Something to Read: More Favourite Blogs.

The scale of changes since this time last year is something I’m still struggling to take in. But, despite everything that Covid 19 is doing to us, spring is coming, growth is beginning, and flowers are blooming.

At a time when most of us expect to be enjoying the outdoors, we’re having to occupy ourselves indoors. So this may be a good time to share more of the blogs I enjoy reading.

Last week’s post with my recommendations for WordPress blogs didn’t allow space for all of my favourites (some of which are not on WP). If you have time to fill, I hope you’ll find some of these enjoyable. They are all art and creative-themed blogs, which I find both engaging and inspiring.

The first two blogs I want to mention have similar themes of artists’ books, textile art, and print. Stephanie Redfern shares her richly-layered work which combines a number of elements including fabric collage and her very delicate pieces of porcelain. Scroll down to the middle of her second post on ‘Books’ and you’ll see the beautiful pages Stephanie created with porcelain ginkgo biloba leaves and moths, along with her own poem.

The work of Annwyn Dean appeals to me greatly because it combines printmaking and artist’s books with great detail and delicacy. I had hoped to see Annywn’s work at the Turn the Page Artists’ Book Fair in Norwich in May – well, maybe next year!

I also find Stephanie Devaux Textus a most enjoyable blog to look at. (It’s written in french, but it is mostly photographs and Google translate takes care of what text there is.) It’s a lovely mix of book art, calligraphy and some textile art – worth a look!

There’s plenty of good reading, as well as beautiful mixed-media and textile art art on Rachael Singleton’s ‘Folio and Fibre’  (Scroll down the page and you’ll see her ‘Mussel House’ – a piece with the most delicious colours and textures.)

My final recommendation is a bit different to the others because it’s mostly about painting. But it also has a lot to say about every aspect of creativity and it’s one of the most helpful and inspiring sites I’ve ever come across – Nicholas Wilton’s ‘Art2Life’ blog. As a photographer, I’ve found what Nick has to say very useful and you never know, maybe I’ll actually try painting some day. (He runs courses for artists but is very generous with the free teaching he gives through Facebook and through his blog.)

I hope that you’ll find something interesting amongst the blogs here that will keep you entertained for a while. Stay home and stay safe!

Is Dabbling Dangerous?

I’ve recently been enjoying the blog of the artist Danny Gregory. Reading through some of his older posts, I came across one from 2015 that seemed especially relevant to this blog and to my own creative process.

In the piece, entitled, ”The Dangers of Dabbling”, Danny Gregory says that although he admits to being ”a dabbler in all sorts of things”, we ought to avoid it. He tells us that we should concentrate on the work that we feel called to do, and not let ourselves be distracted by dabbling in other areas.

I do agree that if you want to be good at something, then you’ll need to focus and work hard. But does that mean that also trying out other things is necessarily bad? Can time spent on other interests bring something to your principal work? Is it possible for ”dabbling” to be a good thing?

As far as art is concerned, I believe it can be. Because it seems to me that, for mixed-media artists, experimenting and challenging yourself with new materials and methods is part of your artistic growth.

Several artists have particularly inspired me with their exciting combinations of techniques and materials.

Dorothy Simpson Krause wrote about bringing together collage, printmaking, photography and painting to create beautiful artists’ books in ”Book + Art”. (I love this book. It makes me want to try making my own artists’ books.)

Patti Roberts-Pizzuto creates delicate artworks by combining her drawings with stitching on paper, which is then dipped in beeswax. Wen Redmond also uses stitch in her work. To this she may add digital imagery, mono-printing, paint, or more, to create pieces which are wonderfully unique and expressive.

While none of these artists could be called a ”dabbler”, they do show that different techniques can be brought together in new and adventurous ways to create successful artworks.

So what about dabbling, then? Well, for me (as very much a learner) it gives the opportunity to find out what creative processes appeal to me and whether I can find a way to combine them with my photography. For artists, dabbling may provide a way to travel beyond the confines of the core work. It allows new ideas to form and new combinations to be made, which can lead to unexpected and exciting results.

There’s no doubt, if I was to stick to purely photography, then I would be that much better at it. But trying out other art forms and finding ways to use them alongside my photography may give me something that is truly ‘mine’ and expresses my own unique voice.

I’m not afraid to dabble…are you?

You can see the work of the artists I’ve mentioned here:

And Danny Gregory’s blog is here. I can thoroughly recommend it!