In my work, I'm trying to develop a distinctive style. And I think every craftsman/artist tries to do the same thing. It's wonderful to hear a customer, or viewer say that looks like something made by [artist's name] and find that, indeed it is.
I feel there are 3 stages in development (this is subject to change later. I'm comfortable with having my views evolve) of style. ----
- Learning the techniques and skills. This is the one that most instruction books focus on. This makes sense since it is indeed the foundation of devloping as an artist. As you learn the skills you may play with combining techniques and stitches. You might try to use non-traditional materials just to see what happens.
- Learning by imitating. This is where current fashions make their apperance. As an example, beetle-wing embroidery of the mid, to late, 1800s. http://pin.it/eLgifkj looking at the images on that pinterest board, there is a definite repetition of motifs, even across different artists. That is a useful learning tool, it's fashion. (Broad generalization here...hugely broad generalization here) Fashion tends to be ephemeral. It appears, and then looks horrifically dated in just a few years. (there are, of course, exceptions...
- (Should be #3, but I can't figure out how to fix it)Style is more a way that the artist sees the world. It's tied into the way she responds to the visual information that's presented to her on a daily basis. Tied into the things she reads, and the places she goes. And artist that lives in the tropics is going to have an entirely different style than one that lives in the Arctic. The colors she is surrounded by are completely different even if the skills and fashion are exactly the same.
The way I'm trying to develop my style is by making a lot of things, each object gets me to think and clarify what I'm doing and thinking. Working on large scale, or long term projects has been hardwiring my style thinking into my brain and hands.
In craft, producing quantities of work develops your style.
Time to get back to the stitching, have a fabulous day!