Several weeks ago I attended the opening reception for the first Chasing and Repousse Exhibition at Outnumbered Gallery in Littleton, CO. One of my cuffs, The Mighty Oak, is a part of this exhibit that will run through July 18th. I had a chance to meet with artists I have never met before, along with some I know.
One of the great things about events like this is the chance to discuss the work. Artist to artist. Their work and mine. Fascinating. Several artists gave me some advice and I am discovering it is some of the best advice I have ever received. As a result, I wanted to share because it is my belief that I have a responsibility to play it forward for all the help I continue to receive as I work to advance my career as an artist.
Tip number 1. Spend five minutes a day at your bench. This nugget of advice came from Henry Spencer. The recommendation, in its simplicity, is profound. He asked me to think about it. It may sound easy, he said, but it is hard. What can come from those five minutes can be an hour and a half of new work or nothing more than staring at the top of the bench. The point is, something wonderful may happen if you commit to spending that time every day. The insight for me is that need to be in my creative sanctuary every day. Something will happen. I can tell you that I have started to do this and it is very productive.
This was the first time I had met Henry. He is very open and engaging. He has being doing chasing and repousse for 40 years and refers to himself as a hippie metalsmith from the 70’s. All of this is said with quite the twinkle in his eye. I can tell you there is nothing understated about his work. Take a few moments to visit his website. I think you will understand why I have taken his advice to heart. He is smart as a fox and then some.
Tip number 2. Make your own tools. Nancy Meli Walker told me this is a must as I continue with chasing and repousse. She showed me a few of her tools that she created for textures. She pointed out that one of the ways to make your work stand out is to have your own specialized textures. I saw that in Henry’s work and hers, along with others who were in the exhibit. It made perfect sense and there are textures I have envisioned for my own work, but didn’t have the tools to create them. Fortunately, I took a couple of workshops last year and each teacher showed us how to make our own tools. Now it does pain me to admit I was not all that enamored with the idea of making tools. However, inspired by Nancy’s revelation to me, I am thrilled that I know how. Now I am ready to embrace it!
Nancy’s work is so graceful and refined. She has a wonderful sense of humor. Another engaging spirit who is so very endearing. I am very appreciative of her advice.
Hopefully this helps to explain my photo at the top of this post. I have steel rods for making my own texture tools, along with some copper and steel sheets that will be part of my evolution as I work to improve my skills. The copper sheet will become a reference for textures. I’m taking part in a challenge to create sample textures. I will be creating some tools for the new textures I plan to use in my work. The steel will become new works, fused gold to steel, that will be formed into cuffs, pendants, rings, and earrings….all will have the new textures.
I am very grateful to Henry and Nancy for being so open and giving. Maybe they saw something in my work and felt they wanted to help me to grow? Whatever the case, I am thankful.
My husband, Dan, will help document what I am working on and I will post his videos of me working. I am very excited about the possibilities.
Until next time, aspire to be more as an artist and a person.