Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Good Question...


Robbi Eklow sent me this email:

Melody, the bread is nice and I enjoy the pictures. But I have aquestion for you, during all your years of teaching and traveling, didn't you have a quilt that you would have made if only you had enough time? One that you need to work on slowly and perfectly, one that needed a long long stretch of uninterupted time? A masterpiece?
I know you have stopped making quilts for shows, but did you give upon your amazing large quilts too?

Robbi

Dear Robbi,

Yes, I have no interest in making large quilts anymore. I have a garage full. I can't see a purpose to them except for shows and competitions, which I am way over.

My intention was to make work that was fun for me to make, outside the obligatory sizes of shows and galleries.
No one buys them. Or hardly ever, and so I wonder why I would want to do them. I think the largest I am planning on making is in the 36" on a side size.
Can you give me a good reason to change my thinking?

Lovest Mel


And now that I have said it, I am already gritting my teeth thinking I have said NEVER and one must never say never when it comes to artmaking.
But here's what comes to mind. I have lots of large quilts and a very small house now. I can see hanging one at a time in the living room, but then I like my paintings in there too.

And I have already mentioned that the process is what it's all about for me, and the process is more enjoyable if I am not worried about finding a place to put the new work. If it is large I will have to locate a suitable venue, show, gallery, SOMEWHERE to put it, and that is not what I want to be spending my time doing. As it is right now, I would rather be making art that is affordable (size makes it so) and fun for me.

I have never been interested in doing commission work and so if someone wanted a large work from me, I would turn them down. So cross out that reason.

I can't make myself enter quilt shows anymore, as I don't care to compete. I don't want to make work that trumps the previous stuff and since I am not promoting myself as a teacher, I don't need to be doing the latest thing as a way of attracting employment.

Now that I have said all these "I don't want to's" I will balance them with the "I want to's".

I want to make art that is delicious to my eye, that represents my new life, that is simple and spare and elegant. I want more nature in my work, because my life has more in it now. And I will experiment a bit with what else is possible, adding new bits as they creep up. I have already taken a giant leap with the addition of a few graphic prints.

And one of the other things that I planned to do when I had more time is to paint, and draw, and use up some of my other art supplies. Just today I was sent some photos of the framed painting I made and sold last January.

This make me so happy to see. And of course I wonder when I will get out my paints?

14 comments:

  1. Eloquent and refreshingly honest.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Bonnie10:42 AM

    You can now do what you want to do when you want to do it....no pressure from peers...no guilt... just the freedom to explore yourself and your surroundings. I am so happy for you and thanks for sharing the journey.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Maybe now some people can understand what retirement really is: doing what you love to do at your own liesurely pace, for your own enjoyment. If some $$ appear as a result, that is a bonus.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wow! I really like the texture in that frame! Wonder where they had it done?
    If you need a place to hang your quilts I can find a space or two!!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Sharon12:41 PM

    All the "experts" say we need to envision our lives as we want them and then make decisions that move us toward that vision. Much easier said than done in this society of excess, but you seem to understand that really well!

    ReplyDelete
  6. so does an artist get to have museum acquistions during their lifetime? or how about employing an agent to sell the large quilts? or is my naievete coming through?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Have you thought of donating some of your quilts? [for raffle or auction purposes] Like to local schools that might be raising money, or scout troops for the same reason, or womens shelters to jazz them up a bit???

    ReplyDelete
  8. Melody,

    I read your post this morning and found myself thinking about it on and off all day. I applaud you for being aware of what feels right for you, and just letting yourself do that. But it's interesting me that different people DO have different processes. I don't really know why, but I am not satisfied by small pieces. Of course, I"m not geared toward selling them, or exhibiting, or even displaying...it's all about the process of making them. Still, I gravitate toward bigger things, which I can't finish (and don't want to finish in one swell foop. Isn't it interesting that different artists are so different? I mean, folks like Velda Newman and Ruth McDowell work BIG BIG BIG, and I suspect they wouldn't be doing that if they didn't find it satisfying (and not just about show size requirements, prizes, etc.) You find smaller, more instinctive, more immediately finished pieces to be what satisfies you, and good for you for just continuing to explore what is fun and exciting for you.

    Along with bread, of course.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Well said Melody, I have been doing just that for almost three years now and it's great. I still get asked to do commissions and I refuse with a smile and say, "I am retired". I am done with that. I do what I want when I want. I don't even blog when I don't want to lol. I just read yours. I am also in my painting mood at the moment.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I forgot...and knitting...I am having a fit knitting..I love it...

    ReplyDelete
  11. Melody, I've given you a "You make my day" award - see my blog for details.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I can't wait to see some paintings here!

    ReplyDelete
  13. In Sally's famous words : "I'll have what she's having"...

    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