There's an article coming out in the Glass Bead Evolution next month (which might be tomorrow...) This got me to thinking about my years (ahem, decades...) at the torch - and how my work has evolved.
As an artist, initially we learn... we try different things and develop a 'voice'. We 'speak' and hope that just from the sound of our voice/work we gain recognition. I found that there were so many styles I enjoyed - and with that, I developed many different voices... *wonders to self, if that's a bad thing*. Will my work be recognized if I don't hone in on one and speak in a singular voice??
What I have found is that my passions lie mainly with transparent glass... for its beauty and the simplicity that's needed when working with it - as it gets cluttered quite easily. I'm pleased that I have a certain recognition for this. I've been told often that if presented with many artists' work - mine would be easily identified. Good. Check that box. That's not to say that I strive to be heard through the other styles as well... Funny, when you've been online as long as I have, and have established regular customers - they follow the evolution of work style. Often recognizing a set that's out of chronological order that I've included in an update. LOL.
I often feel I shouldn't sneak any of my older work in to these updates because you know it so well. : ) I realize that's an incredible compliment, and am very flattered. Those of you who know my work know just what I mean... Noel, Louise, Sue, Elizabeth... and others.
When I load an update page, it's with the mindset - I will backfill the site with what doesn't immediately sell. I think of it as building inventory... so this "timeline of work" sometimes works against me.
So. If I look in the bead coffers here - I'm stunned that so many of my early earrings were rounds, it was my way of gaining comfort with the glass - letting color speak for itself. But, then after about 10 years - I noticed that I was adding carving & cutting regularly to add visual interest. What else is possible, eh?
That was for transparent glass... now - IMHO opaques are a totally different story. I find I am drawn to opaque glass in the cooler months of the year - and that for the most part it falls flat. It 'needs' something and what I love it the addition of surface scrollwork. I love a good challenge and am regularly found pushing my limits on how detailed I can go. Years ago - I made my office manager a bead for her granddaughter. I said I would write here name in glass on the bead... keep in mind it was 1/2" dia. She very matter of factly said - "...her name is Sarah Elizabeth" OMG. I managed it - actually in some beautifully tiny script... crazy, huh?
So - do I think an artist can have a voice in many different styles? I think so... but - we all start somewhere. Imagine if none of the artists were ever exposed to any other artist's work? I wonder what we would come up with? I also wonder where others draw their inspiration...
OR perhaps - because of this isolation, (and I do find that lampworking is a very solitary sport), you come up with a technique that you think you discovered all on your own... only to be grabbed by the ankles and grounded... as glass has been around for thousands of years. Someone has probably done it before, huh? : )
I eagerly anticipate my next creative jump - never knowing when it'll happen or how it will be received... but the important things is that I'm constantly moving forward! smiles, Jill