Tuesday, November 13, 2012

And so it goes, and so it goes...

How odd, isn't it, that the quilt that I just sold this weekend, Nasturtium Dance, was a catalyst for change for me. I have been thinking about this for a couple of days now. It was such a hard quilt to make and even when it was finished it did not feel satisfying. It just signified that the time had come to make some changes. At the time it felt really overworked and like I pushed it too far, yet when I saw it hanging, on Sunday, at the show in Tillamook, I could see why someone liked it. It had a lighter feel and a happy look that I had lost sight of when I was making it. It made me wonder if all my angst had been over nothing. But no, my heart has softened for that particular piece, but I still believe I need to find a new focus. As someone said, when an artist begins to bore herself it is time for a change.

I am really working hard on some new ideas. You know about my stripes and over dyed shirting fabrics and they are coming together in architectural motifs. I have always been drawn the whole idea of architecture—the built environment. I am especially intrigued by ancient architecture that stands as a reminder of the past and outlived the people who conceived it. It just occurred to me that I am using old clothing, that once was worn by people unknown to me, to create my impressions of old buildings, built by people lost, for the most part, to the past. I am struggling a bit, but learning a great deal as I go. What I have made so far is not as free and loose as I am hoping for, but it is a serious step toward simplifying and finding the essence of the forms. The small piece is finished. I will photograph it and post it soon. I am now working on a large piece that I have shown some bits of.

Here is a small section before I began to quilt it. My hope was that the quilting would help to soften and unify the disparate fabrics and hard lines.

Here it is with stitching added. I think it helps to pull it together and add the kind of texture that gives it a bit of patina.

The main thing is, though, that I am learning and having ideas for how I will make the next one different. There has been a lot of discussion on the internet lists about why one would create a series of related work. I think I am seeing exactly how that works. I am already working on the next one—on paper and in my head. Hopefully each will be better than the last.

I was so surprised to learn that some of my internet friends that I most identify with, are fans of Amanda Palmer, who I just discovered and wrote about in Saturday's post.  Jane Davila offered a link to one of  Amanda Palmer's blog posts, which is a work of beauty and wisdom and vast entertainment. If you've ever doubted yourself (who hasn't??) or been stung by others' expectations or disappointments, or just want to read something beautifully written, you might like this as much as I did.

I am going to Seattle tomorrow to see art and spend time with two favorite friends. Wish us a day without pouring rain—


  1. Love the depth you created in those windows!

  2. Congratulations on your sale of Nasturtium Dance, but even more kudos to you for continuing to forge forward in your quest for new ideas. I'm writing a new artist's statement right now and your correlation of used clothing and old buildings is exactly the kind of overarching motivation that works great for statements. I'm looking forward to seeing some of your finished pieces in this new series. Something that I keep trying to come back to (not too successfully yet) is silhouettes and negative space as a vehicle for depth and a loose approach.

  3. Terry, your analysis and explorations make perfect sense; as an artist I can't stand being bored, even if what I'm doing thrills other people.

    One tiny idea: the stitching may be the perfect solution to unifying the materials, but another way, if you need another way, might be to do the equivalent of "glazing". This could be a final step in the process or you might do it with your Rit dyes -- a very light final overdye of all the fabrics in the same bath.

    I don't know, of course, whether this would work for you, but I've been glazing some of my paintings and am happy with the results, including pulling the whole together, so I thought I'd pass it along.

    Hope your time in Seattle is wonderful -- the sun is shining in pdx right now.

  4. I wish you a dry day. :)