"Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration." - Thomas A. Edison
Along the way, I've had some wonderful artists and friends share tips on how to make our endeavor successful, and these that I've chosen to pass on below may be the ones that have made the most difference.
1. Pick a path and focus. There are so many wonderful avenues that can be explored with fused glass.... or other glass mediums.... that for many of us, it is difficult to choose and focus on one area. Of course it may be necessary to take several classes to learn a variety of techniques in the beginning. I loved jewelry, contemporary design w/stringer and sizzle sticks, pattern bars, rod making, etc., but sooner or later, it is wise to pare down the list and focus on work that when viewed by others has a theme. In time, you can create a body of work that will become your signature.
Spend some time looking at art of all types. Think about what it is in those particular pieces that just speaks to you, and begin moving in that direction. Georgia O'Keefe, Monet, and Klimt are especially exciting to me visually. Bold, beautiful, bright colors are my favorites because they look good enough to eat! And because nature is so breathtaking, I've narrowed my personal list to landscapes, florals, birds, and fish for now. Many would probably say that list is too long. :)
The old saying, "Jack of all trades but master of none," might apply to those that cannot focus. Monet did many water lilies before he got it the way he wanted... so if we can learn from others, we would learn to focus... and then practice. From this discipline, eventually we might rise above the masses, develop our own distinctive "look," and even a following! But, oh the dreaded "P" and "D" words are so difficult for most of us who have an "artsy" personality. It is for me.
2. Now we've done Step One, and we know what we have a passion to create. Is there going to be some order to our creative process? Well, if it is too ordered, it could become stilted, but the artist who has a plan, sets goals, gets up at a particular time most days, and works diligently is often more successful than others. Again, the dreaded "D" word. But, before we shrink away in horror, let's remember the joy is in the process, and we all process a little differently from others so there is room for our own form of discipline. I'm so thankful that I can actually do this for a living, that the work is a joyful experience and vice versa.
3. Step Two is on a roll now, and we are creating. The next great tidbit of advice came from a gallery manager in Houston. He suggested that I give them a group of pieces that could be staged together by theme, color, size, etc. It not only made their arranging of the gallery easier, but it made my pieces look better in a complimentary setting. Giving thought to this helped in several ways. A theme helped me plan what I would be making for the next months and allowed me to order supplies more easily and less often. I also found that I wasted less time and glass when I was more organized. (Not to say that I don't have weak moments and go off in some unknown direction just for the fun of it!)
So, hopefully, the tips that I've passed on will help others who are beginning their journey and make it a little easier. We all need a little help and support along the way.
Image Credits: The Kiss by Gustav Klimt. Haystacks by Claude Monet. Images part of public domain.
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