I read something that Susie Monday, from El Cielo Studio, wrote on May 1, that has had me pondering for some days now:
What would take me to the next level in my work, without just being a “technique of the moment.” I suspect it might take me deeper into the world of precision, or sewing, or traditional quilting. I’d like something demanding and stretching, something that challenges but contributes validly to my path and work.
“Technique of the moment” is an excellent way of describing those techniques that may suit someone else, but just don’t work for you. The trick is deciphering the difference between not working, and needing time to master. Some things aren’t worth spending time on. Others deserve a lot of practice and dedication because they will, ultimately, be so worth it!
I have come to certain conclusions about this question of how to take my work to a “higher” level. It is vital to constantly hone the techniques that I have come to learn, through practice, are effective vehicles for me. But they are only vehicles–they are the means for putting my ideas, impressions, and insights into my work. So it is important that I nurture my mind and spirit. I endeavor to be clear about my intent, to practice methods that allow me to be as aware, awake, and receptive as I can. I purposefully read. I enjoy passionate dialogue. I look for the symbolic meaning in what is happening around me–in my dreams, in my encounters with others, in the world at large. And I work at trusting that what I am receiving, generating, thinking, is worthy of revealing to the world. In other words, I seek to make a habit of loving and respecting my self.
These are the kinds of steps that I believe are needed to ascend to that esteemed “next level,” or that place of greater depth, clarity, and mastery that we, as artists, yearn for our work to reflect.