Day 5 

Cultivating Wonder in Artistic Practice

Wonder is an awe-inspiring emotion that is often fleeting, but its effects can be profound. It’s also the sensation I have when something dissolves my preconceptions, biases, and the barriers of my senses, pulling me into a moment so deeply that I seem to lose track of time and self. I think for many artists, evoking a sense of wonder in the people who view our work is a powerful accomplishment, but not something I can say I have achieved so far.

How can I adjust my current practice to cultivate and harness this sensation of wonder?

Delve into the Unfamiliar: For me one of the easiest ways to reignite a sense of wonder is to break away from my routine and try out unfamiliar techniques, mediums or themes to bring about new perspectives and evoke a childlike curiosity. I often integrate unconventional materials into my works (such as my textiles and weaving), or draw inspiration from disciplines outside of of my normal scope.

Slowing Down: Life is a bit chaotic at times, so slowing down on purpose can be revolutionary, allowing me time to observe details, like the texture of clay, the interplay of light and shadow, the intricacies of everyday objects. By relishing the process and not just the outcome, I immerse myself fully in the act of creation, opening doors to depth and detail often overlooked.

Engage with Nature: The natural world is a place of wonder for me, it never gets old; the way tree branches sway, the striations on rocks, or the ripple pattern on the Deception Bay foreshore mudflats. There’s a world of inspiration out there. Bringing elements of nature or its principles into my work lends it an organic quality that might resonate with viewers on a primal level.

Collaborate and Interact: I often engage with other artists or even people outside of my field. Collaboration forces me to see through another’s eyes, challenging my established notions and biases.

This is my favourite…

Question Everything: Adopt the habit of questioning. Why do I use a particular technique? Why am I drawn to certain themes? By dissecting and challenging my own norms, I pave the way for growth and evolution in my practice.

Create for the Sake of Creating: While having some goals is helpful, there’s something liberating about creating art just for the sheer joy of it. Such uninhibited expression can lead to unexpected avenues of wonder, both for me as an artist and the audience viewing my work.

In essence, I think if I want to nurture wonder, I have to be open to change, to exploration, and to the unknown. It’s about pushing boundaries, both personal and artistic. Wonder thrives where there are no confines, where imagination is allowed to roam free, and where the heart, mind, and hands are in harmonious sync. In adjusting my practice to embrace these principles, I don’t just foster wonder; I embody it. And in doing so, I hopefully get to share it with people who  engage with my work.