Thursday, July 1, 2010
Seized with Creative Vigor
Being seized with creative vigor can result in fabulous art discoveries. And a few other things can be discovered too.
Here is a discovery. If you are concurrently doing the laundry while creating interesting collage papers, and you leave the lid of the clothes washer open it will not drain out all that fresh soapy water.
Then sometime later when you meander by, feeling all pleased about your new papers and notice the machine, you can add the clothes and no one will ever know you were a distracted laundry lady. You may wonder how I know these things…I’m not telling!
Are you interested in some tips for collage paper preparations? I know some people have all the technique they need, and some folks are open to trying more. If you have created papers that you find too dull or too bright, or too intense, or too ugly, might I suggest you assume an explorers mindset. Get those papers out of the drawer and on your work surface. Contemplate and consider what you have at hand. Then begin!
I usually work atop a piece of plastic such as a new white or clear garbage bag that has been softened to remove the sharp pleats and fold marks. I put the plastic bag in my clothes dryer with a wet load of laundry. I turn on the dryer for about 60 to 90 seconds and then retrieve the plastic bag. It will be nicely free of fold marks. If you want, you can then turn the dryer back on to finish drying the clothes.
If you don’t have a dryer, you do have an option. Crumple up the plastic bag and place it next to your warm skin. If you are female you have two pretty good spots under your shirt for two bags, one on each side. If you are male you’ll have to think of your own spot. It’s a bit itchy, but after a while the bag will be soft and the fold creases gone. A tip of the hat to Eydi Lampasona who taught me that technique.
Put the side of your paper you like the most face down on the plastic. This technique is for more porous papers like washi and tissues, not watercolor papers. I often find it’s the “B” side, the underneath side I like the best. If you enjoy mark making this is a good time to try some on your paper.
If your paper is too bright apply something to calm it down. Apply your problem solution – what ever it is – ink, paint, what ever you can think of and wait for the magic to happen. I leave each sheet of paper on its own plastic until it is completely dry. I don’t try to move the paper without the plastic support.
If your paper is too dull, how about a nice time flinging paint, or dripping ink, or transferring paint from one surface to another? Let dry, and repeat. That is literally how I create my best collage papers.
My next experiment involves cherry tree bark. I am taking my inspiration from India Flint, who uses eco dyes on cloth. Her work is stunning. I am waiting for the library to let me know her book Eco Colour is available for me to read. But since I am in the mood for exploration, I am just going to plunge ahead and try some things and find out what happens. Its only paper…
I attended a great non art work shop recently on human brains and learning. I love that kind of stuff. The fellow who taught it is John Medina, a developmental molecular biologist, researcher and really funny guy. He knows a lot about how humans, especially babies, learn. Did you know the ideal student to teacher ratio is 1 teacher to 5 students? That is how many students the teacher, or more accurately, the teacher’s brain, is actually able to attend to.
The new studio space is tantalizing now. It’s all bright and white. The ceilings sore above the open beam and light streams in through the skylights. The scaffolding is moved out. The space is open and inviting. I could give in to temptation and move in before a floor covering and trim work are completed. I will try to resist, at least until there is a floor. Kurt says he will go investigate flooring options tomorrow. He must sense my patience beginning to melt now that moving into the studio is so close. It’s been five years in process.
I can envision the new studio space having ample room for 5 students and one teacher to work, even with the framing equipment in place. I can envision a 4 day class about collage and creating papers. A little exploration, a little collage paper making and creativity coaching…I love visions.