as simple as keeping an open journal when you travel. By “open” journaling I mean keeping a notebook for little drawings and all those great inspirational thoughts that can happen spontaneously when we’re relaxed. My notebook is mostly written thoughts with only a few drawings, but it works for me.

Love for the Magical Colours of a New Place

My husband and I moved to Israel in 2010 for three short years. When we disembarked at the Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv I was delighted to find that the sky appeared pink. The color permeated the air and gave it a mystical, magical feeling. We arrived mid-summer and the air was damp; the heat was so palpable it was as though you’d opened an oven door to check the roast. I didn’t mind.
I loved the pink desert sand air and the brilliant sun and the broad expanse of the Mediterranean Sea. I loved the ancient history that was evident everywhere I looked. I loved the many colors and spicy smells of the Arab market and the incessant song of the Bedouin boy as he tried to entice passers-by to his display of tandoori pots and silk scarves. I came to love the sing song call to prayer that would waft through the air in the heat.. soft and melodic.
I began to incorporate the magic into my work. I bought strands of pinkish purpled spiny oyster and weaved those bits of sea shell amongst my glass beads. The rods of glass that I was adding to my (already large) supply ran to the blues of the sea and sky and the ambers of the sand.
Israel had begun to feed my muse.

An Inspirational Workspace Filled with Energy

I’ve always filled my work space with things that inspire me. Photos of places I love, pictures ripped from magazines for the color combinations or the image itself. Bits of quotes – even just things that make me feel good by looking at them. Here is one of my many work spaces.
Oddly, keeping your muse satisfied sometimes comes in the form of commiseration. It can alleviate pressure to perform if you realize that you’re in good company. It helps to know that other artists/writers have experienced precisely what you are going through.
Do some research and find those same souls. Find out what they do to ease their way over the bump. Will it work for you as well?
A search for ‘feeding your muse’ will reveal that it’s as we suspect! We’re not alone! The Skinny Artist and The CanDo Ideas are a couple of sites that you may find interesting.
In the end, it all feeds our Muse. For the creative person, everything is to be studied, turned over, tasted, digested and ruminated over until it has been completely processed. That may take hours, or it may feel like a dry spell and take weeks. It’s all a matter of time.
Relax, pour yourself a cup of tea and go through the latest issue of Quilts. Your next masterpiece may just be in there somewhere.