Creative Arts Fellowship: Last Words

Through this fellowship, I have had the opportunity to learn more about the artistic process, both others’ and my own. The Creative Arts Fellowship allowed me to explore what works for me and what doesn’t, how to trust my creative instincts, how to let my work wander and when to bring it back into focus. I learned new techniques for observing the world around me, like taking an art walk, where you follow a color, a sound, a shape, and see where it leads you. It was fascinating to see what each member of the fellowship focused on, as well as the final collage result—both the path and the destination. I also absorbed some new artistic practices, ones not in my primary field of creative writing. At Text and Context, I marbled paper, swirling bright colors into patterns and whirls with droppers and combs, getting to experiment and see how different tools produced different results. Using the vinyl cutter at the Open Lab was a real-time example of adapting a design to work with certain limitations; we needed to simplify our ideas in order for them to be effective and doable. Furthermore, it demonstrated how executing my design in a physical manner, heat-pressed onto a t-shirt, meant I had to consider background context, like the color and material of the shirt. Each of these skills has overall broadened my understanding of my own capabilities, expanded my willingness to attempt new techniques and practices, and assisted me in accepting experimentation and failure as a necessary part of learning and artistic growth. As a result of this fellowship, I approach my work and others’ with fresh eyes. This experience primarily brought a renewed motivation to examine what makes a piece of writing good and to tease out what I can use to improve my own writing.

This fellowship exposed me to a variety of new ways to create. Hearing about the various mediums and techniques that the members of my cohort used for their projects was crucial and jblah In future work, I now want to try using the digital, interactive, “choose-your-own-adventure” type narrative program that one of the other fellows used to tell a story.  It reminded me of the spiral-orb poem style I learned about in my Environmental Literature class. I could see myself using it in order to emphasize certain themes for a poem or story, like circularity or the role of agency. This way, form would also be function, which is an element of writing I’ve come to pay closer attention to. In general, the work of the other fellows has encouraged me to find new methods of incorporating the various pieces of my project into one cohesive whole. I want to continue to experiment with my writing and refine my approach to representation. I particularly want to attempt writing in new formats, like the previously mentioned interactive digital narrative, an artist book, and a zine.

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