I am developing a new understanding and respect for, some of the mixed media techniques currently in vogue. For a long time I would look at them and think, but everyone’s work looks the same! And I realize that this is the case with most techniques — I think as artisans we are sometimes worried about taking the next step into experimentation.
I’ve often said that I don’t understand why people aren’t willing to try things with their needle and thread — they say afraid, and don’t have enough courage to step outside their comfort zone — after all, it’s not like death is a likely result from what we do! But in looking at the new techniques in collage, and many of the needlework books, for that matter, and the push to “quick and easy projects,” I think I’ve finally come to an understanding — it’s not really the failure itself that scares us — it’s the waste (or perceived waste) of time that accrues with a failure in something as time-consuming as learning goldwork or beading – or quilting- or experimenting with putting all of these together.
We are all so busy with our lives that the idea of a failure that took weeks or months to discover can overwhelm us. I have felt it myself recently – the discovery that I need to rip out so much of the model for Tramatina caused that kind of stress — and the reactions I’ve gotten from people who see me working on ripping it or who have read the post simply confirms this. “Why would you want to keep going if you have to pull so much out?!”
The fabric collage and paint techniques, by removing the sewing may provide me with a way to experiment with textures, colors, and symbols without the time constraint. It can’t completely replace sample stitching, but it’s another tool for the toolbox! And it’s fun and much quicker!!!
Some of the many mixed media artists I’m watching for inspiration and ideas these days: