Wednesday, May 13, 2009

On the Other Hand...

Bradford Copse
Hand dyed Silks and Cottons, fused, machine quilted.

Yesterday's discussion was wonderful and I feel we all got something off our chests. Ahhhh. What a relief.


For me there is a real difference between what I create when I am thinking "PROFESSIONAL ARTIST" and what I make when I am just playing around. I have higher standards for the former and I do a better job, not just in the technique, but in the designing. And I use better materials and follow through on the whole shebang in a more professional manner.

All the pieces in this post were sold this week. It makes a huge difference to me that I have made something that someone else wants to own. And the work takes on a significance after the fact and encourages me to work to that higher standard.

I begin to take myself more seriously.

And it is that same self that must dig deeper to make the best work. The self that is just dinkin' around doesn't try as hard to improve or be more innovative or clever.

The River Series

So whether we think of ourself as "hobbyist" or "professional" the resulting art may reflect that mindset. We are what we think we are.


  1. Such beautiful work. I look forward to your posts everyday!

  2. Congratulations on selling such beautiful quilts. I'll raise my glass to "digging deeper!"

  3. Lucky people who own one of these now!

  4. Anonymous1:06 PM

    A comment on "signature style," or as Nancy Crow says, "finding your voice." We use different speaking voices (and vocabulary, volume, etc) if we're at work, talking to our neighbors, at church or proper social events, etc. Why can't we have different voices in our art, depending upon the different environments? And perhaps there is an identifiable style of line (either cut or quilted), or value difference and color selection, or subject matter that is common across the different voices from one artist. Sometimes the identifiable style is not a product of the targeted environment for the art, but rather an integral part of the way the artist expresses himself.
    -Connie in Alabama

  5. This all, in some way or another, gets back to the fundamental question -- what is art (or what do you believe it to be). It's different things to different people, but for me a piece of art speaks to me, it becomes a piece of communication between the artist, the art, and me as I return time and time again to look at it. The message may be one that transcends words, it may be emotional or spiritual, but it's mindful. So, if I'm dinking around and playing, that's fine and good (and important)but it's not art I'm doing. If I suddenly look at one of those dinks and it sparks an image or idea for me and I go with it and develop it, it's that mindfulness (conscious or subconsciously) that starts to turn a dink into a piece of art. Love that word dink. Being the proud new owner of Bradford Copse, I have to say I've looked at that piece online for a year. The conversation I've had with it isn't one that I can express verbally, but it affects me on a number of different levels, and I return to it over and again to see what new things it has to "say" to me. For me, that's art. And I can't wait to have it on my wall! Woohoo!!!

  6. Liz in IN7:20 AM

    Gorgeous work, as always. I love looking at my "Melody original". :-)

    Confession: the labels "hobbyist" and/or "professional" don't enter into my mindset at all (during art making or any other time). Labels are just one of the constraints I've chosen to abandon. If I started thinking "You're being a professional now, so get with it!" I'd tighten up and lose the joy. My art is 'me' -- what you see is what you get, 24/7. No pie chart required.

    Well, unless we're talking a whole 'nother kind of 'pie'...currently, around here, it's rhubarb! ;-)

  7. Wow, loved reading these last two posts. Hmmm. I would have to say, I'm a professional artist when I do my fiber pieces. I'm definitely a hobbyist when I paint. I do agree with a previous comment, art is the communication between the maker and the viewer, no matter what.

    I'm assuming that the River Series is your "professional work". It is fantastic!

  8. "We are what we think we are."
    Yes You are right!!!!!!

  9. These four quilts are so cool Mel. LOVE THEM!


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