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The Duality Of Being An Artist And A Maker

Elizabeth Schowachert

Creating art/painting will always be something that is a vital part of my psyche and makes me feel as if I am doing something meaningful with my time and energy. I don't think this will ever change, and as such, I expect that creating art will always be important to me.

Recently I have come to realize that in addition to being a painter, I am also a maker - someone who takes deep satisfaction in making functional and beautiful things. I realized this because I was looking for ways to disrupt my painting process, and found that introducing new tools when creating my work really helps facilitate this objective. I was able to make more interesting marks with the brushes I made.  The marks have better movement, and they create the unexpected. Surprisingly, through this process, I was able to discover how much I enjoy developing and making art tools and brushes.

Clink on Photo's to see all my Handmade Brushes

Handmade paint brushes by Elizabeth Schowachert

It took me a while to adjust my thinking around the value I placed on making brushes versus painting so that I could allocate my time to making brushes without feeling like I was neglecting my art practice. I came to the conclusion that there is value in dedicating time and focus to more than one kind of creative activity, and in fact, there are many benefits from doing so. 

After considering what it means to me to be a maker, I realized there is a strong connection between brush making and painting. My brushes are the tools I use to put paint/ink/wax onto a panel.  They leave marks that become the work and remain connected to the work long after I finish the painting and put the brushes away.  

Dragon Dancer By Elizabeth Schowachert

Painting by Elizabeth Schowachert Dragon Dance

Every brush I make is made with the intention that it will create art, feel good in the hand and inspire the artist.

Using new tools/brushes and adding something new to one's routine can help push work in new directions. Using something unfamiliar creates disruption. Suddenly everything feels different which often times can help spur creative exploration. I discovered that I really enjoyed working with new tools. I love the  unexpected and I was able to push my work in new and fresh directions.

I use natural materials to make my brushes: feathers, horse hair, corn fiber etc. which allows me to create tools that are diverse and interesting. I try to bring out the unique aspects of all the materials I use. I also incorporate seeds and wood embellishments into the brush handles to ensure that each brush has its own unique personality, look and feel. I also think that it is important that my brushes work well, that they have both superior function and a good design aesthetic.   

We can be who we want to be - a creative, an artist, a maker. I have come to realize that "what" we do creatively is less important than the actual process and purpose of creating. I will continue to explore all creative sides of myself, and will strive to produce the best work I can whether I am making or painting.
I encourage you to consider disrupting your art process...you may be surprised at the results!
Happy Creating


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