Unfortunately I've never been around where Ms. Fox has taught to take a course for myself so when someone mentioned her book, Maker Magic I decided to look it up and get one before I went to Wildacres. Unfortunately, I am a techno weenie. It is what it is. When I can figure something out on the computer I can do it well - when I can't it all goes to hell in hand basket really quick. I tried to down load the pdf - nope, nada, zilch. Trust me - it was NOTHING on the Fox end of the sale. This was all Sharon fumble fingers. But the Fox team, not to be outdone by an artist who can't handle a computer, dug in and tried many alternatives. They quickly decided that the best alternative for me was to send me a CD. Really, who goes to this length? I am always humbled and appreciative of artist/teachers who will go to every length so you understand or "get" the information they are trying to relay into your hot little head or hands. I thank and bless you Fox team - you're the best!
And, as if that wasn't enough....at Wildacres, Chris Darway mentioned the book, out of the blue. Maybe it was an initial conversation I missed but he stopped the class and brought it up. He asked the class how many had heard of Connie Fox's book, Maker Magic. I raised my hand, dutiful student I am, but admitted that the book had just arrived and I hadn't gotten to dig in yet. He highly recommended it to the class. Cool beans, an endorsement - as if I weren't already hot to read it and do the exercises.
If you've followed along with this blog you know I've spent a lot of time in art school/s. I guess you could call my talents "well rounded" or like a squirrel - bouncing around from medium to medium since I sincerely enjoy them all with a few rising like crème to the top of my milk cup. Uh, and the point of that declaration? Well, I have a hard time explaining my aesthetic. What makes Sharon tick off this art - where is the binding theme, the body of work? You know where I am going. When you look in an artists booth you see a vein of cohesiveness. And if you don't - - well, don't you just kind of wander away?
I can be cohesive again, I think. If I only understood where I was going, why (maybe), answered all of those questions that might be rattling around in my brain. I have no problem drawing out a design - hundreds of them actually - but often that is as far as it goes. In my head, they're done - they have no more secrets to tell me. I've worked out all of the technical aspects on paper and I feel satisfied. To my defense, there have been times (years) while working, caretaking, or healing, that the sketchbook was my primary body of work. For that skill, I am delighted. Excuses are like noses, we all have one.
unless there are little appreciative art critics running around my sketchbooks - or brain minions reading my thoughts and applauding my creative genius this is no way to make art. It is a great way to document it - work out the kinks - but if you're drawing jewelry or sculpture, or whatever - it's not the end product....it's part of the process.
Anyhoo, realizing you need help is the first step to getting it. Right? I've known this for a long time. Ask a friend to define your body of work....if they hem haw around chances are you are without a definition, or you're not doing a very good job projecting one. And, if you don't have some grip on that, no matter how tenuous it is on what you are creating (or why) - probably the viewing pubic isn't getting it either. Which also begs the question, who are you creating this for? You, or someone else, or both? What is it you want to do with this art? Keep it - sell it - what?
My answer to my own question is this: IF I want to go public again. Do art shows or galleries then I need guidance. Maybe not a mentor in the traditional sense but some parameters to work in and a way to figure out where to start this dialogue with myself. It's never as easy as, "I said to myself, Self, what do you think?" I don't know about you but my usual answer to that question is - How the heck should I know. Which usually leaves me frustrated and more confused than ever. It also leads me to making "parts". Don't get me wrong - I'm a parts person. I love my little bits of flotsam. Each one of them I make or collect I go at it with a total commitment to the process to make the best little perfect "part" that I can. Call it my Grandma's button box work. But this is NOT a body of work. It's time to reconnect the dots - or pieces as it may be. If I put them all together what are "they".
This is getting to be a long story, albeit I'm guessing pretty relatable or Ms. Fox wouldn't have written this book for all of us who are looking for a direction.
I'm 30 pages into 173. I love it already and haven't even scratched the surface. Chris was correct. It's good - excuse me - but it's DAMN good. And when I finish the book I'm going to click my heels together like Dorothy and find Sharon's truer path again. She's (Sharon's) my Kansas, sturdy, well-defined, and artistic. And, she's going to better understand her "vision". If you're having similar issues, or others - check out this book. I know you're going to like it.