xanthous xyris

I have not made the words in the title up, i promise. They definitely exist and sort of summarise the post too! Feel free to do your own word search, and find out more, if you want to double check my statement.

I want to do a post about my actual ART work. When i say art work, i mean for example: painting, drawing, collage, mixed media and other similar types of art work that i tend to make. In this post, i want to talk about what art is to me, art that is not crochet (or sewing). A question is coming to my mind about why i call this type of creativity art and crochet or sewing is not included in this definition, but that is a question for a different time…

Let’s distinguish it this way for now: my two dimensional art work which usually involves paper or at least a 2d base, and my three dimensional textile (flowy) art work like crochet and sewing.

There, now we are clear on that, let’s continue. Tangent over.

I have been thinking and considering and reconsidering my art processes (as related to the more traditionally considered art expressions mentioned above) after i have been presented with this question recently:

What is your the use of imagery in your art making?

Well, where shall i start?

With a quote:

Be Here Now.

Unknown

My two dimensional art making is mostly a mindfulness based process. That is how i tend to generally understand it when i reflect on my involvement in art making this way. Usually, i don’t go too deeply into the meaning of images or the things that i make, i concentrate more on the process, on the technique, on the resources available, and use these factors to guide me.

Am i scared to look too deeply? Very possibly. Am i ready to try to understand and maybe explore different ways of art making? Definitely! So, let’s see where this exploratory post takes us…

I have been mulling this over since the start of the year 2021, when the question was presented to me. There are two parts to my 2d art making, at the least. There is art i make for me, private and personal, and there is also art i make with others when i run workshops, to share the healing properties art has.

But, there is more

These branches split further into different moods that prompt me to reach our for a pencil or a paintbrush (gel pen, actually), and the different moods and different colour combinations and feelings are processed through engagement with each medium. To keep from getting myself too tangled up in concepts and attempts at understanding, i will, for now, keep two distinct categories and look at them together and separately: personal art making and workshops.

They overlap a little anyway: when i make with others, i have recently started concentrating on making images for me too. What i mean is, i use the time i have when i run workshops to make art that i want to keep. In the past, i would only do this as a participant, not as a facilitator. There comes a boundary with this, of course…

To share or not to share

As a participant, i feel there is greater freedom for me to go deeper. To explore feelings safely. I have an opportunity to be vulnerable.

In contrast, when i am the workshop leader, the responsibility is somewhere else. I have others to explain the activity to, to help if/ when they need help, and to oversee the general group dynamics in case an intervention is needed.

As a result, when i facilitate workshops, as well as make images, i do make images that i want to keep, but they are not ones i would perhaps make if there was no one else around to be responsible for. Or if i was making images aided by another professional.

When i make art for me, i do not need an audience. Before i started pondering and reflecting on how i use imagery in my art making, i was happy to dispose of each image after finishing it.

To keep or not to keep

They do this with sand mandalas, apparently. Someone once told me: when the Buddhist monks complete a mandala out of sand, they clear the sand off the surface by rubbing it all together, making all the colours blend together. It is a comment on the transient nature of life.

I really like that.

Only by doing, not thinking, you are going to figure certain things out.  This is where my process of creative making is important for my process of thinking and decision making. And this is the function that crochet and more recently sewing almost definitely provides me with. So why do i sometimes choose painting and other times crochet?

I am actually not sure i want to know the answer to that question yet. It is not what today is about.

How do i use imagery?

To colour or not to colour

I use a lot of bright rainbow colours. Colours I like to look at! I love bright uplifting colours, and those are the colours i use when i am creating art. I love to find a different way of doing stuff, to divert from the brief, ever so slightly, to make something that is unexpected, or not the thing that i think i am expected to make. This again is something present through ALL my creative practice. Crochet and all.

Do i process thoughts metaphorically through the actual images, though?

Some, maybe. There is a lot of feeling always, in my work. Expressing my feelings in a repetitive motion using a tactile technique is definitely a staple of ALL my work. It is transient, like the emotions it contains and which it helps me process. My work is embodied, and it is the flow i look for, also. Losing time in creativity, where i am happiest.

To dig or not to dig

When i look at my work afterwards, it usually reminds me of the feeling, the emotion i captured in the image. More recently, and maybe as a result of this above pondering i have made some pieces which do carry some meaning. I have made a family portrait, and a wheel of goddesses who represent different parts of the female menstrual cycle.

Usually, i would keep the images i like to look at, or those that remind me of the feeling. I am keeping the above, so maybe one day i can talk about what they mean to me.

And, in an interesting way, this deeper thinking brought intentionality to my work, and purpose, which was not there before.

Unexpected realisation:

My art making and all that comes with it has changed since i started considering the above question and reflecting on this. I have shifted the focus a little, and have had some very different ideas on how i want to express my mind and feelings through art.

Two dimensional art pieces i make are separate from my crochet, more private in a way. I have a whole different Instagram account for my non crochet artwork, which you can find HERE, if you would like to take a peek.

My two dimensional art work is non-directive both when i make for me, and when i make with others, and my own image making is also non-figurative. Abstract images, from my experience, can be easier to engage with, lines, shapes and such like. Most people worry about not being able to draw, so this way they are able to engage without all the extra pressure of performing the task to someone else’s standards.

Featured artist:

A beautifully minded Clare Campbell and their project BIG LOVE SISTA have always been an inspiration for me. I met Clare when i attended one of her workshops a while ago. My plans are to attend a lot more.

Thank You for reading!

How about YOU? What does your imagery say to/ about You?

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