You know how passionate I am about all things Vikings … well, recently I “discovered” a new side to myself and a new passion for creativity in a different way. For the majority of my leatherwork career, I have focussed on creating Viking style pieces and custom orders. Although the custom orders have sometimes not been Viking, they have all pretty much fitted a Medieval style.
My new leather art, which I am simply calling “Elizabeth Sek Leather Art” will be in addition to my Viking art and is experimental, colourful and an expression of myself. It feels free and I am so excited about this new chapter in my life.
I woke up one morning, a couple of days after Prince had passed, with Paisley on my mind. I felt the urge to tool something in that style so I began on this piece that day.
This one is still a work in progress; I have plans but am not ready to finish it just yet.
This is the next piece in my collection, which I have titled “Paisley Pond”. I loved making this piece, experimenting with the colours and adding that touch of gold. It felt a little ‘risky’ I suppose. I liked it with just the blues and purple but something was missing so I added the gold and I love how it turned out.
I was feeling rather pleased with the end result, so I felt taken aback when I showed it to someone and they told me that they didn’t like the gold but asked if I could make another one without it. I started doubting myself and found myself questioning “isn’t that what art is about – expressing one’s self?”
I decided not to dwell on it and started working on creating this new page for my website when the Universe gave me a sign. It always does; I just have to pay attention and listen. While I was looking for the photos on my Facebook page, I came across a video of David Bowie. Being a Bowie fan, I thought I’d take a look and was blown away by his message …
“Yes, never play to the gallery. I think that you never learn that until much later on, I think, but never work for other people that want you to … always, always remember that the reason you initially started working was that there was something inside yourself that you felt that if you could manifest in some way, you would understand more of yourself and how you co-exist with the rest of society.
… and, ah, I think it’s terribly dangerous for an artist to fulfill other peoples’ expectations. I think they produce, they generally produce their worst work when they do that. … and if, the other thing I would say is that if you feel safe in the area that you’re working in, you’re not working in the right area. Always go a little further into the water than you feel you are capable of being in, go a little bit out of your depth and when you don’t feel that your feet are quite touching the bottom, you’re just about in the place to do something exciting.”
How amazing is that? I couldn’t get a clearer sign. This has been a great lesson for me. Unlike the custom orders, when I did create pieces just the way my customer wanted them to be, this new art form is about my expression. I have to remember that and stay true to myself. I guess, as David says in this video, you can’t please everyone.
The whole video is fantastic but if you want to skip to this bit, it starts at 13:00.