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Winter's Creative Juices

By Tara Bell

Baby, it’s cold outside, or warm; our polar vortex is swinging wide. Yet, we still call it winter, a time where we might want to hole up in our studios or art corner and create something new, or mundanely work on quantity. We might make a prototype for adding to our inventory, experiment with new materials or patterns or techniques, or stock up on our tried and true creations that everyone seems to love. It is also time to toss the clutter, and kiss abandoned projects good bye, if it doesn’t say something to us.

The grey and tan landscape may inspire us to immerse our work with bright colors, or we could go deep into that muted sky and discover more about colors than we ever dreamed possible.

I imagine my friends on the tour in winter. Perhaps some have wholesale shows or spring galleries to fill, but they may have this time to go deeper into the art, where they dive into what they make. Maybe winter gives them time to pile up those place mats or turn out those salt and pepper shakers. There are the potters with their cold clay, finding new patterns, and glazes. In their finger-less gloves they load the kiln, and take inventory. I think of the fiber workers, moving needles of different sizes, measuring, shuttling, washing the raw fibers and feeding the goats that produced it.

I think of the artists who work in wood in their cold workshops, grinding, machines whirring, and wood chips and saw dust covering every surface. They are carving intricate noses or ears, a mistake is made, and something is cut off and nothing to do but start over. There is a wobbly table to fix, or something that is cracked from the cold and needs to be put aside in a dusty bone pile. I think of the baskets where reed has to be soaked in icy water, or does it have to be warmed? Where dry hands have to shape and turn reed in a new direction. I think of thumb and forefinger resting from the fatigue of scissors, pencils, brushes, metal handles or the countless other tools used in the trade of making.

Then there are the pages turned in books, and magazines of the trade. There are the Museum visits that reveal old patterns of ancient peoples, or photo archives of a faraway landscape or garden that inspire us. Or we could simply look out the kitchen window to start the creative juices that compel us to make.

It’s cold outside… it’s in this season we can contemplate where our art will take us.

Where does your art take you? What do you like making, visiting, or contemplating during these winter days?

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