I love a good documentary! So I've compiled a list of my top five favorite documentaries about the art world, how perception paves the way for art, prices art, how art is born and shared. While these are not related to wire wrapping, directly, there's certainly a correlation between the same sentiments expressed here in these films and the world of wire wrapping or any creative endeavor. Many can be viewed or purchased on YouTube, or on Netflix, though one was a HBO special, and I'm not sure on its current availability.
The Price of Everything: In a world where everything can be bought and sold, this documentary takes a bold look at how we value our own time, the time of others and where are values become skewed due to the perception of ownership and exclusivity.
My Kid Could Paint That: An eye-opening and daring portrait of how we might sometimes paint our own reality to suit our perceptions of art and its value.
Blurred Lines: Inside the Art World: Asks us to question whether or not the art world is more a multi-million dollar industry to feed the egos of the rich.
Exit Through the Gift Shop: One of my favorites on this list, as it's essentially (in my estimation) a Banksy prank, by Banksy, perhaps even mocking his own popularity and the absurd propensity of the public to ascribe value to everything.
Marina Abramovic- The Artist is Present: If there was one artist I would love to meet in person, it would be Marina Abramovic. The Artist is Present details her performance art career and exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art. Moving and compelling.
The creative community, especially in a digital era, is an incredible thing. It's a collective sentience from which a world of spirits conjoin to feed the whole. During the last ten years, I've been incredibly lucky and blessed to have experienced some unbelievably positive communications and friendships as a result of my presence and interaction within a creative online forum (in one capacity or another). And I can happily assert that the positive far outweighs the negative, at least when drawing from my own experiences.
But there is a worm working its way through the essence of our communal purpose.
Perhaps it's always been there, this bit of darkness, and it's only the ever-growing digital world that allows it a stage for its play. But I'm concerned, folks. Truly. I run a large wire wrapping Facebook group, with over 26k members (and counting) and, while the majority of the interactions are (thankfully) super helpful, positive and from a place of growth and inspiring creative spirit, there's an alarming amount of negativity. And, having thought about it for some time now, I'm confident in my theories regarding its source.
In essence, self-doubt breeds ugliness. Because there's an undeniable need to tear others down to lift ourselves up. It's easier to see ourselves as better than we believe ourselves to be, when we convince others they are somehow less. In the last week, I've seen individuals criticize (and I have a very strong opinion against offering unsolicited advice or critical commentary) the work of others, for no other reason than to hear themselves talk. Because, ultimately, criticisms are only beneficial when shared in a manner that is empowering. This social skill, like any other, must be learned.
In the creative community, when does serving our own interests justify questionable behavior? If everyone doesn't leave an interaction having been empowered, even if only a little, then there's no justification at all. It's not "helpful" to make any of the above statements, and I honestly and sincerely question the motivations of those who believe otherwise.
It's time we, as a whole, take a moment. Stop and think about how our opinions, and how we chose to express those opinions, affect others. We can no longer enable this behavior, nor foster an atmosphere in which it's more acceptable to say "Well you posted it online, so you should expect people to tell you they don't like it" than to say "I can't wait to see your next creation" or, if you can't or wont indulge in false compliments, say nothing at all. It's time we recognize that because we can offer an opinion doesn't mean we should, and it's important to understand the needs of those sharing their work before we commit to our comments to them.
Words have power. And this power is motivated by either negative or positive intention. Will you chose to use your power to diminish others, or lift them up?
One way in which I keep my space organized is, quite frankly (and much to the chagrin of many, I imagine) to limit what I own and what I purchase. As I've mentioned in previous blog posts, minimalism is a way of living I admire and to which I aspire. And this is by no means a judgement on those who surround themselves with supplies, who have rooms full of their hobbies and crafts, which spill out over dining tables and through hallways. Because, ultimately, we can only do what serves our spirit and our spaces in the best possible ways for the individual, and not the expectations of others.
But, if you're cramped for space, looking to minimalize or otherwise want to give a face lift to your work room or studio, my first suggestion (and probably the hardest to follow) is to limit and reduce your supplies, and keep only what can reasonably be used in a 6-12 month window. While I truly recognize how difficult this can be (we all love shiny things, I know), one way to help yourself stay organized is to allot a specified space for your supplies and commit to the limitations that space demands. I have two storage centers in my living room (aka studio) and do not buy supplies or tools that cannot fit reasonably well within them. Once those tools or supplies begin to spill out into other areas of my home, I pause, take stock, and reduce and re-home what's not be used in the last 6 months.
Small spaces also require quite a bit of compartmentalizing and creative storage solutions When tools and materials must share limited drawer or cabinet space, using storage bags, boxes, baskets or containers can mean the difference between chaos and calm. If you have a three-drawer storage chest, but fifteen different hobbies, dividing these supplies in boxes or bags, within each drawer, helps itemize what you have. When you shuffle through a drawer full of acrylic paints because you need the knitting needles you had no other room for, you not only waste precious creative time, but you also risk distracting yourself from a creative task by the inevitable pull of other supplies and hobbies within sight.
Better still, these (or some variation thereof) are available in a variety of colors, so you can easily color code your supplies! Tan bag for hammers, red bag for torch supplies, blue bag for saws, blades, files and cutters., black bag for beads. Reach for what you need without the distraction of a table top full of tools!
So, I invite you to peruse my studio tour below, see my space, what I find important enough for my process to store, and how I store them!
Happy organizing everyone!
What's a depth year, you ask?
Well, first, I'll say I wish I could share with you the origin story of this idea, but sadly I don't know. The concept has been passed from pillar to post so often that I'm afraid I couldn't track down its roots. I happened across this challenge through a YouTube tag, first within the tarot community and then within the planner community, so it's made quite a show online these last few years.
The premise is basically this: "go deeper, not wider". And, by that, I mean delve deep into the things you have that bring you joy and feed your spirit, without the distraction of new hobbies or material possessions. This isn't about deprivation, however. While a depth year often involves a "no spend" or "low spend" ideology, I consider it more a "conscious spending" exercise. I enjoy purchasing and owning the jewelry and work of other artists. This, for me, is an act of conscious spending. As a creative solepreneur myself, I understand the importance of the kind of support I offer to those sharing their work with the world. While I may not need that new pendant I've been eyeballing on Facebook, the act of purchasing and owning it helps feed my spirit by contributing to the creative cycle between small business owners.
So, while I may continue to support the art of others as resources allow, I will be otherwise limiting my purchases. I have rolls and rolls of wire, containers of beads and stones, and while my collection may pale in comparison to others, I have oodles with which to experiment. I have an electroforming and electroplating tool, purchased two months ago, that has yet to be used, so do I really need that new tabletop kiln and copper clay kit? Absolutely not. There's so much to experiment with, such a vast array of possibilities, even with my limited supply, that I could easily go the year without a single supplies purchase, and still find joy in the creations to come.
And this wont just extend to business. While I would love that striking new Schmincke watercolor palette, I have to recognize I've barely made the time to sketch at all in the last three months. And that new Filofax Maldren planner is stunning, but I have two Hobonichis sitting here with empty pages. And don't get me started on the Kindle books I've yet to read, the clothes or purses I've yet to put to use, the growing tarot deck collection that has been shamefully under-utilized and under-appreciated.
It's time to go deep with what I have, to learn to love what I have and seek further only those things which bring me joy (as Marie Kondo would say). And, perhaps, to love myself a little more as well, and appreciate my own company while also learning to love the experiences and moments I'm able to share with others.
So I've begun with my traditional New Year's deep clean. I cleaned my home and purged what's no longer serving me. I organized my work space, re-homed unused tarot decks, and donated purses and clothes I've never appreciated. And I'm journaling. I'm planning and journaling and creating a soul connection with this process that is feeding my spirit in the best possible ways. I'm digging deep into my own shadows, pulling them into the light one by one, examining my spending, enjoying what I own, and consciously purchasing from those whose work sparks joy.
While it may not be an easy exercise, I believe it will be rewarding.
So, happy Depth Year to all of you! If this is something that lights a fire for you, I'd love to hear about your own #depthyear journey in the comments below!
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