I was delighted to be invited to write a guest post for Britt, who has always been so supportive of my creative projects. A big thanks to her for all her savvy guidance over the years!
I am a mixed media artist, and today I want to share two strategies I use when initiating a new creative project.
1. Create a project bulletin board
When I embark on a new series, one of the first things I do is clear the bulletin board over the primary worktable in my studio. Over time, I fill the bulletin board with my own notes, author quotes, single words, images, and small objects – all of which are connected to the new series. It grows and changes with the project. New items are added, some things are removed, and everything gets reorganized. I love the immediate visibility of the bulletin board. It provides a strong anchor of meaning and inspiration.
Pictured here is my bulletin board as it looks today. There are quotes by Rumi, Terry Tempest Williams, David Whyte, Martha Graham, a feather, a set of angel wings, title ideas scrawled onto Post-its, and more. All of these are fueling my latest series of collages, called Invocations, about the benevolence found in darkness.
2. Find an object that represents your project
When starting a new project, I often choose an object that becomes a symbol for the entire series. I use that object to keep my artwork in the forefront of my mind. For example, with the Invocations series, it is a feather (often propped up inside a nest). In my studio, I have a gold painted feather standing up inside a real bird’s nest in a corner near my main workspace.
I also have a little felted nest filled with wooden eggs that hold up a white feather on the ledge above the kitchen sink in my house, where I can see it every time I do the dishes. In this way, even if I can’t be in the studio all the time, I can still be reminded to think about my creative work. In the past, I have enhanced the symbol further by wearing jewelry with that symbol, or using a rubber stamp with that symbol — basically finding easy ways to keep that symbol close by, and thereby keep the project near me.
I share my thoughts here with the hope that they will be helpful for anyone who is initiating any kind of long-term project. I would love to hear your own ideas too. Please share them in the comments!
A photographer since the age of 14, Mary Daniel Hobson uses mixed media to explore inner geography and layered experience. Whether bottling photographs in mineral oil or creating layered collages, she delights in the tactile and the symbolic. Her work can be found in numerous collections including SFMOMA, the Albuquerque Museum, and the offices of Twitter. She is currently creating work for an exhibit opening mid-October 2016 at the Seager/Gray Gallery in Mill Valley, CA. For more information, please visit marydanielhobson.com.