Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Struggle between Purist and Alter-ist

Welcome to Studio Saturday! Each week one of our contributors gives you a sneak peek into their studio, creative process or inspirations. We ask a related question of our readers and hope you'll leave comments!

As an incentive we offer a free prize each week to bribe you to use that keyboard. The following week we choose a random winner. This week's winner is PAULA! Congratulations! Please send your postal address to the ABS Suggestion Box to receive Lynn's sample of a properly cured resin charm - no stickiness, guaranteed!!

Today, we take a tour into the clean and tidy glass studio of Cindy Gimbrone....look quickly, you may not see it clean again!

Good morning, Studio Saturday Readers! Since cleaning my studio for the local bead guild's visit, it seems I cleared out my creative mind to make room for more. So, I set aside the glass and brought out my junk.

Yes, I'm a junk collector. This is a recent score at a flea market. A handful of keys, a few watches make for lots of interesting possibilities.

Not only do I look for new junk at the flea market, I have a box full of junk-treasures. I call them junk-treasures because they all have sentimental value to me. A fractured music box bride which was my husband's wedding gift to me 26 years ago - broken in one of the 8 moves we've made or by a toddler who couldn't resist it - I can't quite remember now how she received her fractures...

...or the bits and pieces of pottery used by my ancestors found on my father's family farm a few years ago when digging up the garden for spring planting....

Altered art and mixed media technique is problemmatic for me because I'm a purist. I like pieces to remain in the condition I find them. So I don't like to drill, cut up or permanently alter any piece. I'm reluctant to make a boro bead on the antique keys above or glue things into the watch parts, or...gasp...glue something onto my bride!

Well, where does that leave me? Does that mean purists can't make altered art or mixed media art beads? Are all my junk-treasures destined to stay in their box, never to see the light of day?

With the help of Susan Lenart Kazmer, I've been working in cold connections. And, you don't have to actually alter a piece to make altered art beads.

Using one of the pottery shards, I hand formed a "bowl bezel" and used weaving to hold the shard in the bezel.

So, the purist in me was able to keep the pottery shard as is, combine it with metal and create an altered art bead. The icing on the cake is the new metal technique I've acquired is flexible. I can combine my bowl bezels with my glass cabachons for a modern look!

I'm really happy with the balance I've been able to find with a style I love (altered art/mixed media) and the purist in me. Which leads me to today's question....

What have you struggled with artistically? Was it between two styles to find your own voice, like I did today or was it something else? Share your own struggle and you could win the Circles Pendant below.

I look forward to reading your comments and sharing more with you!

Keep creating!


Kim said...

I see so many artist's styles that I want to combine with mine. But, usually, once I get into it, I see it doesn't work, but almost always find one little thing that I can use.

For instance, I took a class from a junk assemblege art guy. His work is amazing. He had us go outside at the beginning of class and pick stuff off the ground and make art from it. What I learned from that experience is that I like to incorporate found objects into my jewelry, but I can't force it. Junk for junk's sake does not work for me. But an addition of something I found and really liked...that works for me. So, while I will not be an assemblege artist, I learned some techniques and thought processes that I use.

Good to have an open mind!

Anonymous said...

I have a problem every day.Instead of listening to my own inner voice &following that path,as I used to,now I look &compare---and see I've done a lot of what ya'll are doing at the time.Don't get this wrong,if I copied anyone,it'd be this group.
But I need to find myself &niche in arts before I'm truly happy.
I love how you fashioned those beads.I think I'm going to go make some.

rosebud101 said...

My problem is that I love to play! I mean I really enjoy playing with glass! I love melting glass! I love pushing, pulling and shaping glass. I think I move too fast to hear that inner voice. My mind is open, but, it's way too open! I just have too much fun.

one-eared pig said...

I just have good ol' insecurity issues. I have a hard time believing anyone could like my stuff. *I* like my stuff, but yet I am simply amazed when I sell something. I am making progress. SLow progress, but progress none-the-less...

Cindy Gimbrone said...

Hi Kim,

Yes, keeping an open mind to new ideas and how to use them to suit your style is so important to growth as an artist. I was really happy to find a technique where I could incorporate this little piece of my father's family history.

Thanks for sharing!

Cindy Gimbrone said...

Hi Gail,

Thank you! I'm really happy with how the pottery shard art beads turned out. As for your own voice - You'll find your way, just keep making things, your voice will start coming through for you.

Thanks for taking time to comment!

Cindy Gimbrone said...

Hi Rosebud :-)

Playing is good! It keeps the creative juices flowing and keeps you open to trying new things. I'm sure you find things you like.

I've been working on including metal into my glass and this is a nice technique being the purist I am - I don't have to alter the piece. YAY!

Keep playing!

Cindy Gimbrone said...

Hi One-eared :-)

Keep working at it! We all feel like that sometimes - are people gonna like it but the real issue is, are you doing something that brings you joy? If yes, then that's why you create. Not everyone will hear our song but to those that do, YAY! We don't have to worry about how many people are in our conga line - it's so much fun to dance!

Keep making your art!

Jen Judd said...

Cindy - I love this post! I am more and more convinced that my work seems to come out of nowhere, but it's really some place deep inside my brain. I happen to be visiting my hometown right now and there's a huge antique shop population, so I'm motivated for the afternoon!!! Thanks!! Jen

Cindy Gimbrone said...

Hi Jenny,

Happy to provide inspiration for you! Have a great afternoon treasure hunting through the antique shops :-)

Continue to be inspired!

Douglas Harland said...

Hi I liked the way you used the pottery shards...Doug

Cindy Gimbrone said...

Hi Doug,

Thank you! The bowl bezel is a good way to keep a small piece in "as is" condition. It's my new favorite technique :-)

Thanks for taking the time to comment,

gaela said...

I think that the use of the pottery chards is ingenious for you. I don't mind altering anything. One of the trademarks of the art I create is that I love to incorporate something out of the norm, anything, what ever feels and looks right to me at the time. It needs to feel out of the blue, yet work with the piece at the moment. I don't enjoy symmetry, so adding these found objects in obscure or prominent places helps me to make method of my madness while letting my creativity loose.

Anonymous said...

I've seen comments from artists who claim that you have to concentrate on one technique or you'll never achieve mastery. I believe that you should go where your creative muse leads you-- that is the source of your true "style". If you use what you see others do, it becomes yours anyway because you invest it with your own energy and spin. Cold connecting is my current favorite technique since it really forces you to think outside the box. Each shard, found object, dooda, or fragment asks to be considered on its own merit and becomes a little more precious because of the concentration you bring to framing that little piece of somebody else's history.

Anonymous said...

Hi Cindy
As I read your post, I felt like I could really relate to the preference of keeping something in it's original state. I've seen gorgeous altered jewelry, for example using rosary pieces, but I've wondered if the original rosary was taken apart to use the parts...I don't know if I could do that as much as I like the look of the end piece. I love vintage pieces, and I've had the same struggle of taking apart the original piece to use it in a new way. If something is already taken apart or broken, it's much easier for me. Maybe I will eventually change my mind on this, because I think it's much better for something to be used and loved than left forgotten in a drawer somewhere!

Cindy Gimbrone said...

Hi Gaela,

Thanks for taking the time to comment. I collect pieces with the intent of altering them and then I get "stage fright." Stitching lets me get over my stage fright and create a multi media piece - like those of artists like you who jump in with both feet and alter away. I love the look and it takes a very clever mind to create altered art. I'm glad there's a way for a purist like me to join in the fun! :-)

Keep altering :-)

Cindy Gimbrone said...

Hi Christine,

What a beautiful manifesto for cold connections! You've phrased it perfectly. My little piece of family history is now framed like a family portrait. Thanks for sharing with us.

YAY for cold connections!

Cindy Gimbrone said...

Hi Cindy,

Yes I feel very much the same way - if it's already broken or taken apart, then it's easier to alter. But that's the purist in us - some artist, thankfully, are different. It's great to have both because it creates a diversity in what's created. It encourages we purists to experiment a bit more while showing the mixed media artists how to use some pieces as is. YAY for diversity and creativity!

Thanks for taking the time to comment! I enjoy reading everyone's perspectives :-)