Friday, June 26, 2015

Fiberlandia Highlights II: The Breakout Sessions - Part A

On the first full day of the Fiberlandia Conference (Friday, May 1), attendees "broke out" into the first of three concurrent sessions following the first Key-note address by Namita Gupta Wiggers.  Each attendee was able to go to one session in the morning and one in the afternoon.

Which session you attended was determined by your first and alternate choices, which you were to choose when you registered for the conference. When your registration was confirmed, you received confirmation of which ones you'd got into, and when.

The three offered this year were:

Sue Reno - Develop and Sustain Your Daily Artistic Practice.

Lyric Kinnard - Failure is an Option: Why Making Bad Art is Vital to Your Success.

and Carolyn  Higgins - Master Social Media and Rule the World (or Market Your Work)

I attended Sue's and Lyric's sessions, so these are the ones on which I'm reporting here.  :-)

First, Sue Reno: Develop and Sustain Your Daily Creative Practice

Sue is a studio art quilter and SAQA Juried Artist Member (JAM).  She defines a "daily creative practice" as something an artist does daily to inspire her work.  Her own particular practice?  A self-assignment: take a photo every day.  This is just one example...Now for the heart of the matter...

Following her introduction, Sue began by giving us guidelines she's identified as ways to both develop and sustain one's creative practice.

  1. Define Your Creative Goals: how do you define success?
    • primarily artistic
      • personal satisfaction?
      • peer recognition?
      • larger art world recognition?
    • self-expression
    • informed by life experience -- sharing your story, travel, education, training
    • make money with your art?
      • selling your work -- where?
        • in galleries?
        • as licensed images?
      • supplementing income with teaching? writing?
    • change the world with your art?
      • primarily political?
      • work used as graphics
      • work used as networks
      • work shown in relevant exhibits
  2. Define Creative Practice:
    • DAILY is key
    • enhance your current skill set?
    • building blocks for Works In Progress?
    • outside the current trends:
      • escape others' expectations
      • freedom of expression
      • fresh perspectives
    • cross-training with other media
  3. Setting Up the Mechanisms:
    • finding your creative *spark*
      • a serendipitous approach or...
      • a calculated/intentional one
    • NO excuses!
    • Consistency is KEY!
  4. Roadblocks:
    • experienced by everyone
    • things happen
    • NO guilt!
    • overcome a block by...
      • doing something for others/the common good
      • rediscovering sources of joy
      • do something to enhance your self-worth, self care
      • set deadlines
      • have an artistic partner or be part of a small group - for accountability 
  5. The Outcome of Creative Practice (the rewards):
    • personal satisfaction
    • new and expanded skill sets
    • tangible results - finished work!
    • becoming prone to the unexpected, the hitherto unimaginable
    • "Chance favours the prepared."
  6. Documentation:
    • journal or sketchbook
    • digital presence
Sue then expanded on the above points by choosing to enlist the help -- via PowerPoint presentation -- of several of her SAQA colleagues.  Here are just a few examples (out of a dozen) of those who shared their creative habits.  Each artist is different and distinct with respect to her work, which makes this a particularly intriguing selection of colleagues:

  • multiple projects on the go at the same time
  • is there a need for a quilt?
  • regular "Artist's Dates" (Julia Cameron)
  • has to play with her needles daily
  • solitude, quiet, alertness/awareness
  • maintain a playful attitude but...
  • have a serious commitment to the work
  • uses photos for inspiration
  • works in a series
  • dig out previous compilations or abandoned segments
  • look for "happy accidents"
  • abstraction is freeing
  • "If I like it, that's all that matters."
  • productive in short bursts
  • takes photos while dog-walking
  • always has a sketchbook or hand-work on the go
  • integrate art work into the reality of life
and last but not least...

  • time management
  • daily outdoor photos - various lenses
  • line up easily-achieved practices
  • hand-work in the evenings
  • set aside longer blocks of time for designing
And before you take the plunge to set up your own systems, pause to reflect.  

Ask yourself:
  • How well do I respond to regulation?
    • set realistic goals
    • a daily task should be rigorous enough to reap benefits but not so demanding that you rebel against your own self-imposed tyranny!
  • How will I hold myself accountable?
    • can I answer to myself honestly?
    • do I need a partner or a critique group?
      • in person?
      • online?
Then...Get Ready:
  • Develop your strategy:
    • Establish criteria for your practice, even if it's arbitrary at first;
    • Patterns will emerge as you go along;
    • Determine what type of task(s) to practice:
      • repetitive?
      • innovative?
      • a mix?
Get Set:
  • The Gathering:
    • materials, tools
    • work-space
    • storage space
    • samples as prompts
    • a travel kit for work away from home

That sums up my time with Sue Reno...and this post is long enough.  Next up: Lyric Kinnard.  Stay tuned!

1 comment:

  1. Well stated synopsis of the sessions - thanks so much for sharing. Deserves printing out and posting in the studio.