Thursday, 26 January 2012

Guest Blog Post - Amber Bain from Fingertips Design

Welcome to our first Guest Blogger. Please give a huge PCG hello to our fellow Guild Member Amber Bain from Fingertips Design.

I can’t draw....
Have you ever noticed if you mention the word ‘Art’, group/class, one of the responses is...’I’m no good at Art, I can’t draw’? However, mention the word ‘Craft’, group/class, and people relax slightly and feel that this is something that could be achievable?...why?
Why? Wow that is a big question isn’t it...the difference between Art and Craft or more importantly the perception and relationship we have with those words. Well I am going to offer my opinion on this topic of much debate...
So who I am and what could I possibly have to offer to this debate?
My name is Amber and I am the co-founder of FingerTips Designs that specialize in enabling all ages and abilities to create Art with their fingerprint...but that doesn’t really tell you who I am so let’s start from the beginning...
My relationship with Art like most people started when I was very young and my first memories are of getting messy and everywhere was my canvas, walls, clothes, hair, pets and occasionally paper! My mother has told me stories of picking me up from playgroup, like most children, I had created my masterpieces during the day that were hanging on a line drying however, unlike most children I had two lines of paintings to myself! So it would be fair to say I have always enjoyed Art and expressing myself in a creative way.
Now you may not be able to relate to my messy Art however, think back to your first experience of creating Art and the freedom you felt. To have a whole page expressing an idea you had in your head and how your Art told a visual story. When asked ‘what is it’ you would happily and passionately explain what the story behind your creation was.
Art should fundamentally be about expression and we all have something to express! So when did our relationship with Art change and when did the question ‘what is it’ become frustrating and disheartening?
You can physically see this change happen, the relaxed stance of some-one being free is replaced by a ridged child staring at a blank ‘canvas’.  As an Artist it is quite upsetting to see children scrunching up their Artwork and exclaiming ‘I hate Art...I can’t draw!’ But how did this negative relationship intrude on the child who would just create and fill a whole page with expression become the child who has only filled 10% of the page trying so carefully to make their Art look like the world around them?
As we grow in the world we notice how important words and language are in communicating our wants and needs. Being asked ‘what is it’ is making the connection in a child that they are not being understood which is frustrating. Therefore, while the child is explaining their Artwork they make the connection that by communicating in words they are being better understood. Before you know it our relationship with Art has change for good. If you were thirsty you would have a better chance of having your need met by expressing the word ‘drink’ in words than trying to draw a cup or bottle. Therefore we quickly understand the importance of words and language however, Art is a language in its’ own right with many dialects and variations.
My inner voice trying to get out!
Now with any language there is always an exception to the rule. I have dyslexia and struggled with the English language but found I could express myself through Art and with excellent guidance, encouragement and support from my family and teachers I found a creative approach to my education. For me my relationship with Art has always been positive as I have always seen it as a way to express my inner voice and be heard by those around me. An example of creative learning being used in mainstream education is the ‘mind-map’:
An excellent example of a mind-map from
Ok I have digressed a little, a symptom of a creative mind. Ok so now I have briefly explained our relationship with Art how do we re-train any negative connotations that have been made?
Let’s go back to basics....with our I have not gone mad you can really create refined Art with your fingerprint. In fact it is what our company FingerTips concept is based on! We have created many designs and products where the recipient’s fingerprint brings the Artwork to life.

An example showing two different fingerprints using the same original template. Your fingerprint is unique therefore your Artwork will be too!
I have watched with pure delight at boys aged 10 being so proud of their FingerTips masterpiece, spending time embellishing their product and being creative! Once you have built the confidence that you can make Art and make it look how you want it gives you the faith that maybe you could do try it too.
Now I am not saying FingerTips is the only way to reconnect with Art or shamelessly plugging our company although it is fantastic and you really should try our products!
So what over ways can you build a positive relationship with Art? Well as a lot of people are out of practice when it comes to Art lets treat it as how we would treat exercise and sport, I will take the role of the personal trainer;
1.       Firstly we must warm-up virtually important for whatever sport we are going to engage in. An example of an Art exercise:

Expression and Feeling - Warm-up

·         Ok grab your blank ‘canvas’ in whatever form this may take, paper, t-shirt, envelope (I use these a lot of envelopes!), canvas, wood...
·         You will need an Art medium which will make a mark on your chosen ‘canvas’ this could be; a pen, pencils, paint, charcoal, lipstick, mud, pastels, chalk...depending on your chosen medium you may want to cover-up your work area.
·         When creating Art I would recommend being in comfortable clothes and if you want to save on any potential washing-up going al natural is an option, well you have to be comfy when making Art and unlike sport you don't need a support bra or briefs!
·         Now you have 2 options:
1a. Play your favourite piece of music with your eyes closed and concrete on the music, with your chosen medium on your chosen ‘canvas’ let your hand doodle away. Repeat this step with another song to see what effect it has on your expressive Art.
1b. If you are not a music buff choose an expressive word; love, hate, happy, joy, fear... and repeat that word while following the above step.
2.       Ok now you have warmed-up you need to find what Art medium suits you best, the try-out season has begun. Now you may be very short and feel you shouldn’t try-out for the hurdling team but you may find that, you fit under the hurdle or can piggy back on another team member...Art does not play by the rules! I once decided to try oil paints and used them in an unconventional way; it took a week for my painting to dry but the effect was amazing!
Hopefully by following the above steps you have started to re-connect with Art as a tool for expression and can start to build a positive relationship with it again. Besides if you were to be caught naked throwing mud onto an envelope, then to say you were getting in touch with you inner Artist would probably be your best excuse.
As for drawing this is a technique that can be taught along with other Crafts. So that brings us smoothly onto why in general people are more comfortable with the word ‘Craft’....
If Art is fundamentally about Expression then Craft is fundamentally about Technique. It is the creative individual behind the Craft that makes it Art. Technique can be taught Art cannot. This is why the word ‘Craft’ has a more positive connotation with most people than ‘Art’.
Therefore I personally feel the majority of people who are in the genre of ‘Crafts’ should cross over into the ‘Art’ genre. However, the Art world and the secret language hidden within is a tale for another time...
Please visit us at http://www.fingertipsdesigns to find out more about our Fingerprint Art.
© Amber Bain 2012
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We are looking for posts both informative about Crafting Businesses and tales of how you developed your own business.


  1. As a creative person myself I find it so odd (although I can understand it)that people need to be guided on how to 'let go' and get creative. You give excellent pointers though and I especially like the suggestion to close your eyes and listen to some favourite music. Doodling is great!
    Sharing this post.

  2. I enjoyed reading your article Amber. I express myself through my art, it's one area in my life where I'm totally free to be me and indulge myself.
    I am about to launch a new project on my blog to get people doodling with overglaze enamels.