I've been noticing Academy (Rachel Albright) for awhile now, but just recently had a whim to go back and look at her work more carefully and read some of the interviews I had seen floating around.  I was particularly struck by these words in her interview for Pennyweight Goods:
I'm not formally trained in many of the materials I work with, which is sometimes frustrating but mostly really refreshing. It makes everything a bit more challenging, but also doesn't tie me down to a traditional way of using materials or looking at things. I spend a lot of time planning and learning with each piece - how to create this shape I want, how to make different materials and surfaces work together, how to find the right balance between form and function.
I identified with this statement so much.  It reminds me Gabriel Orozco's statement in Art21 that he does not want to be a specialist in any technique but always prefers to be a beginner.  I am often trying new techniques that I have no formal training in; teaching myself via books and the internet.  It really is refreshing (and often frustrating) to work with unfamiliar materials, but I find it really rewarding to be always learning and working through new problems (even though they don't always turn out as expected :).

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