When I think of my love of art and creativity, my frequent visits to stock up on even more art supplies, and comments about my art work, It frequently brings archetypes into my mind. Artist and Craftsperson are two of the creative archetypes yet they are not the same. For many years I felt frustrated that I couldn’t come up with an original idea as blank pages stared back at me, waiting not so patiently for the first stroke.
I’ve wondered what my individual art style is. Will I find my niche? The style that speaks to me? Or will I continue to ‘try’ on many different styles and mediums as I search for what is uniquely mine? I’ve often said I’d make a good forger. I can copy, modify, and embelish, but to start from scratch in art is problematic. In all honesty I don’t even know what it is I want to paint or draw. I just know I want and need to do something, to explore and see what I can achieve. It frustrates me that I seem to spend much of my time organising, planning and reading rather than just the doing, as I have an intense driving need to create – something!
That is until I learnt about Archetypes and the differences between them. The Creator is one who comes up with original ideas but rarely follows them through. The ideas person. It is an intellectual process rather than an action process. The Artist creates and takes action with an original idea. Blank pages are rapidly filled with images, flowing easily from mind to pencil or brush across the page. In the mind of the artist the finished product is concrete. They know what it is they are creating. Well obviously neither of these archetypes relate to me. The storytellers and creative writers are much like the Artist, innovative and creative as words flow from their mouth and pen with ease and fictional stories emerge rapidly.
Then there’s the Craftsperson, the Artisan (as opposed to the Artist). When exploring the differences in these archetypes I was asked, what crafts do you do? Well, my immediate reply was, “what do I NOT do!” Ah, THERE is the Craftsperson. As I began to rattle off, then run through my mind, all the crafts I have tried over my lifetime, I amaze my self as the very long list. Definitely a Craftsperson, and in fact one in a rather long line of Craftswomen in my family. In fact I had little say in being introduced to craft as a child, given my Christmas and Birthday presents from my grandmother and aunts were usually craft kits of one type or another. Of course observing my mothers many and varied talents and projects also impacted immensely.
I am often reminded by my parents of my intense desire and constant asking for a kit to build a model horse. It had to be a kit, I did not want the finished model, and it had to be a palomino with a long flowing mane. My middle brother frequently reminds others of how he was dragged into assisting me when I went through a passion for cold enameling. Mainly because I stuck a drill bit through his thumb and caused him to faint. Of course my home has always been filled with the craft projects that Ive completed.
And there is the key word, Project. Craftspeople must have at least one, if not many, projects on the go. For us it is often about the process of creating. The challenge to create something, to test our skills, hone techniques. The need to gather vast information in an almost endless field of creative pursuits. Within crafts there is a pattern to follow. The page isn’t blank. There is always a starting point. Unlike the Artist, originality lies within the creative source to put our own mark, our own variation into each piece. We create for pleasure and functionality. We don’t create for mass production, for mass produced crafts of a variation on one theme shifts into business archetypes where financial gain becomes the driving force of handicrafts.
As a Craftsperson, materials and supplies are vital. Only the best functioning, every possible type. I guess this enables the opportunity to create, to blend, mix and explore once the basic materials have bern gathered and the initial process has been learnt. Then I can branch out and create within the fields, trying different processes and ideas. So now I understand why my art desk is as it is. Every type of pen, pencil, brush, paper and paint. Well almost. I like to flit between pencil, paint, colour. I like to try and master one aspect then move on to another. And therein lies the other explanation … “Jack of all trades, Master of none”. For I can turn my hand to almost anything art and craft related EXCEPT come up with an original idea. I need the creator or artist to supply an idea or suggestion, and let it slide around my mind and being. Only then will my creative inspirations kick in, take hold, engage and allow me to ‘produce’. Tho not always as I initially plan. For it is constantly a learning process.
For the craftsperson, it is the planning, information gathering, materials and supply gathering, setting up, the space creating that is vital before the craft can even begin. So now I understand why I have a rather large library of books on art. Why I constantly search new supplies. Indeed why I search for the perfect tool to ply the particular craft that has gained my interest. Why I cant put pen to paper and draw easily. Why I haven’t found the one style that says me. Because there isnt one style nor original ideas for me. It’s not who I am, because I am not an Artist, I am a Craftsperson. And here is where I learn to breathe and accept and take off back into my currently consuming projects.