Our house was a bit messy when I was a kid. I mean, my mom was a bit of an artist, and then she went and had five daughters in six years, so there you have it.
But this mess really enhanced my play time. I’d be building a scenario for my Barbies… (what I didn’t know was, I was creating vignettes even then), and two objects would come together for my scenario in exactly the right way. I knew without a doubt, that it couldn’t have happened without the blessed mess we lived in. So I was grateful and viewed the house as a large treasure chest to be troved.
My mom let us turn furniture upside-down for Barbie scenarios, and we had contests for best outfits made from the ever-fashionable paper towel. One thing about paper towels- they never go out of style and can be tailored just right! I mean, a rubber band here, a random earring there….
Today as an adult Mixed-Media Artist, it doesn’t take much to see that I am the same kid digging through treasures, only now it’s my studio, and the Barbies have become my Figurative Sculptures ready to fly into New Worlds.
The secret to this “grand” Mixed-Media design sense is the same principle that I had as a kid: take a bunch of random figurative objects (well, now I get to make them from scratch!) and swirl them in the studio with a bunch of beautiful raw supplies to bounce off of: colorful silk ribbons, bronze charms, strands of crystals, pearls, Linen, Pale Taffeta, Wax, Smokey Glass, Grey-purple Stone, Home-spun brown yarn, old inky text from books… When the objects get kicking against each other, then you get the opportunity to create something new!
The principle of the blessed mess works fairly well in the studio (dig yourself out now and again though!). How could the perfect smokey quartz crystal roll over to land right next to the Encaustic Woman’s torso without it? Yesterday’s crystal insists on being included and begins to recommend the color scheme – and lo, when you reach into the ribbon basket, a grey ribbon with a strange green undertone insists on being included even though you are working in dark Prussian blue. It works! Bless the mess and enjoy the gift!
Oh, and my final secret to being a Mixed Media Artist: pretend you are working, and not playing!