Arlee B.

what are my strengths? marrying “disparate” elements into the story–except at the deep seated bottom of the truth, they aren’t disparate then, they come from within and do have a connection with each other and within my self--that is certainly the best alignment i could want

the patience to cover large areas in entirely hand stitch, the patience to make by hand many elements that are then married into one work (puzzle pieces!)

to make/design/prepare my own cloth from natural processes

to research the idea/object and either interpret or illustrate, to research FACTS and science, not opinion, hearsay and "woo-woo" ideas

to write concisely and honestly with no jargon

to write poetry that fits the piece or to translate the poetry to stitch in a non "verbal" form

to have developed a personal iconography from anatomical body depictions to natural elements

to find the image within the fabric and clarify the intent of the image

"Mother's Heart" 2013 ----to that date my work had been more "abstract", more about texture and shape than a story. I began "finding the image", a technique that pulls deliberate shape in inherent markings on the fabric, shapes that resonate within, and become a realization of the feeling or the actual object. Kind of like finding the images of animals in the clouds, or ghosts in the shadows! A small piece (12x12"), this work is about the love i have for Mother Nature, whether in depiction, my garden or immediate environs, and the way i feel when i am surrounded by nature.

"A River Ran Through" 2013: An emotional interpretation of how i felt after a forced move due to a major natural disaster, i again found the story in these pieces of cloth. I felt split and torn by the events, as much as i loved the river, Mother Nature had her say and turned it back to the way it had been 49 years before, rough, raw and naked.

To me, the one below is my least successful to date. "Exposé" 2015: Deliberately created in a very short time specifically for an exhibit, it doesn't feel true to what i wanted to express. It feels overworked, especially for the size of 26x19", sloppy, and perhaps too many techniques used.

I learned the valuable lesson of not rushing my work or my intent with this one. I realized i can rarely create something that is pointedly geared to a themed show. If i make something that fits the criteria, that's wonderful, but i can't--and will not ever again--make a thing that meets the size requirement, theme, colours or trending technique! I won't compromise what i do, just to be "seen" or popular.

My weaknesses are impatience in dealing with finishing (ie the edges, the backing, how will it be displayed), overthinking the meaning (! ironic since i don't create pretty for the sake of pretty--will it be "pretty" when it's done meaning will it be seen as art or decorative fiddling or will the audience see the actual story?????), spending more time writing about what i will do than actually doing it, and getting bored half way through something. I'm uncomfortable still with "commercial" (synthetic dyes, bright fabrics)  colour, though i'm working on how to handle it in small doses!  I often also came up with ideas that couldn't be translated, then realized this was an issue only because i hadn't the skill set yet to interpret them into cloth and thread. I've learned however that keeping the sketchbooks, however primitive or overblown the ideas are, that if they truly resonate, somewhere down the line i will be able to translate them into art.

As to adding something new to the mix, i've always wanted to try pottery, ceramics. I'm honestly not sure though that i would be successful in going to a hard form rather than the soft textures of cloth, as extreme as *they* can become.......