Sunday, April 19, 2009

Who Are You Anyway?

This is an important question for artists. The Myers Briggs personality types can provide useful information. For example, do you like to see the big picture? Or perhaps you prefer to take things one step at a time, and only need to know the next couple of steps.

Whether you have difficulties starting a piece of artwork, or more difficulty knowing when it's finished, can be based in your personality type.

Personality types tend to stay constant over one's life. One can choose to act outside of type, such as performers who are introverted in everyday life, but use extraversion when they're on stage. But we never really change our type. I know this, I thought I wanted to be an extrovert for years. It didn't happen.

It is most liberating to accept one's type, and understand your strengths. We are so much more effective and happy when we are playing to our strengths. I tried this at a party recently. Instead of forcing myself to be outgoing, I sat and had a deep conversation with one person. It was very satisfying to both of us. I enjoyed that so much I'm actually looking forward to my next party!

An introverted artist might enjoy writing a blog or posting photos of his or her work, while an extraverted artist would likely thrive on teaching others and giving demonstrations.

As an artist, a detail person (the sensory type) would love working on the meticulous small steps of stitching or bead embroidery. This would drive a big picture person (intuitive type) nuts! When you have unfinished projects, it may be that once you get to the part that requires attention to detail, you lose interest. You may want to look for types of artwork that can be finished quickly, such as paper casting or randomly painting warp yarns and then quickly weaving them off.

On the other hand, the detail oriented person may have trouble finishing a project, because it can always be tinkered with a bit more. Knowing this about yourself allows you to celebrate your love of detail and give yourself a deadline for stopping work on a particular project.

You can take a quick personality type test online here. Click on Jung Typology Career Indicator Test and you can learn which of 16 types you are. Then a google search on your type will let you learn about your type. We're all something, and when we make the most of who we are, we bring our unique gifts into the world.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Honoring Creative Ideas

What is your relationship with your creativity? The images, the materials, the subjects that come to you asking to be made visible? Are you able to cherish them, nurture them and be grateful? Even when you don't understand them?

I am just starting to be receptive to those ideas that come to me and seem bizarre. I used to question them, oftentimes so much so that they never came to fruition. Try as I might, I am just not cut out for conventional work. I admire it, but what comes to me is something else.

This is a gut "doll" I made. I wasn't very pleased with her until I was looking for an image to express my sorrow over the potential extinction of so many species. Then she was perfect.

Another strange idea that came to me during a tapestry class I took at Penland School of Arts and Crafts was to make a bowl using Cheerios™ as beads. I did, and it actually sold in the auction at the end of the session. This is a later vessel, using MultiGrain Cheerios™. I love the rough texture of Cheerios™ and the weight and flexibility of the vessel.I went on to use the MultiGrain Cheerios™ in a beadweaving project. This piece is called "Demeter Celebrating Grain." The colors are the natural color of the cereal. I admit that I questioned all of these pieces. They are all made of materials that cannot be made permanent without destroying their best characteristics. I have since made dolls stuffed with rocks and had other non-traditional ideas that I have not tried. Does this sound familiar?

A year ago, I had another desire come to me and I just finished a sample. I am beginning to accept that, for me, this is art. I have tried to weave and quilt and print fabrics but these quirky things keep coming along and making me oddly joyful as I start to embrace and celebrate them.

What is whispering to you? When you follow the tugs, I bet you'll find yourself grinning inside.