2/25/08

Inspiration vs Intimidation



A comment made by a friend (purple girl), got me to thinking about the fine line between inspiration and intimidation, and how much of our own feelings of self worth we bring to that table.
I know I've looked at other artists' work and felt both inspired and intimidated at times, but I also know that sometimes the work that intimidates me today will push me to reach higher in my own work tomorrow.
I've been an artist for a very long time (although I did not have the courage to use that word about myself for many years), and I've been working/playing with beads for almost 20 years now, so I don't often see work that intimidates me with it's fantastic technique or amazing workmanship. What I look for now is a connection between the heart/soul, head/mind and hands in a piece....that's what inspires me and makes me strive to make the work of my hands connect to a deep place in my heart and soul.
And when I see that connection, in my work or others', it makes this world a bit brighter and feels like maybe another tiny dark corner is now lighter.
I also realize that it's been a very long time since I've been intimidated by another artist's work, and that probably has less to do with how much my technique has improved, as much as it has to do with how much deeper connection I feel to my own work.
But having said all that, I also remember (very clearly) my early days and how lacking my own work felt and how magical the work of others' seemed. I often wondered how they did what they did and was so delighted when they were willing to share their process and the steps they took to get to that finished piece.
I think that's one of the biggest benefits for so many of us doing both the bjp and the tif challenge....we get to see the process behind the magic and (I hope) realize that it's a magic we're all capable of making.
One day, one step, one idea at a time, we all learn from each other and we all travel just a little bit further along the creative road we've chosen to take.
And just for fun....here is my first bead embroidered piece and my last finished bjp piece. I look at the little one and see so many mistakes, but I also see the work of a mature artist, since I had been doing beadwork for about 10 years before I felt the need to take up that particular technique. And the reason? Look at the two small carnelian colored art deco cabs in the middle...they have no holes and the only way I could used them, without obscuring their lovely shape, was to glue them down and bead around them. And that sure opened up a whole new world for me!

20 comments:

Mary Timme said...

I don't think I could have said it nearly so well. Thanks for sharing.

Sue in western Washington, USA said...

Thank you for sharing your insight and your wisdom bobbi. You've been able to put into words that which I've sensed but have been unable to pin down for myself. I may just have to copy out a couple of lines to remind myself from time to time what's *really* important about what I'm doing.

KV said...

Well said, Bobbi!


Kathy V in NM

artandtea said...

I agree. Very well said, Bobbi! When I first started beading about 15 years ago, I think I entered the beading world more from a "technique" approach rather than from a place of using the medium as a tool for my voice, my expression. I'm sure that some of me got into my pieces back then but I have experienced such a shift in my approach within the last few years. I am thinking more about what I want to say with my work and being a part of such a supportive community as the BJP has been helpful beyond words. As I look at other's work and connect with their voice in their art, I feel a celebration rather than intimidation.
-Karen

abeadlady said...

Well said, Bobbi. As a beginner, it is easy to look at the works of a Serefini or Kummli and become intimidated. As more experience is gained, we look at techniques and learn to choose those that help us define our own style. I totally agree that doing BJP and other projects of this kind inspires growth in all of us. Learning to look inside ourselves and draw from our feelings is a big step for many of us. It also helps to go back and look at our early work once in a while to see the progress we have made in our own work.

Arline

Beadin' Gram/aka Jackie said...

Delightful and uplifting post, Bobbi. Thank you for sharing these thoughts with us.

beadbabe49 said...

well, thank you for commenting...it's nice to know my feelings are shared...

The Lone Beader said...

I stopped feeling intimidated, and just bead whatever I want to...

freebird said...

The BJP is my biggest bead endeavor ever and my first group event. I love seeing everyone's work and have learned a thing or two from the many beaders, mostly techniques as my "style" is much simpler and less abstract than most are doing. I love what I am doing and love what others are too. I do feel intimidated somewhat when the beads lead to jewelry as I don't have much, if any experience in designing anything so mostly alter patterns so far. But, seeing what so many of you do, I will keep working at it and someday....

beadbabe49 said...

and swimmingly, I might add, lb...

there really is no limit to what you can do with beads, freebird...I'm so amazed by all the diversity!

Lidia said...

You are so right and have stated what a lot of us feel just beautifully. For most of us 'technique' comes first, then once we've mastered it then it's so much easier for our own creativity to develope come through. Lidia

Robin said...

This is a wonderful post, Bobbi!!! I love it that you can say right out there that you're not often intimidated by work of others at this point. And I agree that it's probably because you are so in touch with your own work. I'm delighted that we had a chance to meet! Getting to see all of your work was such a huge treat! Thanks for the bugle beads... you'll see them on my March BJP!

beadbabe49 said...

thanks, lidia...I agree, of course...

thank you, robin...I'm definitely inspired by your work! and I'll look forward to seeing what you've done with the bugles...after you left I found some more, so if you need some, I could send a few more your way...

Robin said...

You are tooooooooooo generous. Nice to know that I could have a few more if I need them... though I probably have enough. Hugs, R

a2susan said...

I'm not always sure what the line is between intimidation and awe for me. Sometimes I see work that is so beautiful that I just want to be able to bead that way. But I've also learned that I have my own style and it's very hard to change, so I'm learning to accept that and be comfortable with it, while enjoying and getting pleasure from other people's work

Susan

Kathy Wagner said...

This is an inspiring post to read. I have been thinking about this lately also. It seems to be "event related" for me in terms of my regressing to intimidation...now I can usually pin point the exact cause/conversation/event that is at the root. Intimidation is not good for creativity!

beadbabe49 said...

I know what you mean, susan...I think it's also possible to turn intimidation to awe and awe to inspiration. Sometimes I'm inspired by "simple" things like someone putting two colors together that I love. I still remember the first time I saw someone put orange and purple together and it just rocked me! Now I use those two together myself when I want to really catch the attention of the viewer.
I agree, kathy...although I'm glad that it's possible to go beyond intimidation.

Purple Girl said...

yowzers!

best part of that post - to me - was that you now call yourself an artist. Obvious to me that you are artistic and talented; how could you not think of yourself as an artist?

and yet, I would never appy that term to myself - I don't sell my work, it's not very original, and I spend my day as a software engineer. I just do "crafts" - maybe one day.

thank you for the inspiration, Bobbi!

beadbabe49 said...

oh, kate...I have the proof right behind me on the wall that you're an artist too!

Nancy K. said...

Well said Bobbi. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and showing the contrasting pieces of your first work and your last bjp page. I certainly see no "mistakes" in the first piece. To me it shows your creativity as much as your current work does. Although your style has evolved. It is funny what we as the creator may see as a mistake and others never do.

Nancy K.