I've been invited to participate in an artist blog hop that started in Europe and has come to me via my art friend Kathleen Loomis (check out her website here and her blog here). Kathleen's work is known worldwide. I have followed her career as an artist through her blog for a number of years. She never ceases to captivate me with her work. The blog hop consists of four questions about my work and some recommendations for other artists I am inspired by.
What am I working on?
Really, there are not enough hours in the day. I have six projects in process right now and I am flitting between them like a housefly on honey. Two are experiments. I started with some quilts gone bad (of which I have a plentiful supply), cut them up into little pieces (ahhh! release!) and then stitch them back together again with raw edge strips. This black and white sample shows the piece that is focused on the practice of redlining neighborhoods (where banks and real estate operations defined lower income areas of the city as too risky to invest). Lots of messy threads beginning to nest up on this one. I'm maybe 10% there with what I want to do with it. The other is a collage (see Mind Map below) that has been on my wall for over a year and a half and includes so many pieces of ideas that it might end up being an inventory of my brain. It grows and grows. If archeologists find it in the future they will postulate on what brain worm I was hosting.
The third piece focuses on piecing. I am calling it Witnesses for now. But it might turn into Refugees. The work is inspired by all of the people who have lost their country of origin through catastrophe, war and plague. No pics yet.
Number four is a study done on a recycled tablecloth. I spent last week stitching a globe on it. It dominates my thoughts when watching the news. Too new for shoes right now.
What does all this activity net me? Confusion sometimes, release on other days. When I tire of one I flit to the next with abandon. The on off switch goes off and on again and I am reinvigorated.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Though I am not alone in this pursuit, I focus a lot on the line work of the stitches. I don't use patterned fabric choosing instead to focus on solid colors or recycled white linens.
Why do I do what I do?
I ask that of myself almost every other day. No quick answer there. I have always been a maker. Using my hands to create objects is a biological need for me. Take me out to dinner and I will fold the napkin, arrange the toothpicks and contemplate how the sugar packs could be stitched together to create a mound of mystery. That said, I constantly wonder if this is the best use of my time. Could I do more for my community? Could I focus more on my family? How can I help others?
How does my process work?
I am blessed by many brain synapses and lapses. I read voraciously and most times those readings inform my work. I don't use a sketchpad. Instead, I leave myself cryptic ideas on sticky notes. One in front of me right now says caterpillar suction cups. Not sure where that one will lead. My phone provides a good portable note pad too. I snap pictures almost every day, recording shadows, worms (the wet ones in the rain and the dried ones on the sidewalks), webs, people, buildings and smudges...the list is endless. Sometimes when I don't know what to do next I just run those shots as a slideshow on my computer monitor. Journaling on this blog has helped me to voice my ideas in a more succinct way. That process helps me to define the pieces I am working on. I have created patterns (see Pundithere and here) but mostly I let the piece lead me, letting each step bring me to another level.
And now I would like to introduce two artists I follow.
Pat Pauly surrounded in patterned scarves.The first is Pat Pauly. Her unrelenting energy is monumental. Not only does she create stellar art with an eye for pattern that reminds me of Matisse, she also teaches and creates her own shibori-dyed and surface-designed fabric. See more of her work here and follow her blog here. She will post answers to the questions above on October 11 so be sure to check that out. Learn from one of the masters.
Her work, Flying Solo, is one of my favorites. Inspired by Amelia Earhardt's trip across the Atlantic it uses some of Pat's signature fabric and exudes a sense of distance and discovery. The way she makes the fabric patterns bleed into each other and disappear into the void is masterful. If you have a chance to take one of her classes I highly recommend them. Pat is a force of nature.
Amy Meisner is an artist from Alaska who is exploring deep and personal concepts. Her handwork expands the meanings behind her work and deepens their construct. She says in her artist statement: I’m inspired by textiles with the heft and history of the domestic -- burdensome to store, impossible to use -- and by the drudgery of working by hand. I love that during the hours of repetition the meaning of a piece shifts and deepens, but never loses its initial impulse.
I met Amy when she commented on my blog. Amazing thing blogs...little portals to connections. When I explored her work and ideas I was instantly inspired. With her piece entitled Girl Story 2: How it could be she explores the passage to womanhood. (read her very powerful take on this piece here and be sure to listen to Dominique Christina's poetry that helped inspire it. In The Acquisition of Language she explores the awareness of pain and how we verbalize the changes in our body. Take the time now to read her blog and explore her work here. She has a lot to say. She will also post answers to the four questions above on October 11 so put that on your calendar too.