Mixed Media work from Fran Skiles Workshop
I will be teaching at Quilting By the Lake in a few weeks and I have been reviewing my lesson plans. One day will focus on the value of chance in opening doors to new ideas and new work. The pictured mixed media composition is a piece I created in a Fran Skiles Workshop about a year ago and it demonstrates chance, faith, and process.
Sometimes, after an artist has developed a known style, it can be difficult to move away from the known, the sure thing. You know how to do whatever you do, you know what will happen if you do certain things and while there will always be varying degrees of success, you aren't always surprised by the results.
One of my favorite passages on chance is from an interview with Nancy Drew by John Baldessari in a book titled Chance. The book was edited by Margaret Iversen and is one of a series of books called Documents of Contemporary Art.
The passage reads as follows:
(It would) be unbearable if our intentions were regularly frustrated. Yet there is something terribly arid, not to say mechanistic, in the idea of a world where all our purposes result in predictable consequences, where we are completely transparent to ourselves and where intentions always result in expected actions. We value the degree of interference in human intentional activity offered by the unconscious, by language, by the apparatus of the camera or computer, by the instruction performed 'blind.' In short, we desire to see what will happen.
I stated that the piece I have pictured demonstrates chance, faith, and process. For me that was true because I made elements for the piece without knowing how they would be incorporated into a work, faith because I knew that Fran had a bigger view of how this would work and I followed the process as presented by her.
You might try this approach for yourself. Make some elements, make a lot of elements. Enjoy the process of making. Do it freely and without too much of a critical eye. Don't think too much about how you might use them. Try something new. Use something old in a new way. Then look at what you have done. You might be surprised. Take a chance.
Recently I had some correspondence with Jane Davies who designs a wide array of products for many prestigious manufacturers. She is also the author of several books on collage and mixed media. I have enjoyed her book Adventures in Mixed Media as her illustrations and directions are very clear. You can check out her site at: http://www.JaneDaviesStudios.com.
Thanks Jane for all the great information!
Thank you for spending time at Studio 24-7.
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