Tapestry of Talents: Bringing Your Whole Voice to Your Craft


Tapestry of Talents: Bringing Your Whole Voice to Your Craft

Exploring the possibilities for us to bring all our diverse interests & skills into the art we create.

Members: 52
Latest Activity: Sep 1, 2014

The Renaissance Man

Welcome to my new Crafthaus group. In this forum I will explore how artists who also have skills in other disciplines, art related or not, can harness and express our various talents through our chosen professional art form. If you are a painter, actor, musician, philosopher, botanist, or whatever, sharing the same body with the craft-artist in your mirror, you can combine these talents and express them through your work. If the possibilities of this interest you...let's get started.

First, let's define who we are. A "Renaissance man", or polymath, is someone who is proficient at many different skills, usually both arts and sciences. Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo, Pythagoras, and Ben Franklin to name but a few are great examples. These men set the bar very high because they were gifted, if not genuine genius, and were proficient in science, education, art, philosophy and sociology in their day. Without having to reach that high, I think a lot of artists are "Renaissance people" on a much smaller scale than such historic greats.

I am a silver sculptor, flutemaker & designer, published novelist, airplane pilot, parent/grandparent-guardian(underrated skill if ever there was), and amateur foil fencer. I have a passion for quantum physics and wrote my own theory on the origins of time. I've created web pages, stop-motion animation, edited films, written movie scripts & TV pilots and taught creative writing. I play a few instruments and sing in the shower. In past years I was an elected public official, fund-raised almost a million dollars for a library renovation, ran a presidential candidate’s local office, and fought the waste industry to protect my town. I've traveled the length and breadth of the Milky Way in my imagination and breathed in so much gold dust off my bench that my family will probably have my remains cremated by a refinery. One thing I'm not good at is being a commercial success in my own right (we’ll touch on that in a future post).

I’m sure if you wrote down your varied accomplishments and life experiences you’d have as busy a list as mine. The sum of who you are as an artist is much more than the work you do at your bench. Of course, our art already reflects who we are, but there is much more we can bring to our work. How to sizzle them all up in the same pan will be the challenge I put forward to this group.

I hope you'll join in and contribute to the conversation with your thoughts, ideas, experiences, and suggestions.

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Comment by Brigitte Martin on August 4, 2013 at 12:18pm

I hope this serves as an encouragement to keep making beautiful and unusual instruments.

Comment by Roxy Lentz on April 13, 2013 at 7:04am

I am always sorry for people who say they have no idea what to do if they retire. I could be 50 people, and still need more to get done all the things I want to do. 

Comment by Ann Thompson on April 4, 2013 at 6:25am

I'm actually wondering if the reviewer had an agenda of his own.

So far there hasn't been much reaction to this review by the arts community and he completely omitted the part about her exhibition including a community art component about climate change with the public which I think changes the tone of her exhibit quite a bit from a cerebral exercise to a participatory  event that is more accesible.

I'm wondering if she did have a job related to meteorology -or something in the science field-would her work be viewed differently even if she approached it the same way?

As a TED Global Fellow she's been exposed to harsher critics than this one from Maine so it's interesting that he's prepared to call her a fraud! Maybe it's actually TED he has problems with.

Comment by Ann Thompson on April 3, 2013 at 3:34pm

Here's her TED profile:

a href="http://www.ted.com/speakers/nathalie_miebach.html>">http://www.ted.com/speakers/nathalie_miebach.html>;

Comment by 2Roses on April 3, 2013 at 2:31pm

Ann, the article might be more germane to this discussion if the artist in question was also a practicing cartologist, musician or meteorologist. Simply referencing different disciplines in one's work does not make one a polymath, nor does it make the work interdisciplinary, in our humble opinion. For example, if the work had also played music we would consider that to be interdisciplinary. That said, we are certainly aghast at the critic's sense of entitlement to publicly trash this artist's work. We'd love to see a public rebuttal.

Comment by Ann Thompson on April 3, 2013 at 1:58pm

Sorry! Here's a better link.

a href="http://www.pressherald.com/life/audience/exciting-sculptures-but-blizzards-artist-is-too-clever-by-half_2013-03-31.html>">http://www.pressherald.com/life/audience/exciting-sculptures-but-bl...;

Comment by Ann Thompson on April 3, 2013 at 1:52pm

This review appeared recently in the Portland Press Herald and I'm wondering what people might think of it. Is there a danger in creating interdisciplinary work in satisfying both audiences? Does it matter?

a href="http://www.pressherald.com/life/audience/exciting-sculptures-but-blizzards-artist-is-too-clever-by-half_2013-03-31.html>">http://www.pressherald.com/life/audience/exciting-sculptures-but-bl...;

Comment by 2Roses on April 3, 2013 at 9:59am

It didn't take long for the subject of finances to come up in this conversation, and we are glad that it did. Insisting on getting paid for our expertise is a core principle of our diversity and approach to applying our creativity. We have expertise in a number of fields and that expertise has value as demonstrated by people's willingness to pay us for said expertise. 

We are well aware that this sounds mercenary to some in our field, as if we are chasing money. Nothing could be further from the truth. We are conducting ourselves like a business.

We are also practicing self-respect, and not devaluing ourselves, as if the ability to engage in multidisciplinary work is inherently a failure to focus on one thing - witness the old saw "Jack of all trades".

Comment by Emanuela Aureli on April 3, 2013 at 9:37am

greetings to all, just started following this group and looking forward to the discussion. i have been making jewelry for the last 30+ years, but have been involved in several other things, like painting and video/installation work (yes, installation with jewelry...).

reading david's (ford/forlano art jewelry) recent post reminded me of all the old vhs and super 8 and 16mm film i shot oh so many years ago and always wanted to convert to digital....and actually watch them all again. it was mostly sculpture installation, with video stills and cables, lots of them all over the floor...

Comment by Norsola Johnson on April 3, 2013 at 7:21am

Thank you for creating this group John... the problem of how to meld my myriad passions and experiences into a somewhat cohesive whole has plagued me for ages.

I'm a Jill of many trades.. perhaps too many. My circuitous route has thus far taken me from ballet to production to rock show promotion to 'cello to composing to metalsmithing, and innumerable forks here and there including photography, climbing, design and bicycle repair. My latest endeavour has been a return to school -- a BFA program in computation arts, combining art of all forms with technology (programming, electronics, robotics, etc). My hope in enrolling in the program was that it would be a meeting point for all my past experiences and interests, but so far it has only added new ones to the ever-growing list. Commercial success has eluded me too, as has pretty much any semblance of financial security.

And though fencing isn't on my list,  I'm now most inspired to give it a try!


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