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Experimenting To Create Failures That Lead To Successes

Something I encourage my students to do is experiment using materials to find new ways to make art - most of my students don't want to experiment in this way because they fear they'll fail and this stops them from discovery which I find quite sad as they're missing out.


To be afraid of failure is to be stuck in the past.


I think that any beginner to the arts, who is hoping to find success in their work can do very well if they first try alternative ways of using different materials just to see what happens. Yes failures are inevitable but why see these failures as the end result? Why not see them as a stepping stone to something more interesting and even if that next stepping stone wasn't the success you were looking for then why should that stop you from pushing further to see what happens next?


I think that the society we live in is an "instant result" sort of society where we watch a speed video of someone doing something that they've probably perfected after multiple false starts and when they achieve success, we assume we can also find the same quick success in a few minutes of trying......so when it fails to result in success, often times we give up and move on. How disappointing this method is!


First of all, life isn't a speed video!


When you begin to learn anything, you will need to be ready for not being brilliant in the first few minutes - if you can make your mind open to failures as leading to successes then you're halfway there!


So today, I'm sharing with you one of my recent experiments in paper marbling! I've had years of practice making marbled paper using all sorts of materials but in this experiment, I was using materials found around the house because I like to offer easy options to the members of my meetup group, London Art Museum Creatives as I believe everyone should have access to fun easy crafts and especially while stuck indoors during this pandemic year!


I'm offering a paper marbling event to my members in the next few weeks and like everything I teach, I like to experiment to see if I can use anything I find in the house (to make it affordable and easy for my members) and so that when I present my techniques to my members, they're able to achieve more successes thanks to my failures/experiments which will give them a boost of confidence to keep creating even after my event which is one of the many reasons I like to teach art.


So I started out collecting old markers and taking out the ink filters in the plastic tubes and soaking them in water to see how much ink I could extract - in doing this, I noted with some satisfaction that the ink that did seep out was floating on the surface of the water but was barely enough to successfully create a marbled result so that idea was scrapped right in the beginning.


Following this, I then mixed my cheap acrylic paint (from the Flying Tiger shop) into water and dropped it into a tray of water.....some of it did stay on the surface of the water but it still sunk to the bottom before I could properly coat it to paper.


So I abandoned the water with pigment idea.....however...

I did very much enjoy the meditative calming quality when swirling the pigments in the water so if you are in need of an arty meditation then this may be a good option for you!