Inspired people – Tracy Woodsford
Artists are inspired people. But what makes them create what they create? What lights the fire that produces such wonderful work? Here are a few questions that will hopefully inspire some answers.
This week I am pleased to host an interview with Tracy Woodsford, an artist who has not only inspired me in my art, but introduced art to my sister, something I could not have done. This in turn has helped bring my sister, myself and my children closer – we have art parties! Tracy has an insatiable curiosity in her art, exploring technique after technique. She is an avid art journaller and I continue to eye her work and learn. Thank you so much, Tracy for giving us this window into your inspiration.
Who are you? What factors in your life have led you to create? Was it an epiphany moment or something that has always been?
I’m 43, the wife of a church minister and home-schooling mother to a teenage daughter.
I’ve been creating for as long as I remember. I learned to knit at 5, crochet at 7, and remember making clothes for my dolls around then as well. My mum was always knitting and sewing so it was natural for me to want to do the same. It wasn’t until I was in my 20s that I started to try out all sorts of other artistic pursuits like batik, card-making, silversmithing, and bookbinding. Art journalling was just the next step along the way.
Where are you from, where do you live, and how does your location influence your art?
I am from England but have lived in Adelaide, South Australia for the last three years.
I’m not sure how the move has affected my art – how do you work out how much is to do with place and how much with being moved from your homeland to a whole new culture? I’m loving the colours here, though – the deep reds and yellows of the earth, the different greens of the foliage, and the deep blue of the sky. They’re all so different from those in the UK. The light is much brighter here.
Were you ever distracted away from your art and creating by the need to make a living? Have you ever stopped creating?
When I had my daughter I didn’t have much time or energy for creating short of finger-painting. That’s the only time, really, that I haven’t done much creating. I try to do something every day and as I’m at home all day am blessed to have the time and space to do that.
What do you create? Do you have a niche or do you spread your creativity across several disciplines? Do you have a preferred subject?
I’ve tried all sorts of arts and crafts over the years but now I concentrate mainly on things to do with books – bookbinding, art journalling, bespoke books, even writing stories – which means I can use all the other things I’ve learned along the way too. The first time I wrote a story, made the book, and then illustrated it as a Christmas present for my then five-year-old gave me such a buzz. It had interactive elements, flaps, and such. Her first reaction was to ask for another one for her birthday 🙂
What inspires you to create? Do you have any techniques to find inspiration?
My faith is a huge part of my creativity. Journalling helps me to work things out and see where I’m going. It’s amazing to look back over a journal and see that most of the pages are leading in one direction. They reveal where I am growing and what is happening in my life in a way that is quite subtle and I wouldn’t necessarily notice on a day-by-day basis.
I had a time where I felt I was stuck in a rut artistically. I completed a repurposed book in the style of lots of other journalling artists – not copying their pages, but using the subjects, or the colour schemes that I wouldn’t normally use myself. Trying to pick up the flavour of their work. This helped me to gain a better idea of what my own style was and feel more comfortable with it. It was as if I suddenly realised that my own style was perfectly valid. I found it a very useful exercise.
Joining challenges on blogs is also good for inspiration. Having to create something new on a subject not of your own choosing, or using an image or material that you wouldn’t normally use pushes you artistically.
How often do you create? Do you procrastinate? How do you balance between the things that have to be done versus the things you want to do?
I create just about every day. My husband can tell if I haven’t slapped some paint on a page or stuck an image down for a few days 🙂 He sends me to the studio for a while to become human again.
I’m pretty good at prioritizing. I don’t like having deadlines hanging over me so I tend to get things done as soon as I know they need doing. I’m a delayed gratification sort of person – work first, play later. And I’m a list-writer. I gain a great deal of satisfaction from crossing things off the list.
I have a small square room at the back of the house where I can leave everything out and not worry about tidying up. I can just close the door and leave it. My daughter does stuff in there as well so it can get pretty messy 🙂
What do you enjoy doing the most?
I think that would be journalling in a journal that I have made myself. I like to do things from scratch as much as I can from designing and making my own clothes and jewellery through to making story books with my own binding, story, and illustrations. I’d love to have a go at making shoes one day.
Do you have any advice for other artists?
Create every day even if it is only for ten minutes. Learn to love your style – it’s yours and it’s unique.
Do you have any questions for other artists?
‘How did you do that?’ is my usual one.
Where can you and your art be found?
On my blog –www.tracywoodsford.blogspot.com
Otherwise you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org