Suzanne E.

My father-in-law, who will be 100 on December 8, has been hospitalized since Monday. He is expected to be OK. 

I have been writing and writing but have not found the time I need to distill all my ramblings into a form that I want to post. 

I love to take photos for fun!!!

I love to paint for fun!!!

I love to read!!!

I love discovering and putting pieces and parts together=collage in any form.

I like to sew but I am not used to the Janome yet.

I like to sew but get tired: my back hurts, my eyes are strained, and my fingers are not nimble any more.

Working so intensely on my most recent project was revealing in light of the AST work I have done so far. I did slow down and I did not meet the deadline. The piece remains unfinished, however, I continue to work on it and will see it to completion. I evaluated the piece for alignment as I went along. I also discovered what I am good at (and not) and what I like (or do not like) to do. I found myself again and again enjoying the research and the computer part—image altering and digital printing—putting the pieces together. I felt some satisfaction in the sewing.

I was focused on a specific competition “theme.” I discovered I am not a theme “illustrator,” however, I can visualize ways to get a concept across. Is there a difference between the two? Who can tell me? I can think of artists I personally know who have been illustrators in their work life yet their personal artwork is conceptual. I believe content in my art is important, but in what form?

I have been most successful in my conceptual, non-representational work.

It is when I venture into the specific themes that, to me, call out for illustration, that I have trouble. I have all these wonderful ideas floating in my head and I become very excited about them. But when it comes down to actually translating those ideas into an illustration I feel blocked. It is not “me.” My conceptual work comes much more easily and seems more honest to me.

But, then I say, why translate my ideas, photographs and digital collages into quilts when there is so little respect for fiber art in the “art world”? I could tap into my art historian self and bring up gender bias as one basis for this discrimination. However, some women artists themselves promoted this notion in an exhibit in the 1970’s called “The Artist and the Quilt.” Nancy Crow who has adamantly called herself “a quilter” set it in stone, early on. Her contemporaries and followers were led by her strong voice.

Many artists have used fiber art materials in their work, i.e. Robert Rauschenberg, Miriam Schapiro, Judy Chicago or Faith Ringgold. These artists called themselves artists, not fiber-artists or quilt artists. Simply “artists.” Period.

Quilt making is a technique; surface design is a technique; digital collage is a technique. I could go on. The numbers of layers or what techniques are used are immaterial to these artists.

Art is in the heart of the artist and in the eye of the beholder. Titles can sometimes have meaning or imply content yet the work itself must hold its own even if it is called “Untitled.” Art is art regardless of how the artist gets there. It is the final image that makes it good or not good art. And even then standards vary. And who is the grand definer of art?  

This is my reality and resolve:

I will never be a famous artist.

I will never make money as an artist.

I am grateful for skills, my tools and the time to make art.

I am happy with my talents and will use them to make as much art as I can. I will not try to fit myself into a “box” determined by others. I will take my time but not be a laggard. I will pursue my art with a playful heart.

These insights are significant for me. I need to sit with them a while until I move ahead. I am grateful for this course and for the extra time I need to become more clear about where I want to go from here.