Sunday, February 2, 2014

How I Brought in 2014

I was lucky enough to be invited up to visit some friends for New Years Eve, ones who happen to have graduated with.

We've talked the night away about absolutely everything, like their business prospects and issues, collaborations and co-ops, etc. There's a couple moments that I think are important to note though....

Art vs Craft vs Design

This is a conversation we had every single week in school, and I assure you we were all quite sick of it, "Why can't people just call themselves what they want? Who cares?" we'd eventually say in frustration. Somehow, after graduating into the business-art world, we've come to understand the importance behind these endless discussions. Our teachers would be proud of us now.

Right now I say to myself: If there is someone who hasn't once thought through the possible importance of defining these terms, they must be lacking something as a 'serious art person'.

"The Studio Movement"

Again, our teacher Koen would be seriously proud of us for having conversations that we later realized relate to this idea. We discuss lots of dreamy ideas for how to run studios and sell glass. Why not flamework and fuse glass out of the back of a truck? Travel around tourist destinations all summer and set up in parks and on the beach. Or get a house in a tourist area and work/sell glass from there for the season. Can we reap the benefits of having a studio and traveling? Can we go to the people? What can we do differently from the previous generation of artists, to set ourselves apart?

I think there's a pretty straight line for most people in terms of what it means to be a successful glass artist (and maybe ceramics too). Setting up your own studio, shop and/or gallery is the ultimate dream of most everyone I've talked to. That means you've made it if you can afford to have these brick and mortar buildings. So, I have hope that there's a special spark between Paul, Amy and I, since we're all wanting to build an alternative route.

Quick history lesson:
Glass is quite young in North America, and the idea of entrepreneur glass artists is even younger. "The Studio Movement" represents this idea, and it is only 50 years old! Koen would often say he hopes everyone will announce that the movement is dead though, because he believes it's time for people to set out and figure out what the next direction for glass is.

Creative Flow of Ideas

I can't tell you how absolutely amazing it is to be able to spend time with like-minded artistic individuals. School is an environment that's completely saturated with this sort of thing .... and you don't realize it until you're gone. I've been desperately missing this benefit of school ever since graduation. Whenever you have a chance to freely exchange ideas and dreams, try to enjoy it to it's fullest. It will inspire and motivate you like nothing else in this world.

I think the pinnacle of this creative collaboration was New Years Eve. Amy brought back lots of knick knacks, findings and ideas back from China and she challenged us all to figure out how we could use them to create something new. There were a flurry of new ideas to keep us busy in 2014, including an entire series of serious flameworked pieces with an environmental message. The ideas came so easily. It was as if someone had handed us a sketchbook that was already filled with designs for work that someone out there would love.

So, when you get the chance, talk with your artsy friends and artsy strangers. Talk with your teachers, and talk with me if you'd like. I promise you there's plenty of easy benefits to reap.

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