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Thoughtful work?

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Gale aka artistefem
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Postby Gale aka artistefem » Mon Sep 29, 2003 6:11 pm

"How does one achieve "voice" (which seems to sound safe to a number of people on this board) without the involvement of research, intent, content, and means of expression?"

Voice seems to me to be the expressed distillation of an individual's life experiences, inclusive on some level of every event and learning experience that has passed through our lives. Voice is begun in our early creative years, then developed, honed and refined as we spend more time with our medium(s) of choice.

I don't believe we can achieve (full) voice immediately. It takes time for learning technique, experimentation with the medium, personal questioning of our process/intent and digesting reflective input from the outer world. The full development of voice comes on at it's own pace, but is certainly achievable by anyone who desires it.

I liken this process to what you hear when listening to a technically sound and glorious voiced well-intended young singer and a vocalist who has been singing the blues for a lot - a-lotta of years. There's miles of difference in the voices and the deliveries. It just takes a certain amount of road time, life experience and self knowledge to achieve the fullness of voice.

If we're lucky, we'll continue to develop our voice to the end of our creative years. When Georgia O'Keefe lost her eyesight, she turned to working in clay and continued to develop her voice right up to the end!

Davidknox
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Mine's emotional/feeling based

Postby Davidknox » Mon Sep 29, 2003 7:01 pm

Thanks so much for writing about this. I only come on this board when I need some technical help because I am so busy and so easily distracted that I am afraid I'll hang out. It is really great to once again have the thoughtful, feeling glass-world community right at my keyboard.

As far as my "thoughtful intention"- I go into the place of either the person I am making the work for or the place where the work is going to be- the environment. I often or usually have never met them but I just talk to them and I just kind of "feel" what they are feeling and get old David out of the way. Sometimes I feel like I am inside their body looking out through their eyes as I work or can smell and feel the air of the environment they are living in. I try not to think at all and thus let it come through me- as others have noted. I started doing this about 10 years ago when I took up clay sculpture and brought it into my blended color drawings as well and now I'm doing it with the glass. In clay, I would wake up in the morning and find the piece I made the day before and not know where it came from but felt this incredibly familiar almost deja-vu feeling. My soul on the table. If i am making it for myself, I clear my mind entirely and make a conscious effort not to think about anything and particularly not judge what my hands are doing. That may not be very thoughtful at all, but it's my unthoughfulness that makes it a joy for me.

Glass is a new medium for me and it is a trip. I sometimes find myself in tears while working- no specific emotion or story attached to it but just something deep passing through. Glass is different because I feel the kiln and the random fluidity of the glass adds yet another dimension to the "passing through me" event- like the hand of God is really tweaking it too.
David.

Gale aka artistefem
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Postby Gale aka artistefem » Mon Sep 29, 2003 7:55 pm

This tweaking phenomenom is called the "Divine Artist", David.

Do a web search - there's lots o'written art history text out there on this form of inspiration. Wonderful source of inspire!

Cynthia

Postby Cynthia » Mon Sep 29, 2003 8:12 pm

Brock wrote:. . .But also be sure you ask someone you know has the skills and ability to provide you with a valid critique to teach you through the process. . .

Who would that be? Brock


Who ever she choses.

Brock
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Postby Brock » Mon Sep 29, 2003 8:15 pm

Who ever she choses.

Wouldn't that be "whom"?
My memory is so good, I can't remember the last time I forgot something . . .

Brock
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Postby Brock » Mon Sep 29, 2003 8:17 pm

But whomever she chooses, we'll hope that they have read the tip sheets.
My memory is so good, I can't remember the last time I forgot something . . .

Jackie Beckman
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Postby Jackie Beckman » Mon Sep 29, 2003 9:01 pm

How does one achieve "voice" (which seems to sound safe to a number of people on this board) without the involvement of research, intent, content, and means of expression?


In my opinion, voice comes from within. It's more to do with who we are, rather than something we acheive. (Not to say that it can't change and evolve over time, however.)

For example, I'll run through a "off the top of my head" list of artists most of us know from this board, and how I see their "voice" show in their art.

Avery . . . sensitive, kind, spiritual

Amy . . . cutting edge

Phil . . . innovative, practical, orderly

Doug . . . imaginative, disciplined

Doc Steve . . . thoughtful, gentle

Brock . . . perfectionist, exacting, a little inflexable (love ya Brock)

Cindy-Next-Door . . . romantic

Bob . . . earthy, organic, subtle

Me . . . vibrant, upbeat, slightly superficial

Catharine . . . Very insightful, observant

I guess I don't really believe one "finds" their voice, as much as I believe one's voice emerges, and is actually something that can't be easily hidden. When I try to do a piece that goes against my internal "voice" I'm never personally satisfied with the end result. Not to say the piece can't be a well done piece of work, but there's no soul in it.

Brock
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Postby Brock » Mon Sep 29, 2003 9:11 pm

Jackie Beckman wrote:
How does one achieve "voice" (which seems to sound safe to a number of people on this board) without the involvement of research, intent, content, and means of expression?


In my opinion, voice comes from within. It's more to do with who we are, rather than something we acheive. (Not to say that it can't change and evolve over time, however.)

For example, I'll run through a "off the top of my head" list of artists most of us know from this board, and how I see their "voice" show in their art.

Avery . . . sensitive, kind, spiritual

Amy . . . cutting edge

Phil . . . innovative, practical, orderly

Doug . . . imaginative, disciplined

Doc Steve . . . thoughtful, gentle

Brock . . . perfectionist, exacting, a little inflexable (love ya Brock)

ahem . . . that would be inflexible. Love ya right back . . .
Cindy-Next-Door . . . romantic

Bob . . . earthy, organic, subtle

Me . . . vibrant, upbeat, slightly superficial

Catharine . . . Very insightful, observant

I guess I don't really believe one "finds" their voice, as much as I believe one's voice emerges, and is actually something that can't be easily hidden. When I try to do a piece that goes against my internal "voice" I'm never personally satisfied with the end result. Not to say the piece can't be a well done piece of work, but there's no soul in it.
My memory is so good, I can't remember the last time I forgot something . . .

Gale aka artistefem
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Postby Gale aka artistefem » Tue Sep 30, 2003 9:23 am

"In my opinion, voice comes from within. It's more to do with who we are, rather than something we acheive. (Not to say that it can't change and evolve over time, however.)"

Jackie......I completely agree with you on" the voice from within" part and that it can (and hopefully will) evolve over time. With some artists this evolution is a natural process that comes as they grow and mature as artists.

I also know fine & competant artists who have never "found" their voice. Partly because they don't understand what "a voice" is or how to go about developing this part of their artistic self.

It's helpful for aspiring artists to know that a voice can be developed (or achieved) and that it is not some unobtainable magic cloak that falls from the tree for some and not for others!

For these artists who haven't yet discovered their voice, there are methods and exercises to assist in "voice" development. There should be as much attention paid to this area of artistic development/achievement as one would give to the understanding of physical technique.

Bob L. said it well: It takes several ingredients to make a successful artist and finding your voice, if it is absent, is a part of this success.

After all, these words we choose to describe are only words; find, achieve, develop......... all interchangable.

Bob
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Postby Bob » Tue Sep 30, 2003 10:19 am

Bob . . . earthy, organic, subtle



Darn Jackie, I was trying for outrageous and sexy. You make me sound like a gardener. If I really want my voice to be heard I guess I had better shout. No more mumbling (heh heh).

Cheers,

Bob

Catharine Newell
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So, then, what about artist statements?

Postby Catharine Newell » Tue Sep 30, 2003 10:30 am

This has been an incredibly personal discussion. Everyone who has posted here has generously shared a thoughtful, intelligent, passionate part of themselves. This has been an extraordinary gift. Thank you.

So, my next question logically involves artists statements. Do you have one? Does it get to the heart of your intent? Does it have clarity? Would you be willing to share? Are you interested in reading other statements from those of us on the board? Do you think that this is an appropriate forum for statement review?

I'll throw mine into the ring first and see what comes up...


"Diversity of thought and action is essential to our growth as human beings, yet entire segments of the world's population are quite often eliminated from an individual's psyche to provide a false sense of security through insulation and isolation. To some degree, mental, physical and visual spaces are created by each one of us for assumed personal protection. This ability to separate oneself from, as well as to pass judgment on, the unknown says something interesting about the human condition.

We are a mystery even to ourselves. How can we possibly propose to describe someone else's identity, to define their life? I dispute the notion that people 'are' a certain way, that they should be subject to stereotype. Human being possess a nature independent of how, from where, and by which light we as individuals choose to view them.

Layers upon layers of glass powder application seems a natural choice to illustrate the complexity of the individual. Throughout this kilnforming process, glass lends itself to continual transformation and miracles of happenstance - a nice metaphor for human nature.

Approaches to this work vary, but the content is the same: attitudes fragmented for inspection, proximity questioned, relationships examined, invisibility denied, differences respected. This work is simply another look at humanity."



Input is welcomed... Next?

Catharine

Gale aka artistefem
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Postby Gale aka artistefem » Tue Sep 30, 2003 10:57 am

Catherine.......Jackie's 3 word description of you seems very accurate.

Thank you for the gift of yourself.

Jackie Beckman
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Postby Jackie Beckman » Tue Sep 30, 2003 11:17 am

Bob wrote:Bob . . . earthy, organic, subtle



Darn Jackie, I was trying for outrageous and sexy. You make me sound like a gardener. If I really want my voice to be heard I guess I had better shout. No more mumbling (heh heh).

Cheers,

Bob


Well Bob, sexy and outrageous would have been my next choice for you. It's such a joy to have met you because you also happen to be very funny - funny in an intelligent, subtle way. Your work is stunning and gorgeous (ok, ok, sexy-n-outrageous) so don't shout - you don't need to. :)

Glenda Kronke
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Postby Glenda Kronke » Tue Sep 30, 2003 11:43 am

"For these artists who haven't yet discovered their voice, there are methods and exercises to assist in "voice" development. There should be as much attention paid to this area of artistic development/achievement as one would give to the understanding of physical technique".


Hi all,

How would one go about finding these methods and exercises? As someone who has years and years of technical knowledge in working with glass, I find myself knowing HOW to make (technically) just about anything (or at least knowing how to go about figuring out how to do it) but, I am not able to focus in on that 'voice' that would make these things 'mine' (too many years doing production work). I am one that does not know how to develope that voice. I want to know how to go about finding those methods and exercises that will lead me to that voice.

When Cindy-next-door visited a while back I showed her several of my 'expirements' (none of which looked liked the others)....I am constantly expirementing with techniques but never seem to develope them into completed projects. She quizzed me about what it was I was most interested in about these pieces. Texture and shading was the response. She suggested I focus in on those aspects. And that has been great advice. I now have a studio FULL of these expirements. They all look so different. They represent dozens and dozens of successful techniques, each so different from the others. But I still haven't been able to take it to the next level. I am having a hard time taking this technical knowledge and turning out pieces that I feel 'have my voice'. The completed projects are just not there! Sure, I can make a bowl, platter, light fixure, panel, sink, etc. and they are nice and pleasing but I don't feel 'emotional' about them. They are just bowls. What I think I want is for the bowl (or whatever) to 'mean something'. To have my voice.

I want to know the methods and exercises that would help me to develop my voice. I want to find those exercises that would help me focus in on one technique or style (or do I?). On the other hand, I don't want to limit myself to one 'look'. I don't know what I want my art to say exactly. I am searching for something but don't know what that something is. I have a need to create. To me it used to be as simple as that. But now I think I need to express myself as an individual.

Sorry, for asking questions instead of answering them!

g-

Catharine Newell
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Postby Catharine Newell » Tue Sep 30, 2003 12:09 pm

Glenda Kronke wrote:"For these artists who haven't yet discovered their voice, there are methods and exercises to assist in "voice" development. There should be as much attention paid to this area of artistic development/achievement as one would give to the understanding of physical technique".


Hi all,

How would one go about finding these methods and exercises? As someone who has years and years of technical knowledge in working with glass, I find myself knowing HOW to make (technically) just about anything (or at least knowing how to go about figuring out how to do it) but, I am not able to focus in on that 'voice' that would make these things 'mine' (too many years doing production work). I am one that does not know how to develope that voice. I want to know how to go about finding those methods and exercises that will lead me to that voice.

When Cindy-next-door visited a while back I showed her several of my 'expirements' (none of which looked liked the others)....I am constantly expirementing with techniques but never seem to develope them into completed projects. She quizzed me about what it was I was most interested in about these pieces. Texture and shading was the response. She suggested I focus in on those aspects. And that has been great advice. I now have a studio FULL of these expirements. They all look so different. They represent dozens and dozens of successful techniques, each so different from the others. But I still haven't been able to take it to the next level. I am having a hard time taking this technical knowledge and turning out pieces that I feel 'have my voice'. The completed projects are just not there! Sure, I can make a bowl, platter, light fixure, panel, sink, etc. and they are nice and pleasing but I don't feel 'emotional' about them. They are just bowls. What I think I want is for the bowl (or whatever) to 'mean something'. To have my voice.

I want to know the methods and exercises that would help me to develop my voice. I want to find those exercises that would help me focus in on one technique or style (or do I?). On the other hand, I don't want to limit myself to one 'look'. I don't know what I want my art to say exactly. I am searching for something but don't know what that something is. I have a need to create. To me it used to be as simple as that. But now I think I need to express myself as an individual.

Sorry, for asking questions instead of answering them!

g-




I would be inclined to ask you what it is about texture and shading that interests you? Why? What do these artistic qualities evoke in you? Remind you of? Where do you look for these things in your life? What are the subtleties of texture and shading that draw you in?

You have identified your field of interest. Dig deeper to find your reason why. That all-important question... It's the springboard to everything.

My best to you,
Catharine

Tony Smith
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Postby Tony Smith » Tue Sep 30, 2003 12:16 pm

Catharine Newell wrote:You have identified your field of interest. Dig deeper to find your reason why. That all-important question... It's the springboard to everything.

My best to you,
Catharine


Catharine,

Can I ask why we have to dig deeper? Isn't realizing our attraction to certain textures, shapes, or colors sufficient?

Tony
The tightrope between being strange and being creative is too narrow to walk without occasionally landing on both sides..." Scott Berkun

Amy on Salt Spring
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Postby Amy on Salt Spring » Tue Sep 30, 2003 12:17 pm

Bob wrote:Bob . . . earthy, organic, subtle



Darn Jackie, I was trying for outrageous and sexy. You make me sound like a gardener. If I really want my voice to be heard I guess I had better shout. No more mumbling (heh heh).

Cheers,

Bob


At least you got mentioned! I want to say that your work has a kind of primitive quality but that would imply to someone that hadn't seen it that it was rough or simple when it totally isn't. But it does have this sort of feeling of something tribal that was made hundreds of years ago to me. Pieces an archeologist might find buried in a temple ruin or something...especially the shields and the nested bowls. Just my opinion...oh yeah and its so sexy!
The other Amy

Catharine Newell
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Postby Catharine Newell » Tue Sep 30, 2003 12:48 pm

Tony Smith wrote:
Catharine Newell wrote:You have identified your field of interest. Dig deeper to find your reason why. That all-important question... It's the springboard to everything.

My best to you,
Catharine


Catharine,

Can I ask why we have to dig deeper? Isn't realizing our attraction to certain textures, shapes, or colors sufficient?

Tony



Tony,

Perhaps, for a good number of people, it would be. Apparently, for Glenda, it isn't sufficient at all. Sounds to me like she's looking for something more meaningful than recognizing her attraction to texture and shading. She'll find it.

No one is saying that you have to look deeper. It is, after all, completely up to you.

Catharine

Pat Watkins
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thoughtful work

Postby Pat Watkins » Tue Sep 30, 2003 1:08 pm

This is what makes sense to me...Walt Whitman, "Leaves of Grass"

"Loafe with me on the grass, loose the stop from your throat,
Not words, not music or rhyme I want, not custom or lecture, not
even the best,
Only the lull I like, the hum of your valved voice."

We don't exercise the thought, it happens...sometimes a surprise or maybe always a suprise.

On technique, again Whitman,

"I am the teacher of athletes,
He that by me spreads a wider breast than my own proves the
width of my own,
He most honors my style who learns under it to destroy the teacher."

I've said too much already.



[/i]

Gale aka artistefem
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Postby Gale aka artistefem » Tue Sep 30, 2003 1:09 pm

Glenda...... a hands on exercise:

Choose from your work one piece that you feel strongly about. Take this piece and develop a series of works from it. When you work in series, you take the strongest visual/emotional elements and work them out in differing combinations. Taking care to keep some thread of close visual similarity running throughout the entire series.

This similarity can take the form of the shape and size of each piece and/or the use of the same colors, textures. Use the same glass working techniques on each piece of the series.

If you draw, you may want to begin this exercise by sketching out all the differing/same combinations that you can envision. Then pick out from these sketches the strongest works and make them up in the glass.

Do this exercise with a few more of your favorite pieces from your collection. Then go back and find the visual similarities you have cross-repeated in each series. This can help you to begin to develop and "see" your voice.

Another method is to visually develop, through series, a conversation about a topic you are interested in communicating. Do this by, once again, using a recognizable thread of same context/visual similarity.

The imagery can be as simple as the unfolding of one flower blossom from bud to full-blown bloom. You find ways to repeat your basic format, which can be color, form, shape. The more you work in this manner, the more evident your voice should become to you.

It's take some discipline to work in series and this exercise is only a beginning tool for recognizing and developing voice.


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