Serena and I found each other on Instagram and instantly connected with each other. We are both all about supporting creatives through their journey. Serena is a former jewelry maker who discovered other forms of art- drawing, sculpting, painting, etc- as a result. She started Sirensfinds as a way of encouraging other creatives through rough patches in their journeys. I am a self-taught fabric artist who starting creating in 1998 but has been making art every day since April 2015. No matter what you are creating, we all share some of the same moments of self-doubt and lack of motivation. By sharing our stories we can help each other.
We decided to interview each other.
What are you currently working on?
Serena: Mainly, I’m working on expanding Sirensfinds so I cover more subjects and topics regarding life and creativity as a whole.
My “side project” is turning some of my smaller sketch ideas into patterns and prints…we’ll see how that goes.
Kathleen: I have two main focuses. My daily art and my weekly writing. Every day I make a 6" fabric art square and then sew every 25 days of that series together into a larger square art quilt. My current fabric art series is called Earth. This series is part of my Four Elements series. I continue to write a weekly article on creativity about finding inspiration and creative habits.
Why have you selected this medium?
Serena: For the site, I noticed a lot of people throw the terms creative and creativity around, but there’s not as much encouragement for those in creative fields to keep going. Rather than feeding the idea that creativity is some elusive magic and when it’s gone it’s gone, I wanted to offer help & tips to maintain and further skills and motivation.
Kathleen: I started making fabric art in 1998. I was drawn to the tactile nature of fabric and all the colors! I taught myself how to sew and quilt. It was just one of those things that kept coming to me like you should try this. I'm glad I followed that instinct because I absolutely love working in this medium. As for writing, I started teaching fabric art and creativity classes a few years ago and had built up a lot of material from my lesson plans and people's questions. It seems like a natural next step to just start writing and share my thoughts in hopes of helping other people.
Do you have a routine? How did your creative routine develop?
Serena: Kind of. My creative routine is jumping into a project with everything I have—even if I haven’t got much to start on. If I plan I’ll fuss over details and discourage myself entirely. Rather than that, I choose a project at the start of the day and see what I can get done. I'll track my progress throughout so I can see how far I’ve come, where I made mistakes (or good choices!) and how I can fix or prevent them in the future.
Kathleen: I find I work best with a schedule. I generally make my fabric art square around the same time. I generally draft and finalize my weekly article on certain days of the week. By following this no-nonsense schedule it takes some of the drama out of the creative pressure for me. It's what I do...like doing the dishes, making coffee. I always had aspired to have a routine but I wasn't forced to do it until I committed to the 100 Day Project back in 2015. As part of this project, I had to create and post something on Instagram every day. It makes you think seriously about a routine so you can maintain this pace.
What sort of things do you sift through when you get stuck?
Serena: Books are my go-to when I’m stuck. Reading someone else's ideas, worlds, or characters, helps me to think differently and use different eyes when looking at my own projects. Otherwise I scour Pinterest, Tumblr, and Instagram for visual inspiration.
Kathleen: Creating every day forces you to be on the lookout for inspiration. I call it inspiration hunting. Being a visual person, I look to other visual media like Instagram, art books and Museum websites. Right now, I am in a huge abstract expressionist phase. I often look to the landscape around me and break it into elemental geometric shapes like my Four Elements series. I keep a notebook in my digital Evernote account full of design and color ideas. That's where I go when I'm stuck.
Why do you share your work through social media?
Serena: Being a part of a community is very important in staying inspired and motivated. Social media lets me widen my sources of inspiration as well as troubleshoot and network with people who are out of my physical reach. Different minds and experiences are fantastic sources for criticism and encouragement which are key factors in me fine tuning projects.
Kathleen: I feel inspiration is a two-way street. I look to the other Instagram artists to fuel me up and get me to think differently about color and composition. It feels like the right thing to post my work and give back in hopes of inspiring other people with my writing and my art to develop creative habits that bring them joy.
We are going to post another interview In August with more details about our respective daily creative challenges.