Janis D.

I prefer the look of Gees Bend Quilts, for instance, to an expertly sewn wedding ring quilt. Because I'm always up to a challenge, if I liked it enough, I'd learn to do it well if I wanted to. Just never wanted to. Yet, now I find that I enjoy the piecing and applique that I do.  It's never terribly demanding but I mostly do it well enough to make the majority of the corners meet.

I don't particularly enjoy the finishing processes after the art work is finished but I don't hate it. I actually enjoy making the tools.  Well, I like to design the stencils but not so much the cutting of them, so I'm considering purchasing a Silhouette stencil cutter. I used to love the old process of oiling oak tag and hanging it to dry.  Then cutting them is like cutting butter.  I just don't have the space for doing all the aspects of my mixed media art, and as my arthritis progresses I'm opting for newer, technological advances to do some of the handiwork.  I can't live without my computer now, though, especially Photoshop!

What does perfection look like to me?

First, my finished art should have integrity and authenticity. Philosophically speaking, it's on God to be perfect, but it's on me to bring a fair degree of craftsmanship to the work table. As a fallible human being with tons of inadequacies and dysfunctions, very good to excellent is good enough for me. 

I undo many of my mistakes but from time to time I leave some errors if I'm tired or pressed for time. I'm more conscientious about fixing my errors as time goes by. But I'm not a perfectionist, so I honor the wabi-sabi of it all.

I learned very early in life that the individual is obliged to seek perfection, even if we can never achieve it. Sometimes, we can never escape our Catholic school breeding! It has a way of sticking to us no matter how stringently we have separated ourselves from its doctrine. 

It's extremely difficult for me to narrow down my collection of supplies, tools and materials because I use so many different skills to do my art. And I very much love to learn new things so this works in my favor. It keeps me from getting bored, which would otherwise happen pretty quickly. This is why I am a mixed media artist. To be happy, I need to switch up what I do from time to time.

There are times when I’ve loved what I’ve done, even been in love with it. Although this is a recent phenom. Perhaps just in the last couple of years; mostly just this year. Yes, I do believe it’s possible that I’m approaching a point that I could become very satisfied with the results of my art practice. I’ve certainly persisted in doing it – I think it’s time to be mastering some of it.

Wannabe Skills

To be honest I think I have enough skills to confuse anyone! Nevertheless, I think about learning to do laser cutting and I wish I knew more about Photoshop. Both are good prospects for future development. I hope to improve on some of my newer skills such as DSP and Botanical Printing. And I’m always trying to update my photography and Digital Manipulation skills and although I’m very pleased with myself for teaching myself to build a website and blog, I’d like to improve upon these skills. Oh, and I just remembered one skill that didn’t make it onto the list:  I used to be very good at sales, but I stink at selling my own work.  I’d REALLY like to improve on that!

On Self Evaluation

I think I’m not so good at seeing my own work with detachment, although I can be fairly thick skinned when I receive sought out criticism.

But I will give it a go!

Across The Pond - A Self Critique

This piece was unusual for me in that it was very planned from its inception. I began the planning of it before beginning a 2 day class by Elizabeth Barton. And I didn't even get to starting in on the quilt until after the class was over. The goal here was to try my hand at something fairly abstract, although, I was much more abstract in the planning stage than when I tried to carry it out.

I was thinking along the lines of William Wray, Janis Sanders or Suhas Bhubal.

At the time, I thought it was pretty good, yet I knew I hadn't successfully achieved what I set out to do. But I also knew I had taken a few leaps ahead in the right direction. 

As I see it now, I wanted it to be leaner, still less detailed and most of all, I wanted to capture the community spirit and that's altogether missing. The bravest thing I ever did in an art quilt was to make that foreground three quarters of the whole piece, but that smaller one quarter just isn't doing it for me, especially that far left - I should have left off the window details altogether.

The main reason I didn't make it in class was because I didn't bring enough of my own dyed fabrics to do a piece of this size and there were no hand dyes to be had at the convention or surrounding area. So I hand dyed all the fabric before starting on it.  But the background still looks dull and cold when I had hoped to infuse some sense of warmth and invitation as it is in this small village. 

If I were doing this again, I'd add some warm color into the mix.  I could place a focus on the people in the scene and/or enlarge them some so their presence is more significant.

I avoided perspective because I was trying to depict the un-realness of this quaint scene and that may be one thing I actually like the best.  Most critical is the lack of feeling, warmth and mystery that I want to see in it.