Tongue tied? Return to Pictures to Tell Your Story

On a visit to Virginia Folkestad‘s studio, I was taken with the way she documented her career in a visual timeline.

Virginia Folkestad Art Studio
Virginia Folkestad charts out her career work on her studio wall.

I encourage you to do something similar for your oeuvre.

  1. Tack color images of your art chronologically to the wall. Add dates if you need them as reminders.
  2. Use yarn or string to connect ideas and thought processes between earlier and later work.
  3. Record, in words, why you connected the images.

This will help you visualize your progress and understand how objects and ideas are connected over time.
You will discover common threads that you didn't previously see, which will help you better tell the story of your work.
Have you tried something like this?

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15 thoughts on “Tongue tied? Return to Pictures to Tell Your Story”

  1. Love this idea! As I keep morphing into new mediums I can still see the common thread among the many and usually remember what project inspired the new direction. This would be a great way to visually tie it all together.

  2. What a wonderful daily reminder of your career….or your life! Companies could benefit by doing this with their staff and storying their vision and history. Looks like a good opportunity for visual artists to partner with corporations and bring a little more art into life.
    I’d have a hard time finding a wall in the house or studio to do this, but electronically through a mind-map, I think it would be a great exercise.
    With my new love, Pinterest, I’m thinking there might be a way to accomplish this, or at least look at different boards as “my blue period”….”my cubist period”…..etc. Lovely post and great idea. Thanks to Virginia and Alyson!

  3. For myself, I keep a “bible” binder of all things related to my life as a weaver, show cards I’ve been in, articles about my work, picts, newsletters. I have it filed by years progressively. It’s easy to leaf through (well, it’s gotten kinda big and might need to be broken up into decades or significant moments). I also have a portfolio of work cataloged in a similar manner. Both are easy to add to and available for showing others anytime!

  4. This does indeed sound like a great idea – fun too! I like the visual part of it as we artists are all quite visual learners aren’t we? Thank you Virginia and Alyson. Repeating Kelly, now to find a wall.

  5. Huh, this looks like fun and I bet I’ll be very surprised by what I learn. I’ve noticed that the things I expect to see are often not the only things I do see when I do any kind of look-back.

  6. I love this idea. I’m traveling in New Mexico this week and just we t through the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum yesterday. It was fascinating to see the development of her work in one place!
    Currently I don’t have a suitable wall but I could imaging doing this with Photoshop or Pintrest.
    I also have been doing a daily drawing called my Doodle du Jour, that I put on a FB page and send out to my mailing list every day. I’d love to find a place to show those in chronological order too.
    It’s interesting how at times when I’ve morphed into a new artistic phase I’ll look back later and see the similar quality of line or movement as an ongoing theme that ties them all together no matter what medium I’m using. Seeing them on a timeline will be fun!

  7. Love this idea.
    I use tumblr to post new artwork and the archive view of the work shows a wonderful history of my new work:
    http://newart.lisacall.com/archive
    Although I have to admit I haven’t always posted the new work in a timely manner and I only started a few years ago. On my “maybe someday” list is to put all of my work on this site with the correct dates as I think the visual would be pretty powerful!

    1. Alyson Stanfield

      Lisa: Have you ever written about Tumblr? I’d love to be able to share the benefits of it.

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