Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Motivations


Kristin La Flamme said...
I read your blog and have been pondering this art history thing for an hour or so. It dawned on me the fine art is often understood through an understanding of the artist and what whas/is going on in his or her life at the time particular works were created, but in the world of craft, it seems that the emphasis is more on the how and not the why. So what happens when art merges with craft? Even though the art quilt is an accepted form of art, I believe that the books about, or by, particular artists focus much more on the techniques than on the raison d'etre. So hurrah for you to once again break down perceived barriers! I'd love to know what makes you create what you do, and I'd love to delve deeper into what makes my other fiber arts heroines tick too.

A big grin came over my face when I read this comment. Since I am often asked why I don't have a book, I must now reveal that I don't want to write a quilting book. Not to be too hoity toity, but I see myself as an artist who currently works in fiber, specifically, quilts for the wall. If I were a painter I might also be asked to write a how-to book on my painting techniques. Which I would also reject.

I love teaching my techniques and see that as a totally separate endeavor from my artwork. This may confuse some, but it is clear in my head that what I teach is a way of getting comfortable with discovery and improvisation, and opening doors to allow the artist within to feel safe and grow.

When I make my art, it is a private struggle/joy and even after 24+ years, I am still trying to figure out what makes it work for me. I can go back and analyze why and what motivated the work, but when it is working, while I am in the midst of creating, it is almost a supernatural experience.

Put that in a quilting book!

The real truth is that the motivation to make art may begin with an idea, or a sketch as I have recently acknowledged, or just a decision that it is time to get back to work. Each beginning is different. Because the time in the studio is interrupted with travel and dyeing fabric and making patterns etc for my income, then getting back on the horse takes a bit of work.

I made four large works which have been recorded here on the blog since I came home from Art Quilt Tahoe in November. My motivation was this exhibit that I will have March 2-5 in NJ. I wanted to have new work. I had no ideas of what it would look like, but then the realization of the thread of these cruciform shapes surfaced. This was as good a place to begin as any. That is the point I think, that I must dive in and start somewhere. The first one Red

and then the second, Green,

got me going, and when I made The Dance

I felt somewhat more open to experiment mid-creation. By the time I finished The Dance, I returned to a level of confidence that brought about Ellipses.


The motivation isn't very romantic is it? It is more about going to work and finally arriving at something new and exciting by working through the fog until it all becomes clear.

Not to disparage the first three, but if I hadn't been slightly dissatisfied with them I might not have pushed myself to make the fourth, and I would still feel 'in process', rather than feeling arrived.

As it is, I have not so much finished this series as I have the feeling that I have a started one. I put that cruciform shape in the center in my sketch to keep it in the same vein as I thought my work was going, but now I think the important element is the curving pod shapes, while the grid or cross is merely the layout or foundation. That curving element is also something that appears in past work, like the Triumph of Tulips or in Sydney, here below. The quilts are so different, yet familiar to me. It is the same sweeping motion of the hand that drew the sketch.

9 comments:

  1. Wow! It's so interesting to see your analysis of this series. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Melody - interesting comments. My take on "Ellipses" - it has the look of a landscape with a horizon and a rocky cliff in the foreground. Art is subjective, isn't it?

    Jen

    ReplyDelete
  3. The supernatural comment--I know EXACTLY what you mean and I can't explain it to people. It just happens. You're working and you just know what comes next and it's like working on auto pilot. I love when it happens.

    ReplyDelete
  4. revcherylc2:45 AM

    Thank you for this. It is what is often so frustrating to me about quilt books. it's not that I don't need to work on my techniques and have a desire to learn- but it's sharing the inspiration, however mundane it might appear to be that means so much more. And you're right of course that we wouldn't be saying 'So Rembrandt just how did you mix that colour in the corner?'

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thank you for sharing. I loved seeing this series evolve. I especially love "The Dance."

    ReplyDelete
  6. Anonymous11:55 AM

    Hi, Is there somewhere on the Internet where I can buy that fusible Wonder_whatever thingy by the yard?

    What is its correct name and is there a brand that you would recommend?

    Also where do you buy PFD fabric and is it of a high quality? or do you PFD your fabric yourself......apologizes for being so winded.
    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  7. Anonymous8:49 PM

    Best regards from NY! film editing schools

    ReplyDelete
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Hello,
So nice of you to drop by. I love your comments, and if you would really like a reply, please email me at fibermania at g mail dot com