Thursday, November 07, 2013

Technical skills

People have lots to say about technical skills, that they are esssential/aren't important that they enhance/get in the way of art and so on. Other people comment positively on my technical skills, but I interpret those 'skills' as experience. I'm aware that the more pieces I make the more efficient I become because my hands carry the knowledge they need and I stop less to consider how something should be done.
This week I've become even more aware of this 'expertise  gained through practice' as I've a) tried a new way of putting a piece together and b) begun to consider a longer term project inspired by comments by Edmund de Waal talking about his 1,000 hours project -

I decided to use a collage technique for my next 12bythedozen piece and happily arranged my chosen components into what I considered an appropriate arrangement but then what? None of my experience applied - did I use glue, hidden stitching, running stitch, overlay with organza then stitch?? There were so many questions it was some time before I realised that I just had to do something to find out whether it was viable for me at all. (The piece is finished, was fun to do but veered away from the original challenge - oops.) Will I do another collage, yes and another, because only in that way will the significance of the technique become secondary to what I want to make - the circle completed!

In thinking about how I could apply Edmund de Waal's re-iteration of a process to an idea that's been stewing in my mind for some time I realised that I was putting technique before the work I wanted to make and my reasons for making it. My idea is something that needs to be 'got on with' but without too much thinking. In this case I have the technical ability and need to let the stitching direct the next steps - but wait, which fabric will I use, will I finish each piece individually, how will I mount the work ...

1 comment:

Margaret Cooter said...

Did you see his "Make Pots or Die" ( the episode of What Do Artists Do All Day ( - if not, haste thee to an iplayer...