‘I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.’  Michelangelo (1475-1564) Sculptor, Architect, Painter and Poet

Staggeringly simple, beautiful words, full of imagery that touches my heart, giving me goosebumps.

That’s what I want to achieve in my own writing about my own work.

I can see, feel and almost touch Michelangelo’s marble, hundreds of years later.  That’s the magic I want.

Like anything else, this involves further investigation and research.  Why can’t I write poetically, beautifully, humorously about what I do?  No reason at all, it’s just choice and time, and I’m choosing to look around myself and learn.

Sometimes the obvious is right in front of us – and so it was with me.  I’ve been using Nigella Lawson’s cookbooks for years.  I remember buying them and actually reading the blurb she wrote preceding each and every recipe.  And revelation upon revelation – there it was – a style of writing brimming with imagery, humour, beauty, and style.  Nigella’s style.

I’m now re-reading her books, with great pleasure I might add, as well as fuelling my desire to cook more.

How about these examples of sensory imagery by Nigella Lawson, ‘…lazily peopled gatherings in a summer garden’ or ‘…a conker-shiny Minstrel, plonked glossily on top, would seduce just as well’ or ‘…more sneeze powder than aromatic spice.’  Clever, descriptive, imaginative writing.  My senses have been seduced, grappled with, and seized, in the most engaging way.

So now I have to foster and develop my own writing style.  Why haven’t I bothered about this before?  Time perhaps.  I’ve been so focused on producing work that writing about it was often done in haste.  Big mistake.

If I’m putting my all into my work, it’s only common sense to do the same for the words describing my work.

One thing I’ve learned and this came to me years ago, is to begin jotting down words, sentences, phrases about the work, right from the very beginning of the making and designing process.  It’s handy, indeed necessary to have pen and paper accessible at all times, as inspiration and light-bulb moments seem to occur when least expected.

I don’t want to lose one magic word or idea for want of pen and paper, even my phone can act as my technological secretary or visual assistant.

Time to write….and try to set my angel free.  Where’s your angel?

I have designed a brand-new one-day class on just this topic.  Interested?  Just scroll down to my Workshop Index for further information.

Next week learn what I’m reading.  You might be surprised.

cathy jack coupland