6.30.2020

Finding your style, as an artist.

Many years ago when I first began to create flame worked glass beads and jewelry I worried that as a new artist, I didn't have a 'style'. I could not yet show a body of work that when seen, someone might say 'oh, I know that artist!'  I did not yet have a collection of pieces with an identity or a discernible similarity in each piece. A cohesiveness.
I needn't have worried. I've since learned that acquiring a style of your own as an artist is a natural evolution.

Elements of our Youth become us.
I spent some of my growing up years on a ranch in the Upper Halfway area of the Peace country in British Columbia, Canada. I wasn't really crazy about being there at the time, yet there were things about it that I loved. 
We lived on 2400 acres of pristine land that sat next to the long and winding Halfway River.  There was a natural spring of water that bubbled ..happily, it seemed to me,  up out the ground on a hill above our house, even in the dead of winter! Like some great amazing life force.
Some days I would sneak away with my battery operated radio [have I mentioned that I am 100?] on the back of Brumbee..a gentle gelding who was happiest when his nose was pointed toward the barn. Until then, he could only muster a plod, or if he was feeling magnanimous, a [resentful] trot.
I would find a pretty spot, tie Brumbee to a close bush, and lay listening to the birds and the music on the transistor radio, watching the treetops move with the drifting clouds. Plotting and Day dreaming.

[My own] photo of the Peace River in northern British Columbia, Canada

The countryside in the wilds of British Columbia are compelling and beautiful. The colors of the earth are always changing. There is a distinct perfume to each of the seasons. The heady sweet scent of fuchsia colored rose hips in the Summer and the acrid smell of the undergrowth in the Fall..the new sap running through the birch in the Spring and somewhere, always a faint smell of smoke hanging in the dense icy air of Winter.
All of these elements have somehow carved their way into my bones and no matter how far I travel or how many years pass, they will forever be a part of me.

Hone your skills to enhance your style.
In time, the basic process of bead making became second nature and I found that as I relaxed my own unique style began to emerge.  The simple things that brought me joy began to show up in the jewelry. I used rods of glass in the subdued earth colors you might find in nature..rich ochres, sage greens, the tender robin egg colored blues. I designed using texture and movement, petal and leaf curved line...always including a dark to play amidst the lights.

 
Deborah JLambson bracelet Sterling and Glass

While living in the Middle East, I took a small silversmithing class. The teacher is a master who has designed jewelry for some of the wealthiest Sheiks there in Qatar.  He told us stories of rooms built solely for the purpose of holding row upon row of cufflinks.
I enjoyed the class and began to take great satisfaction in the construction of my own organic style clasps that mimiced the curved petals that I love to design in the glass. The act of hand fabricating the closure lent another layer of crafting to each piece.  I love that added element, and recognize that learning to expand my skills in this way has helped to make my work even more recognizable.

As unique as your own fingerprint
In my opinion, it's not necessary to struggle with finding 'our style' as it lies within each of us as unique and as hard to abandon as our own fingerprint. As someone else recently pointed out, each of us has a style as unique as our own handwriting!
Our style is simply an outward expression of those things that interest us, bring a smile, perk our curiosity or add joy to our day. The struggle may be to freely and fearlessly express ourselves, without any editing. Once we learn to do that,  we'll quickly see our own unique fingerprint of work, identifiable and unmistakably yours.


Paul Coelho in the Alchemist says it this way,

" You will never be able to escape from your heart. So it is better to listen to what it has to say."


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