Saturday, June 6, 2009

Necessity is a Mother

As an artist, I should celebrate that all my life I've had to make-do with whatever I had on hand as far as the art supplies and materials necessary to create. Invention is usually driven by necessity or the need to solve a problem. And the ability to problem-solve is possibly the greatest force for creativity in the artist's toolbox.

For instance, you don't have that really cool tie-dyed silk ribbon you saw on Etsy to string your pendant? So you rummage through your stash of fabric scraps, tear yourself a strip and dip-dye it with some alcohol inks from your clay supplies, make some interesting wire- and yarn-wraps around it and finish it off with a handforged silver charm or two. Voila! It's not only more creative but it's totally your own.

After reading a great blog post this week from Michelle Ward on MIYO - “making it your own”, I realized that solving an artistic “problem” by limiting/re-thinking your resources is one of the best ways to do this. How many times have you polymer clay artists out there come up with an incredible effect after re-purposing some kitchen item you've scavenged as a texture tool? Or used to make a mold that you'll never see in an online store?

For me, this is the lure of the found object-- it's often cheap, it can change its personality to suit your needs, it has history, it's unusual and one-of-a-kind. What other art material can offer so much? I NEVER refer to found objects as junk or junque-- they're valid materials as much as oil paint or silk cord or silver beads.


  1. And what a mother! You're so right, Chistine. There have been many times when, in order to get just the right element, I've had to make it myself. Sometimes, those are our best works.

  2. I call those "happy accidents"...when you need to improvise or the thing you thought you were making turns out to be something else entirely. I have been very intrigued by the Make It Your Own. That is what we as artists are truly about. Enjoy the day!

  3. I am always looking for ways to make my own elements, and have been finding a tremendous resource for that in vintage items!! And I'm always looking for a cheaper way to do me...less money, less greed. I work a day job that sometimes pits me against wealth and waste and greed, and it sickens me. I try to be aware of the waste all the time and not live like know....use what you have first. I try!