more than one voice

Monday, January 28, 2013

Outside art at the owl house

I have a fascinating with outsider art, with the people who create these works, their stories, and their pure creative genius that is not tarnished by mainstream thinking about art.  They are raw and authentic, practicing their craft from a deep internal need for creative release without concern for technique or critique. They work outside the fine art system; they produce from the depths of their own personalities and for no one else but themselves. They do not follow fashion or tradition and care little what people might think about their work – they need to create and they do.

One of South Africa’s most famous outside artist is Helen Martins.  She lived in a small Karoo town called Nieu Bethesda, a dry dusty speck of a place.  Here she created wonderful sculptures in concrete and broken glass, mixing the two together to create ever changing colour and texture. She was misunderstood in the small conservative dorp where she lived. A sad figure, who was too shy to mix with people.  She hardly ate, spending the little money she had on supplies to build her sculptures.

Reading her biography I was transported into her world, into her imagination, I had a glimpse into her all-consuming need to create.  I was left with the sense that even after reading the book and seeing her work, there was still a mystery surrounding her.  Why did she really create all those strange sculptures?  What demons was she fighting? Did her creations bring her peace?  I suppose these questions will never be answered.  I think that is the beauty of outside art, we are left asking questions and feeling fragile after entering the world of the artist, we are left contemplating our own fragility and vulnerability. It is raw, honest and possibly the most real art there is.
Sculptures at the Owl House 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Memories of a creative childhood

What is the weirdest thing you have ever created?

Hands down I would have to say the wedding dress I knitted for my Barbie Doll when I was 11 years old – on toothpicks.  I figured if I was going to make it believable it had to be done with Barbie Doll sized knitting needles.  It took forever – most of my summer holiday – but eventually it was ready. I even knitted a bridesmaids dress (it was the late 70’s so knitted wedding dresses were completely acceptable).

This is what I love about being a creative – even 35 years later I remember this project – the detail, sitting still working on the dresses, the thoughts I had – the planning and the elation when the project was finished.  It reminds me of the strange little girl I was and how I didn’t really like her, but now I see her differently.  She was determined, resolute, funny and quirky – she just needed to believe in herself, because she could do anything she put her mind to – even knit a dress on toothpicks!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

I am a triangle

Me -  as a triangle
During 2012 I began to see myself as a triangle. No, I haven’t developed some sort of strange psychopathology – rather the triangle has helped me understand myself better.

My triangle looks like this:
Each element – needs practice!

These are the things that feel like my purpose, things that I love doing; things that help me understand the world I live in. This is how I express myself and understand who I am. Tying it all together in the middle of the triangle is the creative energy, which is vital for each of the three elements at the points of the triangle. When I start to wonder what it is all about, or how I fit into this crazy world, I go back to this diagram and contemplate for a while and things seem to make more sense.
When I was thinking about sharing this  – I went back to my journal played around with some more triangles and realised that I have another one, a bigger one – that looks like this and fits in with the one above.

I maybe more shapes – who knows – but for now I am a triangle. 
 What shape are you?

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013 - Practice

My word for 2012 was 'fitting' - I knew that there was a lot to do in 2012 and my challenge was going to be to fit it all in.  Towards the second half of the year I began to feel the stress of trying to fit everything in and still try and remain true to my desire to be a creative.  Well, on reflection I think that somehow I have managed to fit everything in, it wasn't easy but here I am at the start of 2013 wiser and perhaps a little more realistic - ready for the adventures that 2013 hold.

My word for 2013 is practice. With the craziness of 2012 behind me I realise that I need to spend more time practicing art, practicing drawing, practicing healthy living - finding a practice that centres my day, that focuses my mind and brings me into a place of simple living.  I'm not sure what the practices will be but I have a feeling that this is what is needed in my life this year. 

I suppose I will find a way to 'fit' in the practices that I need to make this year wonderful and full of adventure and discovery.  I have a feeling this is going to be a great year!