mix it up

cedarbarkbasket
first cedar bark basket by Susan Gehringer (2015)

Currently my predominant medium is fiber. To be more specific: yarn, and to be even more specific wool yarn. It’s a lot of fun and I have a blast designing. Knowing the materials and how they will perform under certain conditions allows me to visualize a work before I ever put yarn on needles. To keep the creative juices flowing I find that it’s invigorating to add other media into the mix. In the past, I’ve explored glass, metal, other fiber-related media including fabric, ink, paint, photography, nature, found objects, and more–yes, this is definitely the sign of a dabbler–but I continually come back to yarn. To get a fresh perspective, I mix in other media.

I’ve always admired baskets and basket-makers but it never really clicked on the personal production side. My hands and brain weren’t ready to come together and create a work that was satisfying. Recently, I took a cedar bark basket class from Heidi Bohan (Gatherer to Gardener programs), and everything just seemed to click–the materials, the process, the instruction, the result–everything. It was inspiring and gave me ideas for design work that I wouldn’t have otherwise discovered.

bloomtrue_painting1
Decisions by Susan Gehringer (2015)

A few months ago, I participated in a painting workshop — really it was a creative retreat: Flora Bowley’s bloom true workshop — that helped me break through some boundaries. Changing the media added a new perspective to my work, enabled me to explore in a way that only happens when the media is familiar but not a part of every day use. Being surrounded with a group of people doing the same basic thing but all in their own ways was a big part of it and added another layer to the process.

So, the moral of the story — go try something new! Mix up the media. Add community into the mix. Learn from amazing teachers. Then, incorporate it into your own work.

tagline life is a creative adventure

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