Some New Advice for a New Year

(The divine Ms. Carmen Miranda)

I've got my work cut out for me as I head into the New Year. Three major design projects are all standing shoulder to shoulder and gawking at me slack jawed and sans inspiration shuffling their feet and sighing deeply. Rattling around in my brain are the seeds of some ideas that are, of course, fraught with potential for craftastrophic events. Most of what I do is challenge the impossible, stretch the acceptable and defy the laws of physics. My process is akin to that of a mad scientist. I get an idea and then I do whatever it takes to make that idea coalesce into a tangible design.

There are threads that run through my work...but for me, for the most part, each new design is a unique entity with a specific aesthetic and core concept. My eclecticism is my strength as a designer and on the flip side it is my greatest challenge. That's usually the way it works. Most artists have a very distinct style you can point to and say...oh that's so and so. My work doesn't have that continuity. My brain simply doesn't work that way. It's constantly moving at the speed of light in multiple directions. I may riff on a theme for a while, but eventually I get bored and move on. I truly love so many many styles of design, art, music, decor, cuisine, all excites and inspires me. If there is one definitive thread in my work I think it's the narrative element. I love to tell stories. I like to create a collection of thematically related concepts and then when the story is full developed, move on to a new story.

It's important to develop your style, your sense of who you are and what you're trying to say with your work. If you're influenced by other artists (and no matter what anyone tells you, we all are) then you need to create a dialog and not just create derivative concepts that lack any of your special sauce. If you look at the work of other artists and think, "Crap...I'll never do that." You're right. So what?! What is it about you that makes you unique, extraordinary, fabulously you? What resonates for you visually...viscerally? What can you do that no one else can?

Wild thing, what makes your heart sing?

The more you can tap into that vein...the deeper, richer and more fascinating your work will become. The more you can allow yourself to dance on the edge, to risk looking ridiculous and to leave the safety of the same old crapadoodle, the better. I often look at craft magazines, blogs and books and feel as if everyone is drinking the same design Kool-Aid. The first time you see a new idea you think, "Wow, that's cool." After a while of seeing that same idea being played ad infinitum you think, "Ugh, that again?" You can mine what's 'hot' for some inspiration, but then let that go or you'll just be another face in the crowd.

Create without filters my fine friends. Color outside of the lines. Spit in the face of convention. Forget the rules. Risk, dare, dream. Live out loud. People will probably point and laugh...but so what. I spent a good portion of my youth being laughed at and making myself smaller. Then I said, "Fuck it." Yeah, I did.

Now who's laughing?!

My goal here is to inspire you to let go of the need to fit in and to become you. I don't always get it right and I'm on my journey too...but I try my best to be transparent.

Your mission in life is to become you. Your life is a process of becoming. Take this New Year by the you know whats and go for it! You may not feel comfortable, but you'll feel the unbridled zeal of being fully and completely free.

Become you and on the way, share that with others. That's the point. Create a life of abundance. Pass it on.

Carpe Gaudium. Seize joy.



Robin Norgren, M.A, R-YT, Spiritual Director said...

sound advice and a good kickoff for my new year's intentions.

Marcia DeCoster said...

Well said, and an inspiration, thanks!

Anonymous said...

Wise words of advice my friend! And as always so well put. Have a wonderful New Year!

Carpe Gaudium! Indeed!


TesoriTrovati said...

I feel a strange kinship with you my craftastic sister from another land. You speak what my soul is shouting so loudly I may be going internally deaf. You be you. That is the best advice ever. I love that your personal style is shifting and morphing and becoming at all times. I have that same thing. I would rather that someone says of something they have of mine that it so totally THEM, not so totally me. I don't think that I have a distinct style because that would get boring pretty quick. I want to push the envelope, dance in the moonlight, totter on the edge and then soar. Right into my own personal fabulosity.
Thanks for always sharing your unique inspiration and encouraging others.
Enjoy the day!

stephenie said...

great post - well done Margot, my dear, well done!

Margot Potter said...

I've said it before and I'll say it again...I know the coolest women!


Hali Chambers said...

LOVE, LOVE LOVE this! You ROCK! HAPPY New Year, Sweetie! :-) H.

Tammy said...

A great mantra for 2010!

Unknown said...

happy new year!!! great words to kick off 2010!! xoxox!

Molly Smith said...

WOW! I wish you were my neighbor and I could come visit you any time :) If I ever have doubt, all I have to do is come read something you've written! Thanks for your time and words of wisdom all year long, Margot!

Happy and safe 2010!

hugs xo

Gabriela said...

Happy New Year Margot,

Love this post...

All the best to you,

~ Gabriela ~

Eileen The Artful Crafter said...

Wonderful words of wisdom. Thank you, Madge!

I'm an eclectic artist too and I think that has a lot to do with our struggle to see ourselves as artists.

Just a month ago, I had one of those "aha!" moments when I looked back and realized I've been earning a living as an artist for 12 years now.

So, quite clearly I'm a bona fide artist. What a nice feeling.

dymphna said...

this is exactly what I am working on at this time in my life. Your post gave me a boost and reminded me to keep going, I'm on the right track.