Welcome to the sixth in my Three Questions series, where I ask makers about their creative practices. I became aware of Kelcie’s work through Instagram and I have followed her with interest for some time. In one of those ‘isn’t it a small world’ moments, we discovered recently that we had both attended a workshop with Sophie Munns nearly five years ago. Wow!
Kelcie is a multi-disciplinary visual artist, educator and facilitator, whose practice includes textiles, printmaking, sculpture, basketry and encaustic mixed media among others. Her work is a response to the environment, events and issues that resonate with her.
How did you get started on your creative path?
“I’ve always been creative – as a child I loved to draw and colour and make things. Growing up, I was encouraged to question, explore, discuss, engage and challenge the narrative that was being taught or told. I was raised to think for myself, which is probably why I became a teacher. I had a love of learning and a natural curiosity about the world. My family were farmers and education was highly valued. I was the first in my family to go to university. We were told we could be anything we wanted to be if we worked hard enough.
“At university I studied textiles, art and design. When teaching I sought out groups that interested me, I learned to weave and spin and I gained skills, which helped my teaching career and have been fundamental to the development of my art practice.
“When my children were small I joined textile guilds and entered craft items in the local agriculture show. As a child the Craft Pavilion was my favourite destination and I looked with awe upon the works that were displayed, dreaming of one day being good enough to enter. As an adult I realised that dream, seeing it as a vehicle to promote textiles to a new generation.
“Circumstances change and what began with a ‘have a go’ attitude has become my focus and creative art practice. In addition to regular solo and group exhibitions I am undertaking an artist residency, my work is now stocked in gallery shops and in private and public collections and I have won a few awards along the way. I am constantly learning, growing, working and doing what I love – something I dared not dream of as a child.”
What satisfies you about the creative work you do?
“I have always enjoyed the process of making. There is a calm and rhythm and grounding that comes from doing. Many of the processes I incorporate in my practice are repetitive which allows me to drift away in my mind and escape the pressures of the day.
“I make art for myself. The work I do helps me make sense of the world around me. I don’t really think about external validation at all during the making process. I do hope others will appreciate or understand what I do, but it doesn’t factor into my process.
“I find it really satisfying when a work is resolved and communicates the message I have intended. The most powerful works I have made, display a simplicity and clarity of meaning that, upon closer inspection, hold deeper and more complex ideas and messages. It is such a gift when someone you do not know contacts you to tell you they have been personally impacted by your work. A lot of my work is very personal but I strongly believe there are universal experiences that we share. We are more alike than different.”
How do you stay inspired to create?
“Inspiration is everywhere… you just have to be open to it – sometimes this is easier said than done! When uninspired or overwhelmed with life I commit to simply drawing a cup or items on the table while having breakfast. A quick sketch that connects me to my practice is sometimes all I can manage or acts as a catalyst to begin work on another project. I always carry a small project or sketchbook and pen in my bag for the waiting times at appointments.
“I think it’s really important to look and slow down and spend time noticing the little inconsequential things and moments and memories in the day. Even when things are bleak and frightening and unfamiliar, being able to slow down your mind and focus on your surroundings can be grounding and an exercise in creativity to draw upon.
“I feel at a loss when I am not making. It’s an essential part of who I am and what I do. I embrace mistakes rather than allowing them to derail me. Sometimes things happen because they should. I have to let go of control and see where the work takes me. I also find that writing down my thoughts helps and many of my works begin this way – I find it clears out the clutter in my mind. It has certainly been a strategy I have employed often in this topsy-turvy year.
“There are some aspects of making that challenge me. While I love the result of some of the techniques I employ, I do get bored at times while making these works. To address this I listen to upbeat music and employ tricks, strategies and rewards to keep myself motivated and on task. Starting is exciting, but you also need the discipline to persevere. Sometimes a work doesn’t want to be finished and that’s okay, too. Sometimes you need to try something to know it’s not your thing.
“I have learned that everything you do is part of the journey that shapes your creative practice and informs the next step on your path. There will always be other opportunities – dust yourself off and begin again and remind yourself how fortunate you are to be doing what you love!”
Follow Kelcie online
Thank you Kelcie, for sharing insights of your creative life.