Have you ever found it difficult when you’ve come to the end of a piece, or series of pieces, to know where to go next?
Where do I start?
There are a number of strategies that get me going again. Looking at inspirations…I’m one of those horrors that rips out magazine pages when they’re reading, applies sticky notes to book pages, or strips of tissue when I can’t find the stickies, or worst of all – simply piles up open books and magazines in a medieval morasse!
But one of the things, I observe, that really gets me moving is to Set Parameters. I noticed this when (in the good old days!) people would commission me to make this or that: it has to be a certain size, colour, content and mood…… immediately I would feel energized: loads of ideas, drawing, painting or cutting up and collaging away.
There are times when I do better with an external hard drive, it seems!
So that’s what I’ve been doing recently…Setting Parameters. (Interestingly, I notice in at least one of her gorgeous books, Nancy Crow has lists of parameters up on her studio wall).
First I decided on the size: a group of smaller pieces that related and would look good hanging together. I had loads of huge long drawings of various industrial sites…here’s one from Canada. this drawing is 6’ or 7’ wide. I have been making very wide pieces like this but looking at it as I’d drawn it on several pieces of paper, I thought hmmm…doesn’t need to be all one piece…
So that was my Inspiration start….then I said to myself: “okay, missus, come up with four designs based on this, each one should be 27” square, and they should all be made from this pile of fabric you just pulled out”. I find if I give myself clear order, something is more likely to happen – must be that Convent School upbringing! (Bar Convent, York if anyone is interested!!). Out of about a dozen rough sketches, I came up with three I really liked, so suggested to the management we change the number to three! Then while making those three, I thought, you know, some of these three pieces have some really nice details…okay! you must make 3 more that are such and such a size, with these particular fabrics, and done in a particular way. And, d’you know, I’m off and running!!!
Goodbye! (and, ifyouhavebeen, thanksforreading!!) Elizabeth
PS what gets you moving?