This workshop was an inspirational focus for me. I have needed to do this, but didn’t know that this is what I needed. The understanding of Alignment present or not present in my work both now and as I go forward is like a plumb line, a way of measuring. The list of strengths and weaknesses was a bit challenging. I’m hard on myself and often can’t see any strengths, only that I’m falling short. Which leads into the subject of perfection.
I began to move outside my comfort zone in my art explorations because I applied some words of wisdom I had often applied to other things in my life. “If you demand perfection or nothing, you usually get nothing.” This helped me start. I had often talked myself out of doing something because I wanted to get it all figured out in my head first, then there was no risk of failure (I thought). But I missed a lot of “doing” with this block. This phrase is how I freed myself to take the first steps in making. It was incredibly liberating for me. Now I have reached a place of some confidence in what I can do, so I want to get better and improve my skills and strengths. I am still working toward the kind of perfection Jane is talking about where things line up reaching some kind of synchronization of skills, ideas and joy. I see the value in knowing what that might look like so you can recognize it when it happens.
Please feel free to comment and critique the pieces I have included here.
They are two pieces I am proud of, I enjoyed making them, but I have a gut feeling that they are not what they could be - not perfect. So, I sat down and tried to analyze them. They feel incomplete to me, like they could be stronger and I’m not sure how. I do see where I could improve on some basic skills. I just wrote what works and what doesn’t work in my eyes.
The first one is called “A Controlled Burn”. It was created in response to someone else’s piece that had a theme of smoke, fire, matches. Three of us responded to the one original piece. I was inspired one day visiting a friend in the country when smoke rolled over the hill behind her house. Walking up the hill I could see the patches of blackened earth, burned stubble and bits of flame. It was a controlled burn. What works: the use of rusted fabric, the layering and texture. What doesn’t work: not a clear focus, could have more red and the smoke could extend up outside the top of the piece creating a more “smoky” effect. Not sure I completely achieved the content I was after.
The second one is called “Bless the Spine:. It was also in response to a piece. The other work was a photograph of a book spine with arabic lettering blown up to focus on a detail, and digitally blurred around the edges. I was inspired by the photograph which looked like a human spine to me as well as a book spine. I recalled a poem by Mary Oliver that is a kind of blessing on the body. She ends it with “Bless the spine for it is the whole story.” What works: the texture and layering, the overall effect of both a human and book spine, the silk and gauze resembling skin and tissue as well as agin g parchment pages of a book. What doesn’t work: the shading could be more defined and the center “spine” could have more definition. It’s just kind of blah. I didn’t want to over work this, but I may have underworked it.