The last month has been quite a busy one for me on the work front. Since I’ve been out of the house for a minimum of 11 hours and a maximum of 13 hours a day on work days, there has not been a lot of time for doing much other than eat and sleep. I’ve not been doing much physical art work, but I have been doing some (more) thinking. Since finishing my C&G course I’ve only made one small quilt. I don’t seem to have moved on much since I wrote this post in June. I know that I’m someone who needs an outside impetus to get me going. I don’t play the piano unless I take lessons, although I’ve just started again having had a large bill for the overhaul of the mechanics of my piano. I was told that the bearings under the keys stiffen up if not played regularly. They had to be replaced on my piano. I start slacking on my Spanish if I don’t go to evening classes. The list goes on.
So I am torn between the need to keep the pressure on to create – which means producing art for exhibitions and juried shows – and trying to find my own unique style. My problem with creating for shows is that most of them have themes and I’ve not yet found the answer to fulfilling the requirements for the themes and at the same time finding my own voice.
The visits this summer to two major textile art exhibitions helped me get some more clarity into my thinking. Looking at other people’s art work has enabled me to take a couple more steps towards finding my own style. Up to now I have been more of a gatherer than a hunter. I’ve taken quite a few technique courses at QU and the C&G course is designed to have you trying out different methods and styles. I feel now is the time to become more focussed. But how to do this?
I have been giving some thought to two possible ideas, which are probably different aspects of the same goal. I’ve been thinking about motifs and working in a series. Up to now I have not wanted to work in a series, because I thought it was too restricting. When you start out it is a good idea to experiment and try many different things. It is probably a natural progression to then move on to working in a series. Certainly many artists (in all media) do so.
The first impulse came from the article “Finding your unique design” by Terry White in the Aug/Sep 2010 Issue of Quilting Arts. It is subtitled Variations on a single motif. The idea being to find a motif that you like enough to work with to create your own design vocabulary. This quote from the article sums it up quite well.
By focussing on a single motif and playing with lines and shapes, one can explore personal style changes and develop new styles.
Another article on the Textile Blog about wallpaper patterns gave more food for thought. I like tessellations and repeating patterns. I think that was what originally attracted me to patchwork quilting. With the emphasis on textile art these days I suppose I felt that you had to be figurative rather than abstract to be taken seriously. The exhibition Color Improvisations changed my thoughts on that front.
This week I discovered this gallery of photos by Melody Johnson on Picasa about working in a series. This set me off thinking about working on a series of quilts. So I did some more research and found this squidoo lens about working in series. Take a look at the 12 good reasons to paint in a series. The arguments and ideas can equally apply to textile art. Explore the links too!
Maybe I’ve found a way to move forward now. When my work/art balance gets back to something more manageable I hope to be able to take up some of these ideas and start making quilts again. Instead of just thinking about them.