During the past 10+ weeks I have been on a guided journey to the past, rediscovered my artistic strengths, looked at my successes and affirmed what I do and do not want to do. Despite the disruptions in my personal life, I realized as I read through my notes I have managed to focus when necessary. It is a strong beginning.
By far, an awareness of the “committee” and how to manage it was the most important insight. Having internalized the concept and applied it in other areas of my life, I feel a new freedom!
In clearing out items in my studio I reached a decision that I will not require myself to finish the UFOs. I have no obligation to finish them no matter how much time and effort I have already invested!
When my four sons were growing up and on a box labeled “gloves without partners” rested on a coat closet shelf. The missing partners rarely reappeared but the singles were used to create new pairs on cold Ohio days. (I finally pitched the box and contents when we moved to Florida!) Perhaps my art UFOs will find a place in new work? Or not.
Another significant awareness was that I have been most successful in my conceptual, non-representational work. It is more honestly me. Trying to fit into highly specific theme-based competitions is not my right path. I had learned this about my photography a while ago but in my fiber work I lost my way after renewing my membership in an international quilt organization several years ago. I allowed myself to be influenced by some of their tight competition themes and the idea of “making something to fit the theme.” I like having an audience for my work but I must create the work first, and then find the audience.
To quote one of my photography teachers, K. Clemmons, ”Shoot for yourself! If you are shooting for other people, contests, clubs, stop it! Pure and simple! There is no way you can make images that express your vision if your vision is being controlled or directed by others.
She then quotes photographer Oliver Gagliani, “You will never make a photograph that everyone likes, so make sure that you like every one of your photographs.”
Here are my intentions for continuing the progress I have made so far.
I will give myself time to work without interruption by others and minimize my own distractions. I will be committee-vigilant. No negative voices allowed.
My desire to become more skilled with my SLR, photo-editing updates and my new Janome can be satisfied as I do the work, having fun learning as I go.
I will keep up with the clearing process.
I will narrow my focus and create work that springs from inside of me. I will trust my instincts, take risks, break the rules and listen to my own spirit.
I will slow down, take my time and enjoy the process.
Several themes are trying to pop out. I will start where I feel the greatest pull and see where I go from there.
This is a small piece, 8”x10”, that I created during the first week: “my favorite room from childhood.” I altered a photograph then printed it on fabric. I do not envision it as the start of a series. I will finish it as a quilt—a reminder of what I have discovered in this class.
This is a close-up photograph transferred to fabric. It is the first in a series of close-ups in nature. I will add to it and finish it as a quilt @18”x28”.
This small 12”x12” quilt that sold in the SAQA auction last year. It consists of several layers: music printed on fabric; flowers printed over that; the top layer is birds printed on silk organza and then quilted with metallic thread. It is the first in a series involving birds, music and my family.
This class has given me strength to not give up on myself, to move on and to look forward to the next chapter. Thank you, Jane. And thank you to all the other participants for your heart-felt sharing. I learned so much from all of you.