I owe so much of my current creative freedom, joy and passion to the inspiration and principles I learnt under the guidance of Jeff and Julie Crabtree. It was then that I truly began to understand the value of being holistic in my practice- to care for myself emotionally, psychologically, physically and spiritually, how to be well in the world and in relationships. This place of stability and strength has provided a grounding that allows my imagination to soar, and helps me apply the self -discipline that allows my craft to grow.
In this holistic sensibility, I learnt that I am not separate from myself as an artist. My identity is bigger than that, it includes the artist-self but is not limited to it. So if I perceive that a piece of work “fails” or a risk I take falls flat, it is not me that fails, I am not a failure. Likewise, if I perceive a work’s success, I am part of that but not dependant upon the validation and affirmation that this “success” brings. In all ways, I am still simply human.
I learnt the principles of art as a language, as a means of communication. By sharing my creative self and my art, I engage in the language and connect with others in deeper way. Now I create with an intention of opening up questions, leaving space for connections, and for the thoughts and opinions of others. I now find joy in this uncertainty and lack of control. I have learnt to “live the questions.”
To question what beauty is, to question the balance between “product” and “process”, to question the stories I am telling and why I find them interesting or important, to question everything in a lifestyle of curiosity, which feeds the imagination with wonder, compassion and magic, and to listen to that small still voice, that quiet message that guides us to the heart of true creativity.
“It is what it is”, is a little phrase of Jeff’s that I still carry in my back pocket- it gives me freedom and permission to continuously take risks and be faithful to the visions and dreams of my creativity, no matter the outcome.