Reading aplayfulday, one of the blogs I enjoy for it's energy and inspiration, reminded me that I used to blog much more frequently than I do now. aplayfulday has launched The Love Your Blog Challenge which will run during April. My hope is by joining in with this challenge, by responding to the themes for the weekly challenges that I'll start to love blogging again.
Blogging is a two way process, it's sharing words and pictures with an unseen community and responding to that community too. Take a look at any blog and you'll see a set of links in the sidebar which represents the community the blogger has gathered around them. Watch anyone using a computer, laptop or mobile device and you soon notice they have favourite blogs and websites. I recently described myself as: Claire Textile maker, artist, knitter, journal-keeper, baker, cut flower grower and gardener, I omitted to say blogger. I feel sad about that, all the time I blogged and explored the work of other bloggers I felt full of artistic ideas, I was part of a huge mobile community. These days my creativity isn't original, I'm not designing anything myself, I'm bringing my own interpretation in the form of yarns/ beads to something someone else designed.
I did a City and Guilds in Creative Embroidery between 1996 and 2002, then an advanced textiles course to develop my art practise, I suddenly had a voice. I thrived in this sharing environment and created lots of original work that I shared, giving as much back to my community as I gained from them. I had the two things I find most conducive to work, a purpose and a community. The small picture is a sample from a sketchbook called Creative Connections that dates from about 2006.
About 10 years ago I used to blog almost daily [that blog no longer exists :-( ], at that time I was part of a different community of artists who created altered art, who shared and posted online about it. Initially my work was very group driven, joining in with collaborative projects such as the page below in an old tattered copy of Alice in Wonderland. Through this I was a part of a huge art community spread across the world, I collaborated on lots of art projects and from these collaborations, I gained energy and inspiration.
That community folded and suddenly I found something was lacking in my daily art practise. I was creating work like the picture below, I'd turned inwards, exploring myself through limited art practise. It wasn't same as the creative environments I'd been used to, I had nothing to feed from and no purpose. It wasn't long before I stopped blogging and creating any art. When my husband and I started to plan a house move, I effectively lost my voice, 18 months of living in a rented property totally stopped my creativity.
These days (in a house of my own again) my artistic voice is very limited, I seem to struggle to find purpose and inspiration, I make a lot of promises to myself about new work that I don't keep. I have a world of inspiration outside my window what's missing is the wider artistic community I used to belong to.
Artists need inspiration, food for thought and most of all a community to explore which supports and validates their work. Introspective as this post has been it will serve as an opportunity to extend my community, finding new ways to connect and a way back into a more creative world. Who knows I may regain my creative voice!