I've been thinking lately about my work, and the various levels of daily challenge that goes into making it. 'Make it better' is one of the driving forces behind what I do - I'm always looking for more self-involved ways to produce my work, and the more elements I can make individual, the more pleased I am with the results.
Lately I've become interested in stepping up the level of involvement I have in my ingredients. I've always dyed my fabrics to get the look right and I've experimented with hammered metal and rust patinas, but the new house gives me more space in the studio as well as a backyard, which means I can explore more options. I intend to implement things such as solder work, metalsmithing, woodwork, glass bead making (by studying the video below) and ceramics.
I'm approaching these techniques in a very primitive grass-roots way; I figure if the ancient people of the world were able to make gorgeous things without expensive tools or equipment, I should be able to figure it out! (much like Jeremy Clarkson, I live by the mantra 'how hard can it be'.) i don't intend to buy expensive electric kilns, nor do I intend to work with material that is new- most of the impetus for this in the first place is finding new ways to recycle existing resources.
history of beads (click the pic above to enlarge)
I'm not so much interested in the fine delicate work of Egyptian goldsmiths or the perfect inlays of ancient china. What I'm looking for is that rough tribal dimension- the amateur's techniques that must always be echoed in my work. I hope to eventually achieve a point where 99% of my work is self-made components.