|Ode To Project Runway|
Artbeads has a contest at the moment "What Inspires You." A couple of entries have been posted and as I consider entering, I realize my inspiration is not so easy to describe in a picture. When I create something for a challenge, it's a methodical (and somewhat painful) process starting with color and experimentation. I'm not one of those artists who look at nature and a vision of beadwork comes drifting into my conscientiousness. It may be due to lack of fine art training, but more likely my personality. I think I've quoted this from Anne Mitchell before, but I'm more of a technician than an artist (her words borrowed here). I'm not being modest (nor was Anne), I know there's artistry in what I create, but there's much more building and tweaking from what I've learned. Much of my inspiration comes from the structural building blocks of the beadwork pioneers before me. I see components of a piece and pull it apart and utilize sections or adapt it to fit my end goal.
The piece above was created for the Use the Muse IV contest. I challenged myself to create a versatile piece (the two side straps can be worn as bracelets). The wheels connecting the centerpiece to the straps was adapted from a pattern by Cindy Pankopf. I'm not sure how I would show that inspiration. The wheels did not inspire the entire piece, they were a solution to a technical and visual puzzle I had created for myself when I made the straps. The beading in the center of the wooden focal point came about when the colors of my strap need to be carried downward for balance (I was originally going to leave it bare with the stamped copper image I had added for depth). I'd love to be able to pre-plan and sketch a design, but, at least for now, that skill (patience) eludes me and perhaps always will. It's not a necessity, just a wistfulness "would this have been easier if I had sketched it?" I've never created a piece based on a visual inspiration, perhaps that's a challenge I should tackle.
So for now I'm not sure how or if, I'll tackle this particular challenge. I'm inspired by problem solving. How do you define the indefinable and, harder yet, how do you provide a picture of the elusive? I'm feeling more sympathy for Gretchen than I was a few days ago. At least I can walk away from the challenge and no one will know (well, except my readers, but you'll keep my secret).