Last Easter we had a family gathering at my Sister’s house. In addition to the pleasure gained from getting together as a family, it was an opportunity to enjoy her exquisite cooking. As well as being a fantastic cook my Sister has a mean eye for antiques and quirky artefacts. An auctioneer for many years, her passion for antiques began as a child with a collection of buttons curated at home into a permanent exhibition on the ping-pong table.
Recently I’ve been experimenting with digital collage for my T-shirt designs and cards. So, after Easter lunch – ever on the alert for novel materials – my eyes alighted on the button collection with renewed interest. I took lots of photographs with a view to using them for my digital designs.
Some beautiful diamante buttons were part of the inspiration for the T-shirt and card design shown here. I’d also been looking at some drawings of shoes that I admired, so I resolved to make a shoe collage. I began scanning and photographing favourite pieces of fabric, beads and ribbons to go with the lovely buttons. I drew an elegant high heeled shoe and played about with the materials and colours in Photoshop until I was satisfied with the result. I then had fun with alliterative references to footwear, feet, fashion, fantasy etc. and used the words to make a border.
I frequently ponder how creative people keep the flow going and of course, how to manage this myself. Some creative people seem to have an endless supply of new ideas whilst others have fallow patches that can even lead to despair. I’ve heard that David Hockney never appears to run out of ideas – still getting excited as a child with his new projects. A good friend who is a graphic designer, says her creative process needs to be nourished and stimulated by getting away from her usual environment and seeing new things in shops, galleries, magazines. It’s similar for me but sometimes it’s just about having my eyes open in a different way.
Bringing the concepts to fruition is another part of the process. My yoga helps me because it’s a daily discipline that’s entirely self-motivated. In the past, I’ve completed commissions for artwork but these days making my art is largely self-motivated. It isn’t something I can just switch on though because I’ve got a couple of hours to spare – it requires a particular focus and mindset. My graphic designer friend has some rituals around getting into work mode that includes chewing wine gums. A writer friend also says she needs to eat sweets to get the words to flow. I’ve never smoked a cigarette in my life but sometimes when I’m drawing I get a strange feeling that a fag in my mouth would assist the process! Perhaps I was a cigarette smoking artist in a previous life…
So now you know how ‘Fab not Drab – Fanciful Footwear’ got created!
(Available as T-shirts, Hoodies or Greetings Card from Red Bubble )