Spring Clean Your Archive

Whilst we are in this time of pause and seeing it as a good time to reflect, could we also use this time to take a trip to our studios (our bookshelves, our garages, our lofts, our cupboards) and start a spring clean on our archive?

As artists we collect. We collect so many things.

Sometimes we collect things not knowing quite what for just yet, but we know that they will have a future purpose. They might be there for tactile inspiration, or for assisting in completing the next part of the process. They are things for thinking, things for drawing, they are part of the conversation we have with ourselves and the world. They are part of our practice and how we understand the materials we choose to work with.

We also tend to create a lot of things, for working through ideas, to consider our thoughts. You will find these across notebooks, sketchbooks and maquettes, but when was the last time you looked at all these things in you have in store?

How about making some time to unpack these things and giving them the space and time to be in the world again?

What ideas are in there for things you never got round to making? What inspires you from your old drawings? Your writing? Your mock ups?

Can you share this work with your children whilst you’re all at home together and see how they interpret your work?

Nick Cave talks about using his archive for inspiration and the excellent 20,000 Days on Earth is a testament to that. He also talks about using this time of crisis to create.

The artist and songwriter M.I.A had a huge archive of film material, which later became the documentary Matangi Maya MIA.

As artists, we have all of these things too.

Spend some time revisiting those old notebooks and boxes of made and unmade things. You’ll be surprised by what you learn about yourselves and your practice in the process.

Embracing this spring clean as act of reflective habit, can be healthy for the development of your practice too. The choreographer Twyla Tharp talks about the necessity of creativity as habit and we have an opportunity to embrace that now, making reflection a habitual act.

Let us know what you’ve found in your archive through this process #foundit #inmyarchive

And to get you going, here are some further thoughts from Nick Cave on Habits and Routines and the Process of Creativity:

 

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