Artist's block : the creation of a workshop to re-engage visual artists with their creative process by using the natural environment as a facilitator
Richards, Sarah P.
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The aim of this thesis is to research and create a workshop which will assist artists to engage with their creative process. I explore the possibility that by being in a natural environment the blocked artist can reengage with their creative process and unblock the debilitating effects of artist's block. I chose to complete this study through the Durban University of Technology, to engage myself in the focused task of reengaging myself with my creative process, to create a workshop through experience and related yet varied data that could assist others through my experience and reflections. The term 'artist's block', also known as 'creative block' or 'writer's block', is used to describe a visual artist's or a writer's inability to engage with their creative process. I refer to a variety of literary resources as well as the observations made through interviews, by a selection of South African artists about this debilitating and frustrating situation. I also examine what is meant by being engaged in a creative process, and examine various theories and suggestions from a broad selection of literature. I explore a selection of literary recourses and reflect on personal experiences to ascertain whether the notion that the natural environment can assist an artist in finding the necessary inspiration to reengage them with their creative process and is therefore a suitable environment to facilitate a workshop. To assist with this study I facilitated two workshop, one for Students of the Durban University of Technology and the other for a diverse group of artists. The facilitation ofa workshop needs to be a creative process and I use the analogy of an alchemical process to highlight the unfolding of a workshop experience. This study also takes a look at the skills required by a facilitator, the role of the participant and how a workshop may unfold as a creative process. I observe that Artist's block is part of the creative process, that a workshop can be facilitated to assist artists with 'artist's block' and reengage them with their creative process, and that the natural environment is a suitable facilitator for the creative process. Although not quantifiable, it was established that students could benefit from workshops which gave them a better understanding of their creative process and how to move past artist's block. This thesis reflects briefly on my paralleled experiences over this four year period as I reengaged with my creative process and created a body of work to be exhibited as partial requirement for the Master's qualification.