Sunday, October 31, 2010

More excitement

Found out yesterday that a proposal that a friend and I made to a local gallery for an art quilt show, has been accepted. Wow!! We're in business!! This will be a juried show that will hang for a month. Beyond that--nothing has been decided. Watch this space!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

First step

I've been out buying supplies. Stocking up on several things that I feel I just must have to be an artist. (Did you know that Fabricland sells a water soluable stabilizer? Have to try that one!) Then I realized that many of the women at the retreat wore shawls in the evening. So I had to get one of those, since it appears that one needs to wear one to be a successful fibre artist. Mine is cheap man-made fabric, but quite soft and warm. Maybe when I get old(er) I can afford a soft wool one.

All of the clothing and supplies that I took with me have been sorted out, washed and put away. So now I'm ready to work. Wrong!! I have a finishing job to do, and a sewing job for DH. And we need to buy food! But wait--painting class is this afternoon. Life really does get in the way. So I made a list ( Now where have I heard that before?) I wrote down the basics of each idea I've got whirling around in my brain and I'm going to post it on the wall so I don't forget.

One blessing--the "big sale" over the weekend was a washout so I don't have to worry about having enough stock for the sale in November.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Professional Conferences

Yep, that's where I've been. Never thought of it in those terms before, but someone in the group described this week's retreat in those terms, and they fit. We had all of the components, a keynote presentation, workshops, professional papers, and field trips to local areas of interest. We had four days in a quiet residential facility, with meals provided. The seventeen participants were members of the Fibre Art Network,(FAN) a group of Western Canadian professional fibre artists. Often when quilters and fibre artists get together, they each share their recent work. At the local guild level this is often a short show'n'tell session, but with the FAN group this is an interactive, in depth, presentation, that can take 30-40 minutes, and could be considered the presentation of a professional paper. Based on discussion at the time, this event is the highlight of the conference. There are also meetings, and the Annual General Meeting of the association.

So, why do I go? This is the third time I've been in the last four years. The resulting enthusiasm for my work, and almost ovewhelming inspiration can last for months. Having spent the better part of a year trying to find my muse and jump-start my creativity, this was, in a way, a last ditch attempt to do that. But I've come to realize that what I'm really searching for is my place within the fibre art community. Am I a "newbie"? A beginner? Is my work on a par with other artists? Where do I fit inthe scheme of things? I see an emerging role as a bit of a coach--suggesting strategies and cheering others on. This may suggest that I'm a "poseur", but I don't think so. My knowledge and skill puts me at a slightly higher level than that. I think it may be the creative gene that's damaged or partially missing. I also know that there have been times when I've subtly sabotaged my own efforts, possibly because of a lack of confidence in my own skills and abilities.

Someone, at the conference, spoke of taking a sabbatical. That may well be what I'm trying to do with the year I've given myself to find myself. Or the year ahead of me when I plan to restore the fun in my work. And the ideas are certainly spilling forth. Now I just need to catch and tame them.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Quilt shows

Thursday evening I attended a lecture and show of the work done by the Glacier Grannies in support of the Stephan Lewis Foundation. This action is in support of the grandmothers in Africa who are in the position of having to raise their grandchildren, who are orphans of the AIDS/HIV epidemic. These quilts were all original designs that took their inspiration from pictures or concepts related this disaster that is taking place as we speak. Some very beautiful and thought provoking works.
It took place in the Bay store downtown. My observation was that there were more people at the lecture and show than in the entire rest of the building--and the store was open. Saturday I volunteered at a local art gallery where there is a very low profile quilt exhibiiton. During the five hours I was there 47 people came through, when the average daily attendance is more like 6-8. These people didn't just wander through. They talked, and asked questions. In this very small gallery, some of them stayed for more than an hour. And gratifying to me, the most interest was shown in the art quilts.
Now--I know several local art quilters, and only a small portion of those exhibit their work--in other than guild shows. Why couldn't someone organize a local art quilt exhibit? The interest is obviously there. This is "hot stuff" right now.
There is another side to this. While viewing the exhibit onThursday evening, a friend and I were discussing the wide range of skill that was obvious in the smaller venue, both having seen a preview of that show. One of the people who visited the gallery yesterday, was someone whose work, on exhibition, was not , IMHO, gallery quality. I talked with this woman at length and was blown away by her interest in learning more. She is very anxous to improve her knowledge of the techiques used in art quilting, and equally anxious to find out about opportunities for classes etc. Based on many of the questions I was asked, I don't think she was the only one. How does one "mine" this opportunity?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

People do read this

Not many, but enough to make me feel less alone in the world. Thank you Beth, Linda and Corina. Sometimes I think artists function very much in their own small bubble of reality, finding it a distraction when the world intrudies. I know it's this way with me, until that sudden lightbulb moment when I realize that I need people too. I came to understand this many years ago, when I was the mother of small children, and suddenly realized that I hadn't spoken to another adult--other than the clerk at the grocery store--in almost 7 months. ( My husband had been away) Since then, I've made the effort to be with people, mainly accomplished with my volunteer work. One of the potential difficulties with reducing my volounteer work, in the next little while, has been the possibility of isolating myself, especially with impending winter, and the natural isolation that can bring. Thank Goodness for the internet and e-mail.

The natural "high" that came with starting my painting and design classes has diminished, and now I'm in that middle state where there is just hard work and few satisfying results. I knew this would happen and am prepared for it. I know I just have to plug along until one day I'll see results. My painting is not going badly, but I'm nowhere near the state where I can put down, in paint, the vision I have in my mind. I can almost do this with fabric, and when struggling with my painting, sometimes find myself reverting to the techniques that work with fabric. Yes--I used a rubber stamp successfully in a piece I was trying to do of "the forest floor" ( barf). I made some pretty good rocks that way, and was able to use a rubber stamp I had made a couple of years back.

A good thing happened, when I was sorting out my supply cupboard, and came across a box Beth had sent me. I opened it up and discovered two bottles of acrylic paint in exactly the two colours it had been suggested that I buy--well sealed and usable. Beth, you have contributed much to these classes. The brushes you sent turned out to be acrylic brushes. My watercolour brushes sure wouldn't have done the job! Thank you.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

One response

One person would miss me. So much introspection and then the acceptance of the fact that I do this blog for myself--always have. So we carry on.

This year has seen a reduction in my volunteer hours. It often turned out that I was busier outside the studio than in it. There has also been a purposeful reduction in production work. I need time to encourage my creativity, not dull it down in repetitive "donkey" work aimed at selling. This means focussing on learning as much as I can about whatever I want. So I'm taking classes in art. I fell into a wonderful opportunity to take a series of classes in painting with acrylics, from a highly respected local artist, and I've signed up for three separate classes from another equally well-thought of artist, well known for abstract collage work. My first class with him will be this Friday, on "Composition". I'm really excited about it.

No word yet on help with the posting of photos. Our regular "techhie" fellow has been on holidays. We've pretty much made the decision to install PhotoShop Elements on our new desk top computer, but even then, he'll have to show me how to post the photos.