I've had an ear problem in the last few days which has meant dizziness and a short term inability to sew or paint. So I've been reduced to the internet where touch typing means I can keep my head still!
Most bloggers get the occasional surge in stats - visitors to their site - and I traced a recent one back to a workshop with the title Working In Series. I've heard the term many times of course, but hadn't considered myself as intentionally working in series; in my mind, I was just working!!
Working like this is probably fine for the person doing it, but I guess for the viewer it can be disjointed and lots of different works say nothing about the person making them; their philosophy, themes, concepts, interested topics etc. I suppose you could just about find a theme on botanical subjects, or the colour orange if you really wanted to, but it's a little vague!
Why is that important? Maybe it isn't unless you want to try and push yourself into exhbitions and selling etc. It's much easier to look at, understand, and judge someone's work, if not overwhelmed by disparate variety. Too many choices means it becomes difficult to understand what makes the artist tick, and what they're trying to say.
Working in a series is not boring. It's about allowing yourself explore what's in your mind, to investigate, to think about particular ideas and themes,
to play with compositions, concepts or topics in a far deeper and more
meaningful way. By comparison, a one-off piece of work feels like a brief encounter - a passing moment and nothing more!
This doesn't mean you do the same thing over and over. You find new ways of saying the same things, of making connections between pieces, and ultimately, working in series like this, adds clarity to your work, and people will understand you and hopefully appreciate you more.
Perhaps when your sitting at your machine busily stitching away at a new piece, things come into your mind: "Shall I use this colour thread, should I move that over there, what would happen if I did this, or shall I do this bit in the middle a bit bigger and put something else around the edge?" I'm sure you know what I mean! Why not keep a notebook by the machine, (don't rely on your memory), and write your ideas down the minute they happen. Don't alter the thing you're working on, rather keep the ideas in your book for a new piece of work when you've finished.
If you find working in a series difficult, try choosing a subject -perhaps the coastline, or beetles, or palm trees, anything, and try working on several pieces at the same time, right from the word go. Start with a separate plan for each piece and then stick to the plan and don't jumble your ideas up. Be focused and disciplined.
My original plan for the Life Story series was to do 20 quilts. I often feel like a change would do me good, and I have other plans in the pipeline, but the series will never be finished, and any new topic I investigate, will also be a series. So yes, I guess I do Work In Series, much as I hate the label!!