Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The journey from pen to kiln

I have been filling up pages in my sketchbook like a squirrel on speed lately.  I am growing ideas for my next body of work through a three-phased process I will describe as:

phase 1: stream-of-consciousness illustration
  I indulge in whatever imagery flows from pen to page.  Like seeing imagery in the clouds, I have several strategies to generate images. Characters or patterns might evolve from scribbles.  Often, these drawings will be incomplete.  Occasionally I will force myself to finish the sentence in order to see how the character or pattern can be resolved on the page.

Phase 1 images

phase 2:  research
   Through responding to my phase 1 drawings, I find connections between the drawings.  Using the dictionary or thesaurus, books, internet (wikipedia, blogs, vimeo, netflix), and even real life experiences (what??!), I focus in on one or two themes that tie the drawings together.  Usually the soil of my brain is very fertile in this phase and lots of ideas sprout.

phase 3: sketchbook to clay
   I revisit the sketchbook and draw more detailed illustrations, incorporating the characters I developed in phase 1 into narratives or scenarios that evolved during phase 2.  I usually come up with a few ideas that seem like they would transfer nicely into specific ceramic forms.

I do have to mention that the phases to not always follow such a strict linear progression.  I usually bounce somewhat between the phases.  Often, I will try out some drawings on cups before I know exactly what my narrative is.  I never thought I would be so strategic with my art-making!  (Thank you graduate school).  I am pretty comfortable with the process at this point in my creative life as it keeps my mind and my pen very busy.  

What processes do you use in your artistic practice?

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