One thing I know I have in common with many other artists is the experience of ambiguous emotions at the start of a new creative journey.
Initially there is a sense of elation. Everything feels refreshingly new and your excitement is palpable - eyes widen, the mind ticks and this brave new world is yours for the taking. You can't wait to do more - observation heightens, research is a joy, you play, explore, develop and learn.
Inevitably discussions emerge - perhaps in answer to a friendly enquiry - "what you are working on" - or maybe the need to verbally express what is incubating overcomes you. And then the journey changes...
At this point those wonderful, well meaning friends, family, collegues and associates find snippets and stories for you. They email images and mention articles in the newspaper... "I saw this and thought of you"... "you would love this work by that artist".... "have you seen this site? It reminded me of what you were talking about"... It is kindness, a desire to show you that they are listening, understand and now share your interest.
Of course you appreciate it. It all extends your knowledge and gives you different perspectives and more information to work with. But at the same time it is ever so slightly shattering. Your elation deflates. Has everything been done before? Are my thoughts really so unoriginal?
But then you remember that it doesn't matter. What has been before will never be exactly what or where you are now. In fact, footprints in the sand often enhance the view. Perhaps you were subconciously influenced or not. Perhaps your thoughts run independently but parallel to others.
I must admit to feeling a little disheartened when I see a personal idea manifest beautifully in another artist's work. My level of disappointment depends on the stage I am at in the creative process and more often than not it is just a slight irritation. It is when I give the situation it's due consideration that I realise, more importantly, I feel a sense of communion.
Linda Hughes, Wing Brooch, Red & White series, 2009
"In her new body of work, contemporary jeweller Linda Hughes explores the 'stripe', historically favoured as a metonym for danger, exclusion and as a device to attract attention. Hazard signage, ubiquitous in the urban landscape, changes when placed on the body as jewellery. In this exhibition, Hughes applies the visual language of the stripe to the sculptural form of the wearable. Displayed against a series of graphic backdrops, the work critiques the complex theatre of public space."