Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Interview with Diane Ericson

Diane Ericson, in front of a mud wall in Taos. She finds inspiration in clay and straw wall surfaces such as these.

As mentioned last week, I am attending Design Outside the Lines in Taos, New Mexico this September. Marcy Tilton and Diane Ericson lead this creative retreat and I thought it would be interesting to interview each of them specifically about their creative process. I posted Marcy's responses a few days ago, and here are Diane's.

It is fascinating to get a glimpse at the inside of a highly creative mind. I loved Diane's responses and they have given me a lot to think about. I will definitely refer to these again.

Thanks so much, Diane!

For further info:

How do you define creativity?

  • What is clear to me is that it is not a THING we do....but HOW we do EVERYTHING! Wow...just think about that. It is like the glasses you wear to see everything clearly....the view each of us has on the world. I know it has always lived in my most intuitive place—showing itself to me daily in new and playful ways. I am ever so grateful to be living and growing from all those layers below the surface.

Describe an early experience, when you connected to your creative self or realized that you were creative? Do you have an early creative memory that is noteworthy?

  • I spent a good amount of my childhood in the canyon behind my house growing up in rural San Diego. I wrote poetry, enjoyed my animals, and learned about the world by drawing and making things from the natural materials I found wonderous around me. Besides being an avid fort maker...I dug clay and made my own dishes...and even made a baby papoose carrier from woven sticks and canvas. I guess that might be considered an early 'bag 'project! The older I get, the greater the link I feel to that time and what it calls up in me now.

Creativity is fed by play. What is your favorite form of play these days?

  • I am in major mulching mode these days. Clearing, slashing and burning my way through my materials and closet! Okay...not really burning—but I am relentless in my attack as the stuff of my life rolls back and forth like the tide.....taunting me. Is there more the next day!?!...or is it just my imagination!? I wonder on some days, but I do need to keep the process in the play category in order to find something magic in the process. The goal is making space for the new to come into. I never question if it WILL happen, the challenge is keeping some of the distractions at bay, so it CAN happen.

When the mojo is wilting, how do you jump start it?

  • Change my routine. In fact, the minute it looks like I have one...I start to feel confined. Last week I started back to a weekly figure drawing session with a model. This gets the week going and gives me a playground that although I am familiar with, there is always a new way to explore it on paper. I always seem to crack open to another level when I start to get bored. Even if figure drawing is not a priority in your process...I encourage you to see if it is a place to play. I feel it is a core experience no matter what the media we choose.
  • Walking up the park here in Ashland along the river also stimulates my senses and energy...and I usually come home with a new stick or two. A favorite stimulation for me is making a collection of things, like tea cozies. Making 5-10 at a time, working them all in symphony is like making dough and dividing it up into different herb combinations and loaves......they all influence each other as they find their own form and flavors.
  • Share what I do with others: Last month, I made a sweet little baby vest for a fun—it got me playing and looking forward to giving it.

What is a mojo killer for you? Is there anything you avoid because it negatively affects your creativity?

  • Feeling that my life is repudiative and I am not changing and growing. Negative people who want to be in my space and life.

Do you ever have wadders? As in projects that are irredeemable? How do you handle this?

  • Yes, it is painful to leave them as they a reminder that so much energy was spent. I like to partially dismantle or even just cut off the part I find most interesting to put it back into my materials stash...that way I have the most opportunity to see something new in it as I cruise my materials again.

What is your current favorite thing in your studio?

  • My dressform with an in-process dress on it. I turned a linen dress inside out and been drawing on it. I want to combine it with a knit and a crazy zipper. It will be fun.

If I were to walk into your clothing closet, what would I notice?

  • Total chaos! My seasonal change from summer to fall is in process and it is staked to the hilt with stuff that is coming and going! I have a whole closet of fun, linen and white pieces that I have been wearing all summer long...but it is time to set the stage for the first cool day!!! I know it will be out there somewhere!

I believe that personal growth happens when you step outside your comfort zone. Has this been relevant to you? If so, how?

  • Oh absolutely...this is what makes us who we really are. There have been many defining moments in my life...most I wouldn't have chosen, that have created major changes and opportunity in my life. One of the most spectacular was going through a flood in '95 as a single mom. Overnight, the flood waters took everything and re-defined 'starting over' for me and my kids. I also got the chance to appreciate who we are for one another as friends I knew and didn't know, came in to offer support. So many gifts and challenges that gave me a much deeper connection to my creative spirit than I had known. My life experiences are always enriching the ways I express my creativity.