Category Archives: Words

Fear: An integral component of my creative process

I spent some time yesterday working on a list of ideas for blog posts. I outlined a blog post and began to flesh it out, with the intention of polishing it and then posting it today, but that’s not going to happen, not today anyway.

Yesterday evening, I began the painting stage for one of my dolls. Well, they aren’t really ‘dolls’ in the traditional sense anymore. Yes, they can be ‘played with’, but they have morphed into something else, more sculptural, more abstract…I’m still trying to figure it out for myself at this point. I still personally call them dolls though. The painting stage for my most recent collection of dolls is started after the gesso and sanding is completed. I had decided some time ago, that I wanted to explore using painted paper, and then adhering it to the surfaces of the doll. I wasn’t sure if this was going to be more Eric Carle or more hanging wallpaper.

I’m not sure how I actually pictured the paper looking, but this was not it.

I was confident in my ability to create the painted paper. I was drawing on an art lesson taught to me by a fellow art teacher while I was working within a larger public schools art program. In a nutshell, you use acrylic paint and paint it onto newsprint. It creates lovely paper that can be cut or torn and used for collage work. I decided to use pages from a book. I used glue stick to attach several pages together, creating a large sheet (35  x25 cm, give or take) that I could paint on. Much like the art lesson, I stuck to colour groupings like tints, shades, warm, cool and analogous. I chose blues for the background (base) layer of colour, and then will create collage work over the top of it. I can work back into the painted paper with coloured pencil and with additional paint. When completed, I will cover it with a semi-gloss sealant. That’s the plan.

While working last night, I began thinking, “Oh man. I’ve got a bad feeling about this…” after I glued down the first, and essentially easiest part of the paper to the main doll torso back. It thought it looked horrible. The book paper was getting soft and mushy. I had to be so careful as I attempted to burnish or even press the painted paper down to the relatively flat surface. I chose to use a straight-up PVA glue for adhering the paper to the gessoed surface of the doll, because I had used the exact same glue to make the gesso. Somehow I thought that they would adhere to one another better.

I’m kind of feeling ‘meh’ about how this looks. I keep reminding myself that this is the background for a collage and that there is more to be added to it.

I struggled to get the paper to do what I wanted it to do. By the time I was beginning the wheel-houses for the hip joints, I was so frustrated, I thought about peeling off all the paper and sanding it smooth, and starting over with paint just painted on the gessoed surface. I thought about letting it dry and then sanding off the painted paper. I thought that I could just create a whole new abdominal section for the doll. I was really pissed at myself. I should have known that the book pages were too thick and spongy to work with, especially with paint and glue. The paper seams show; great big, stark white lines running through the paper where I cut it. The curved wheel-houses looked like…merde.

Was I drinking last night? Did I suddenly forget how to use glue and paper? The wrinkles! Oh, dear, sweet, merciful gods!

I wasn’t just soaking in fear, I was drowning in it.

Wow. You can hardly tell I just took a two day photography seminar. This looks like I had my eyes closed when I was gluing and cutting the paper and taking the photo.

Evidently, I forgot how to use scissors and X-Acto’s correctly last night. I’m sure a little paint will fix this right up!

I went to bed thinking that I had just totally screwed-up several weeks worth of work and that I’d just have to chuck this piece in the bin and start over again with a completely new doll.

I actually found myself thinking, “What will people think of this totally bunged-up piece of crap that I have created?” It was at that point I had to stop and take a critical look at my thought process as well as the now dried artwork sitting on my desk, because fear was getting the better part of all of my attention, and it didn’t deserve it.

Okay, let’s look at the physical process of creating the paper and then adhering it to the surface of the doll. Yep. It looks a bit chunky and busted, however, it didn’t dry as wibbly as I had feared. Those white edges! GAH! They are mocking me! Mocking. Me. Well…I do have more paint…and coloured pencils…so I thinking I can at least minimize their appearance. The wheel-houses…oh man…they are just crunchy…sloppy…the curves look like…MERDE! GAH! Can some paint help? Yes. Maybe some careful sanding? Perhaps. Okay, let’s look at the helmet portion that I also got paper glued to. It’s…okay…better than the torso section, but there are some seriously boogered sections where I had to attempt some surgery with an X-Acto knife and it looks like crud. The paper rumpled. Can paint minimize it? I think so.

Will these solutions all work? Maybe? I’m sure that some will work better than others and that while I’m attempting to fix all of the things that I view as problems or mistakes, I will add to my personal creative efficacy in the process.

Fear is weird. It can propel you in a myriad of directions, sometimes all at once. You can stop completely. You can plow through it. You can get stuck in it. You can cut loose things that aren’t working, and move on without them. Or, you can spend inordinate amounts of time trying to make something work that will never work. I suppose that the most important take aways fear as a lesson can teach me, is I need to adequately process it and most important, learn from it. Fear of making mistakes, of screwing things up shouldn’t be a reason for never making an attempt in the first place. This has been a very hard lesson for me to learn, and not just when it’s attached to my own artistic creation. I don’t think fear should ever necessarily disappear completely either. At this point in my life, I think I’m just going to have to look at it the same way I do my clinical depression; fear is something that is always going to be there, something that I will have to do battle with, in varying degrees, and in multiple places, for the rest of my life. That’s just life.

Now, back to work.

Wading Back Into the Pond

It’s been quite a long time since I have made any kind of post on this website, and it’s long, long overdue. So much has happened in my life since I was last active on my blog, so much in fact that I don’t think I want to write a huge long series of posts detailing the events of the past few years. I think that the image above kind of addresses some of what’s been going on in my life, and where I’m pointing my life.

I’m still in the process of planning what I want this blog to be. I do know that my artwork and my teaching will be big parts of it. I’d actually been hemming and hawing for the better part of a year about getting back to writing for the website, but I hesitated at every turn, thinking that I needed to have some all-powerful, all-knowing “Plan” for what I wanted to do, and if I couldn’t come out of the gate with something all-new, super-duper and ultra-fabulous, then it somehow wouldn’t be worth starting to work on a blog or building my website. The problem with this kind of thinking is that it implies that I only would be writing and posting for an unseen and unknown audience of people I didn’t know, and somehow felt the need to impress, aaaand that’s not who I am.

During the past year or so, I’ve had a little snippet of a David Bowie interview in the back of my head on repeat.

Never play to the gallery. (laughter) I think…that you never learn that until much later on I think. But never work for other people in what you do…always…always remember the reason that you initially started working was that there was something inside yourself that you felt that if you could manifest it in some way, you would understand more about yourself and how you coexist with the rest of society. And I…I think it’s terribly dangerous for an artist to fulfill other peoples expectations. (Shaking his head slightly) I think they produce, they generally produce their worst work when they do that. And if…the other thing I would say is that if you feel safe in the area you’re working in, you’re not working in the right area. Always go a little further into the water than you feel your capable of being in. Go a little bit out of your depth and when you don’t feel that your feet are quite touching the bottom, you’re just about in the right place to do something exciting.

In the end, the blog, the website, my artwork, they are all things that I do because there is something that I want to make real, so that others can see it, read it or hear it. Yes. I am putting all of this out there in the world for others, but I need to do it first and foremost for myself, so that it is as true a representation of me as possible. Others expectations of what create, well…those should not influence me and what I choose to create.

My plan right now is that I write at least one post per week. I may post more though. I don’t know how exciting it will be, but I’m fairly sure it will be weird.

Comparing the US and Finland [Proof of Life 3×34]

In this episode, Katie and Berin talk about little differences between the United States and Finland. They discuss food, coffee, dining out, tipping culture, and more. Hopefully, Finns will appreciate how great they have it, and Americans will understand that there are other (sometimes better) ways to do things.

Special Thanks

  • Pertti Ankkuri
  • Petri Nurmi
  • Gary Weller

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https://www.patreon.com/proofoflife

Berin’s Blog

https://berinkinsman.com

Katie’s Instagram

https://www.instagram.com/katie_kinsman_in_finland/

Proof of Life Episode 3.21 Pop Culture

In this episode, Katie and Berin talk about The Venture Bros., Mystery Science Theater 3000, and the cultural context required to understand referential humor. They discuss generational differences in cultural context, and how it can hinder communication.
Official MST3K YouTube Channel
Official The Venture Bros Marathon Stream

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  • Pertti Ankkuri
  • Petri Nurmi
  • Gary Weller

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Websites & Social Media

Katie’s Instagramhttps://www.instagram.com/katie_kinsman_in_finland/

Berin’s Twitterhttps://twitter.com/BerinKinsman

Music Credits

Opening Sting: Mature Sounds by Jingle Punks

Closing Tag: Cartoon Bank Heist by Doug Maxwell/Media Right Productions

Proof of Life Episode 3.20: Happy Easter

In this episode, Katie and Berin talk about Easter. They discuss surprise eggs, mämmi, and having to work on holidays. Berin also discussed being burned out, and how hard it is for a workaholic to take a 4-day weekend.

Special Thanks

  • Pertti Ankkuri
  • Petri Nurmi
  • Gary Weller

Support Our Patreon

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Katie’s Instagramhttps://www.instagram.com/katie_kinsman_in_finland/

Berin’s Twitterhttps://twitter.com/BerinKinsman

Music Credits

Opening Sting: Mature Sounds by Jingle Punks

Closing Tag: Cartoon Bank Heist by Doug Maxwell/Media Right Productions

Proof of Life Episode 3.15 Creative Play

In this episode, Katie and Berin talk about the need for adults to engage in creative play. They also discuss how having hobbies, toys, and other activities is essential for creativity, productivity, and mental health.

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  • Pertti Ankkuri
    Petri Nurmi
    Gary Weller

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Music Credits

Opening Sting: Mature Sounds by Jingle Punks
Closing Tag: Cartoon Bank Heist by Doug Maxwell/Media Right Productions

Proof of Life Episode 3.11

In this episode, Katie and Berin talk about creatives who publicly feud with other creatives, and what those sorts of ad hominem attacks say about the culture and the state of critical thinking in the zeitgeist. They also discuss a hypothetical venn diagram where circles labeled “icy weather” and “old injuries” overlap in a section marked “getting old”.

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  • Pertti Ankkuri
    Petri Nurmi
    Gary Weller

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Be sure to check out our Patreon, where you can download the MP3 of this episode, participate in community discussions, and access bonus content!

Websites & Social Media

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Berin’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/BerinKinsman

Music Credits

Opening Sting: Mature Sounds by Jingle Punks
Closing Tag: Cartoon Bank Heist by Doug Maxwell/Media Right Productions

Filing Fetish – Proof of Life Podcast for 1 October 2017

In this episode, Katie & Berin make is clear why she’s an academic and he’s a project manager. Discussion dances around organizing data, providing context for information, and orderly workflows.

Thoughts on my own Creativity as it pertains to Doll Making

I  created a post today for Instagram that had pictures of the the two latest dolls that I had created in it. I just have the basic dolls done, nothing more than the faces are decorated, but the limbs are all attached and they are both awaiting some kind of clothing that as yet, I have not put together. These latest dolls, all three being based on my 20 cm doll basic body pattern, are a departure from how I spent the majority of the summer working. I created Fey Creatures most of the summer. Lots of different kinds. Most having more legs or arms and more complicated bodies and construction than my basic 20 cm doll. I sat down and pieced the three separate dolls (one peach, one pink and one violet) because I knew that I would be giving one of them to a friend for her birthday, but wanted to make sure that I had a choice in finished dolls, so that I could make what I would consider the correct decision; the right doll for the right person at the right time. (Dubravka loved the doll that I made for her, so I think I made the correct decision.)
Last night, I was finishing the violet doll. Once they are pieced, and the main portions of the face (nose, eyes, cheeks and mouth) are appliquéd down, sewing the doll together takes only a couple hours. The embroidery on the face takes another couple of hours. All in all, at this point, with the amount of practise I have with my own patterns, I can get a doll finished in one day, with the clothing taking another half day, if it’s nothing too extravagant. Dubravka’s doll took two and a half days start to finish, and there was still glue drying when I gave it to her!
I sat and chose the colours of thread that I wanted to use for the embroidery of the violet dolls face. As usual, it went fairly quickly. I know enough about colour to know what is going to work, what is going to pop the way that I want it to, so it’s simply a matter of deciding on which colour will be used for what particular portion of the embroidery. Working on violet and lavender felt means I needed to use a contrasting colour, a colour complement. So, yellow flowers it is! I knew I wanted to use a lazy daisy stitch, so the type of flower is chosen (I’ve been doing a lot of floral motifs in the past few months). I decided that instead of half a flower on the cheeks, I wanted to stitch a whole flower, one that matched the nose portion of the doll. The space on both is small (2.5 cm and under for cheeks and nose) so I couldn’t get too ornate with the stitch work. Lazy daisy, back stitch, French knots, stem stitch. Nothing too fancy. I worked with a No. 5 needle and a No. 7 needle. Most of the time, my embroidery thread is reduced, and I use only two or three strands. The spaces where I am placing the embroidery are too small to use anything larger. I start with the largest parts of the motif, in this case, the yellow daisies. I sew them in, then start adding the rest of the elements, the stems, the vines, the leaves, other small flowers, etc. It kind of reminds me of creating a woodcut, or doing a method for a woodcut called a ‘suicide print’. Work biggest to smallest, once something is down, or stitched, it’s there, learn to deal with it if it doesn’t look spectacular. The only time that personal rule doesn’t apply is when it comes to French knots. I want those little buggers to be as uniform as possible, and if they aren’t, I stop and make corrections on the spot, and if that means snipping and picking, then that’s what I do, along with some grumbling.
In recent years, I have come to rely on the patterns I design and create for my dolls, yet, when it comes to the embroidery work, I am much so more ‘flight by night’ in my approach. I can see what I want it to look like in my mind, then I just start stitching. If things go horribly awry, I will stop and snip out stitches that I don’t like because I feel the colour is wrong or the stitch quality is sloppy. It bothers me when a wonky stitch doesn’t make itself known to me until I am way past the point of no return, and have no way to fix it. At present, one appliqué stitch on the violet dolls mouth is driving me nuts, because it is slightly larger than the other stitches. I know. I will have to learn to deal with it. It’s permanent.
I’ve started wondering why I don’t do what I see a lot of embroiderers do, which is use a pen on some kind of mark making devise to draw the pattern out onto the fabric first, then start stitching. I honestly do not have any kind of answer for that. I suppose I could blame it on the fact that I use wool blend and a acrylic blend felts to make my dolls, and sometimes it’s difficult to draw on them and sometimes the disappearing ink pens don’t disappear to the extent that I would prefer. I also find the way that these pens bleed on the fabric before they dry to be visually distracting, making it hard for me to judge distances and colour choices. Or, could I just be lazy? I think that at this point in my creative journey, I have enough experience under my belt that I’m not so scared to just dive right in with regards to the embroidered portions of my dolls. There are still stitches that I am trying to learn, but I just don’t feel like I know how to execute them at the level in which I feel comfortable using them on my dolls yet. The notion that I have enough experience to do some things well, but still lack experience to do many things well, and thus leave them out of my work until I can in fact, do them well, is kind of punch in the self confidence and a kick in the self efficacy for me as an artist. An outsider sees my work and likes it for what it is, while I see all the things that went wrong and I had to fix on the fly. All the stitches that I still haven’t mastered, but really want to use in my artwork. They don’t see the time spent sketching out the idea, creating the pattern, choosing the fabrics, colours, stitches. I think it was Duchamp who said something about how artwork isn’t finished until it is viewed by someone other than the creator, and I think this applies here, but in a different sort of way. An outsider sees the final product and gives it meaning through their interpretation of it, made possible by their own unique experiences. What they are not privy to is the journey that the artist has undertaken that results in the final finished piece of artwork. For any artist who creates a large body of work, a finished piece is just one stop along the journey, with each consecutive stop getting the artist closer to the idea that they are chasing.
I must pause and address my use of the word ‘idea’, and it’s use in describing what an artist might be pursuing through the creation of art. Every artist has something that they are chasing after, or perhaps something that instead is chasing after them, some means of motivation that propels them forward and compels them to create. For each artist, it’s different. Some have individual demons to slay, while others see endless internal vistas that they want to interpret and share with others. Some are motivated by a need to know, or experience, and some simply want to make aesthetically beautiful objects. Still others have a wish to build and create for those who come after them, and enlist others to aid them in the execution of their vision, while some artist work for years, and never show a soul what they have made. My use of the word idea is meant to encapsulate all of these types of motivations an artist might have and more.
One of the strangest experiences I’ve had of late was while looking through some of the dolls I’d made over this recent summer. I was looking for a particular doll that I had created. I wanted to look at what I thought were some rather nice floral motifs mixed with some abstract designs that I had created for a few dolls that just happened to look somewhat similar to some circular Nordic runes I had come across in some research. I found it interesting that my own semi abstract circular designs just happened to resemble existing runes and I wondered if they had been floating around in my subconscious while I had been stitching the designs down — or — perhaps a more practical answer to this might have been, there are only so many ways in which you can create a circular design using the chain stitch and the back stitch, so my mathematical chances of stitching something looking vaguely runic were fairly high. Anyway, as I stopped and looked at each of the dolls, I had this weird sensation of “When did I do that? I didn’t do that. No way. Seriously, I don’t remember doing that.” when I looked at each completed dolls face. There was almost this kind of existential disbelief that I had in fact created these dolls and done the embroidery work on them. I wonder if that has anything to do with the flow state that I get into when I am working on a doll. Time doesn’t mean a whole lot. I just work until it’s done to a point where I am comfortable stopping for the night. Sometimes the journey doesn’t make regularly timed stops.
I think that may have something to do with the fact that with some of my dolls, I’m working with a humanoid form, and I instinctively grant the doll a soul. I just do. I didn’t realise I did that until I had the recent pink doll all together and was looking at it. I was no longer working on her body and face, she was together and sitting in front of me. She was made real in an instant. Not just bits of thread and felt and stuffing, but real and whole, and in my mind, that means she was given some manner of soul or spirit to go along with that. Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t think she gets up and walks around when I’m not looking. I don’t think she speaks. The kind of soul that I am talking about is more along the lines of a soul of creation kind of thing. Perhaps it is more of an ushabti kind of thing, in that she is, in some way, a small version of me and in being created by me, is part of me, and if I have a soul then she must have some manner of soul, or at least be part of some creative life force that I have been able to latch onto in the act of creating her from bits of threat and felt and stuffing.
This reminds me of something that was said to me a number of years ago by my mother. I have written about a few times before, and it amazes me how differently I internalise it at any given time. Some days I’m amused by it and other days it cuts me so ferociously deep and painfully.“Katie doesn’t make friends, she makes friends!” This was in reference to my doll making. Somehow I am, apparently, in her eyes, bad at making real flesh and blood friends with which to have a real emotional connection with, so I choose to create hollow little puppety dolly friends that I can control instead to keep me from being lonely. So I can say that I have friends. Ha. Ha. As I stated, on any given day, I can think about this statement in different ways. Today, the pink and violet dolls aren’t my friends, I didn’t make them to be my friends, they are instead an extension of myself through the act of creativity. The soul that I keep thinking that I feel when I look at them is merely a reflection of my own soul I see looking back at me.

Practice

Am I only as good as my last creative endeavour?

I’ve never quite understood what people mean when they tell me that I have “too much time on my hands”. Part of me sarcastically thinks, “Hey, we all get the same amount of time each day. We all get twenty-four hours.” I suppose part of my confusion is that I never seem to have enough time to do the things that I want to do creatively. At present, I feel as though I have a lot of creative irons in the fire and sometimes have difficulty creating a balance between them all. This leads me to feel as though I don’t have enough time to give to each of my current creative endeavours. Balance is a topic of discussion for another time though.

These ladies have been very patiently waiting for me to finish their heads and put them on their bodies.

I’ve been making dolls for almost thirty-five years in some way or another. At differing points along my creative path, I’ve viewed them as successful, and then alternately rubbish. Here lies the importance of practice. What I created as a child, was childish…amateurish, dare I say, folksy? With each successive doll, I learned something new about how the materials worked, or a new technique to use. My fine motor skills became more honed; muscle memory took root. I observe, learn and explore materials and techniques that are different from the ones that I currently use. I try them out. I keep the ones that work for me and adapt others to better fit my creative needs. This is a never ending procession. Observe. Practice. Observe. Critique. Practice. Repeat. This is what all artists do in pursuit of their own individual creative vision. Dancers, writers, painters, photographers, musicians, clothing designers, architects, illustrators, woodworkers, graphic designers; every single creative field does this.

I wonder what she would be thinking if she could think?

When I was teaching elementary art, it left me unsettled that some young children think that to be good at something, like visual art, you must be born with some magical innate talent for it. It’s some rare and precious je nails se quois that they can never learn or develop over time. I would ask these students, “How do you get better at making a basket in basketball?” They would answer, “Practice.” and then sometimes go on to describe how long they spent shooting baskets the weekend before, or playing basketball with a friend or sibling. Some would go into great detail about how they learned to make a basket using a smaller child sized hoop, and then working up to an adult sized hoop. Some would talk about the game of basketball, giving me all kinds of details of the game mechanics as well as the stats of their favourite players and teams. I would say to them, “So, were you better after you practiced shooting baskets, or worse?” the answer was always, “Better!” (Sometimes teacher have to put the dots really close together, but again, a topic for another time.)

Tiny batch of practice dolls are tiny.

Art is no different. Practice makes all the difference. A person practicing making a three-point shot for hours is doing the same thing I’m doing when I change my stitches that hold a doll leg together, or try a new tool that helps in doll construction. The goal for each of us is the same; the pursuit of our personal best. Observe. Practice. Observe. Critique. Practice. Repeat. Yes. There are times when things don’t always go your way. New techniques are sometimes difficult to learn. Some materials just seem to refuse to cooperate and fall to pieces in your hands. The point is, you must keep practicing. Its not always easy. It’s not always fun, but in the end it’s worth it because you learn and you get better with each successive attempt.

Trying to keep the 10 cm practice contained in one place.

I’ve had some people ask me if I am selling the dolls that I make. This seems like a natural question, being that in the past, I have sold my dolls and I’ve amassed quite a number of dolls recently. Why would I make so many dolls unless the end goal was to sell them? As I write this, I have sitting on my desk my most recently completed doll. She’s one of the 10 cm dolls that I have been working on during the past few weeks. I’ve made some changes to the pattern (I call it ‘tweaking the pattern’) as well as changing some of the hand sewing techniques as well as use of a new tool in the overall construction of the doll. I also changed the eyes around a little and used paint for the iris and pupil. The reasons for these changes were largely because I didn’t like how un-uniform some of my stitching looked on other dolls and I saw a technique used by another doll maker that I thought I would try. I decided to drop the use of buttons for the arm and leg joinery because I found them too bulky underneath the clothing as well as being a somewhat pricy material element that would never been seen. The same goes for using paint for the eyes. I have not done well using paint on felt, but I saw how another doll artist did it, and thought I would try her technique.  Another doll maker gave me the idea for changing the way I make the pattern for the head and attach the ears. The end result doll was practice. What I call my alpha version. There were parts of creating this doll that I found a little exasperating because I was doing something new and different and my mind and hands would slip into long established methods. And guess what? I still want to change things about the next version of this doll. The next doll will be practice as well (beta version!). I will continue to tweak the pattern as well as my techniques as I continue this creative process of practice.

I had a feeling someone was staring at me. She wants to know when I plan on giving her some hair.

Practice is an invaluable tool to me as an artist. It’s much more complicated a process than what I have outlined as basically lots of observation, lots of practice and stoping to critique your techniques, materials and final products. There is so much more to the creative process in general, and my own creative process specifically. Observe, practice, critique, repeat, are just the largest cogs for me within a much more complicated machinations. My creativity begins in my imagination. My inner eye. That then spills over into my sketchbook where the idea can take shape. If I feel and idea isn’t ready to move beyond my sketchbook, it may stay there for quite a long time until it either bangs into something else in the sketchbook and then springs to life, or it simply stays there and is never comes to fruition (a very surrealistic methodology). Some ideas gnaw at my thoughts. These are the ones that sometimes I purposefully ignore. I call this the ‘Bradbury Method’. As a writer, Ray Bradbury once wrote that sometimes he would, ‘purposely ignore the latent beast until it was raving to be born‘ (this is badly paraphrased). At the point a creative imagining is raving to be born, it’s usually time to start work on it. That makes the process of creativity seem magical to some people I suppose. It seems as though the art simply springs forth fully formed from an artists head and lands on the canvas, page or cloth and that simply is not the case at all. All of those other fiddly bits? The complicated machinations? Those can take the form of hours of sketching. Searching for the right materials then sitting with the materials and effectively playing around with them to see if they will work. Stopping and talking to yourself about what you want to do, and then seeing that maaaaaybe the materials are taking you a different creative direction that you hadn’t thought of before. Those cogs of observation, practice and critique all have supporting structures of discussion, planning, knowledge and technique acquisition and a lot of thinking and thinking and thinking. Will this work? Why would I use this and not that? Can I make this work? Does this look the way I want it to look? Do I need to revise this? I do tend to have some rather long and intense internal dialogues with myself while I’m working.

Our flat is not large. I try very hard to keep my work and materials as neat and tidy as I can. I have a tendency to spread if given the opportunity.

During my masters research, I came across the book Studio Thinking. This is most often boiled down to the Eight Studio Habits of the Mind. You can go here to get a more in depth explanation of the book and the habits. This book and methodology are specifically for art educators, but in my opinion can be applied to any artist, no matter what age. My personal methods that I utilise for my own creative process are in some ways similar to the Eight Studio Habits I have linked to, they aren’t the same. Every artist has their own unique way of practicing their craft. I spend a lot of time observing, practicing and critiquing myself and it works for me.

Some practice dolls become very dear to me and I don’t part with them. This is Cintia. She was my very first attempt at a 20 cm doll. She I will keep.

So, yeah. I’ve made a lot of dolls. Some I will someday sell and others I won’t. Some I will give away as gifts to people, while some will be taken apart and the materials reused to make another doll, or something else. I need the practise.

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