It doesn’t matter what field you’re in, continued education is a must. Fortunately, or unfortunately, we’re not born with all the information and skills we’ll need for the rest of our lives. If you’re not growing, learning, and exploring, everyone around you will leave you in the dust. The same goes for our physical, emotional, spiritual, and artistic lives.
Truth is, we can’t know everything about everything. I know a lot about textile art, but I have limited knowledge about other mediums. Listening and learning from others gives me insight into the lives of other artists, while giving me ideas to translate to my own art. Here are a couple of examples to punctuate my thoughts.
The other evening, I went to a lecture by a photographer who takes people on safari in Tanzania. He takes those interested in photography on safari shoots. I’m not a photographer, but I was looking for that one tidbit to add to my creative toolbox. He didn’t disappoint. He was giving examples of different shots and he said, “Edit before you click”. Brilliant! His point was too many of us take one hundred pictures, come home and plough through the truckload of shots. It made me think of Coco Chanel. She is known for saying (directed to women), “Get dressed and before you leave the house, edit, take off one thing.”
I listen to podcasts every day. I’m hooked on Daphne Cohn’s The Creative Habit. After I subscribed, I went back to the beginning and I’ve been listening to them in order. I want to hear the progression of the interviews. I think of it like collecting building blocks. The artists she interviews come from all walks of life. They have different educational backgrounds. They work in different mediums. They have unique business models. The one thing they all have in common is the love, desire, and commitment to creating art.
Last year I decided I wanted to take a class to learn something I’ve never done before. I have a friend I met in graduate school who is a phenomenal weaver; thanks Sarah Haskell (www.sarahhaskell.com). I decided to take a weaving class, not with one of those gigantic looms, a small handheld loom. I wanted to understand the motivation for an artist working in fiber, but differently than me. I wanted to explore texture. I wanted to experience something aside from sitting at the sewing machine. I enjoyed the class and may continue to create weavings, but I’ll stick to art quilts. What the class did do for me was reinforce the desire to take other classes and expand my repertoire.
I know there aren’t enough hours in the day to explore every class, podcast, magazine, book, exhibition, etc. Be selective! Be mindful of your priorities! Have an idea of what you want to achieve giving you a direction to expand your interests, abilities, and vision.
How will you apply these ideas to your own areas of expertise, interest, or desires?