Sunday, November 29, 2009

Stepping Up

I finished another one in my pod series to put in our Portland Art Collective show this week. I was experimenting with a couple things in this one, titled "Stepping Up". First, I wanted to see how low I could put the focal point without it throwing off the composition. Second, I usually work with complementary colors, so wanted to try monochromatic this time. I'm really happy with the cool, watery look and the depth of this one.

You can see others in this series here and here, and another, with the process described, here.

I am busily finishing up show stuff this week, trying to stay sane through it all. I've been thinking about one of the best lessons I ever had about being in shows. When I first started showing my work, I was thrilled to be juried into Local 14, a very popular and competitive art show in Portland. Because of my natural shyness and all my insecurities about whether my work was worthy to be in the show, I was really happy that I didn't have to man a booth and interact with the public at this show. I did, however, have to work some at the show.

Imagine my horror when the first place I was stationed to work was directly across from my display. I could see and hear all public reaction without the buffer of politeness from them knowing the artist was sitting there listening. Once I could finally lift my head to see what was going on, I discovered that many people passed by with only a disinterested glance. Others stopped and looked closely. And then, thankfully, some lit up when they saw my work, brought friends over, and even bought it.

Later in the day, I was stationed by the work of one of the most prominent artists in the show, a woman whose work I admire and covet. And guess what? The public reaction was just the same. Granted probably more actually bought her work, but many had no interest in it at all.

It was a great lesson in following your own instincts and not getting caught up with what others think about your work. It will never please everyone.

Now back to work, with the hopes that I will at least please some.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

New Nancy Crow link

Hmmm, can't figure out how to edit the bad link in the last post, so here's a different link. This one will, hopefully, take you to the International Quilt Study Center with a whole list of other lectures, which I've yet to listen to--some sound very interesting. Scroll down to find the Nancy Crow one.

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Happy Girl

Lots of good things happening this week. My week began with the arrival of this. I've wanted one of Jude's pieces for a long time. When I saw "A Soft Scream" I knew it was the one. I love her use of lightness and darkness in this one and the shrouding of some bits in fog. Then the writing in her blog seemed to speak to issues I've been struggling with, "sometimes the light is blocked, sometimes by you yourself."

I just have to say that holding her work in my hands is amazing. Her blog, while incredible, doesn't do justice to the actual pieces, their textures, their colors, their little surprises here and there. This is a real treasure. I've already stroked it many times!

I also finished "Slow." It was a fun, meditative piece and I'm eager to start another one.

I made a nice discovery of couching strips of velvet for the writing. I used 1/2" strips and they couched beautifully, rolling in on themselves as I stitched for a nice finished edge and soft, fluffy letters. I'll be coming back to this.

And I found this Nancy Crow lecture online that I enjoyed listening to. Nancy talks about the influences on her work and how she developed her ideas. It was surprising to hear her talk about struggles along the way, pieces that she didn't like, dead ends in series. They all appeared in her book and looked so cohesive and thought out, you'd think it all went according to a master plan.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

On the Edge

"Slow" needed a slow edge, so I have been obsessively wrapping small bits of fabric into balls for it.

I know there is some sort of avoidance at work here since I should be preparing for my show in three weeks, but instead I sit and wrap little balls.

Ever since I started participating in shows, I've questioned whether I want to or not. The show itself is a lot of fun, and I do like being able to run with something I'm enjoying making and know there will be an outlet for it, but I am very thankful I don't have to do this for my livelihood.

Recently I read an interview with Susan Shie. Susan is legally blind and cannot drive (yet she still makes amazingly intricate artwork!) She said she wished she could hold a job, so she could just do art that she wanted in the evening and not have to rely on it for her living. What a different perspective.

I find when I'm preparing for a show, I'm always trying to guess what will sell, how much, which color. And I'm not very good at it. One year all of my funky crocheted baskets sold out, except for one, and that one was my favorite.

I read this post by Leni Wiener that captures exactly what I'm feeling:

"Everyone responds to art differently, and no artist will appeal to everyone. That is a fact of life. But for the artist to get lost in, to find meaning in, and to be fulfilled by the process is the reason we do what we do. There are certainly easier ways to make money. When artists start worrying too much about the end product--will it get into the right shows, will it sell, will other people consider it ground-breaking--we lose the real reason we create. For artistic people, there is a need to express ourselves through the process. The end result should not be the 'goal' and should not impact on how and why we create. Art is a selfish endeavor--in that, I mean that we do it to fulfill ourselves--if we get outside gratification, that is just the icing on the cake."

Back to wrapping balls.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Raggedy Earrings

This is one of those projects that I started and couldn't stop. I love playing with these tiny palettes of color and texture. The fabric disks are 1/2"-3/4" in diameter. They will be going in our Portland Art Collective show Dec. 4 and 5.

I made lots in my favorite deep, rich colors:

And some bright, playful ones:

And a bunch in neutrals, which have become my new love this year. I have been so inspired by the beautiful work on Gerdiary. She works in the softest, neutral palette and ends up with incredible pieces that often have a very peaceful quality about them.