This weekend I had an Austin Kleon marathon. I purchased his new book Friday night but before I allowed myself to crack the pages even a teensy bit I did a thorough rereading of his first book,
It was my third reading of this book and it was pretty amazing but in a whole new way from my first two times around. This time I was finally able to see his concepts at play in my own work, especially this newest project I've got myself into.
Chapter 1 is titled the same as the book, "Steal Like an Artist," and deals with the concept that nothing is an "original" piece of work. Rather, every creation that comes into being is a reworking of the numerous influences the creator has allowed into his or her life (a.k.a. stolen!) Upon completion, an honest critique of the work would be able to detect the history of influences from which it evolved and yet still find it to be unique in it's execution.
If you think about it, such a reconfiguration is not that different from the process of making a patchwork quilt. A stash of fabrics is collected, bits and pieces are cut from them, and in the process of assembling them together with needle and thread something new is created. It may contain snippets of the sweetest new print from MODA just as thousands of other quilts will. It may use an age old block pattern that many a pioneer woman treasured. And what about the motif of those quilting stitches...straight lines, cross hatching, feathers, in the ditch?
All been done before.
never in the exact way you did!
I've realized now how much of a patchwork of influences this new project of mine truly is.
From books and authors I love,
to artists I admire.
Sewing pastimes old and new.
Bluebirds, baskets, and bits from the past.
My wee wooden friends of course.
And last but not least, my own past work without which I never would have arrived
where I am today.