Ending the Year

This is always a time of reflection for me. What did I do right, what did I do wrong, did I make some new friends, did I honor my maker? But most of all it is a time to look forward. I won’t make goals even though I have in the past. Those nasty little buggers just seem to plague me with stress.

I joined the SAQA  Visioning project because I thought I needed help with direction and keeping on track. So far it isn’t working out so well for me. I identified a need and I thought I was just the person to fill it. Not. Now I need to decide if I will take a new direction.

What ever direction I decide to take I hope I can keep my art fresh, unique and full of soul. My RA is flaring in these cold winter days so I am limited in what I can do right now. It is making me approach the pieces for Sacred Threads differently than planned. Sometimes those pieces turn out the best so we will see this time.

If I don’t get back here before Christmas, have a wonderful peaceful day.

Artist or Seamstress

There was a brief discussion the other day on the Quiltart list about others appreciation for our artistic talent. Please note that I did not say others appreciation for our skills as a seamstress. Of most of the categories of the arts, fiber seems to be one of the most misunderstood by the general public as well as our friends, extended family and neighbors. Much more misunderstood than a 2-D painter or a weaver or a woodcarver.

You might think this is because of the utilitarian history of quilts, but weavers got their beginnings with utilitarian items as did woodcarvers. Most of the arts and crafts have a foot in history as utilitarian crafts. So what makes quilting and art quilting have a different perception in the public’s eye? Or is the misperception to some degree in our own eyes ?

I’m going to venture it is that most art quilters and quilters in general are women. Women’s work is less valued than men’s work even in America’s culture. We as women artists need to ask ourselves if some of this is our fault. I had a piece outdoors photographing it. Later that evening I was talking to a male neighbor who is over 65. He surprised me when he said he saw me photographing some of my ART..not quilt, he said art. My misperception was that he wouldn’t have known much about art, but he did.

Fiber artists, textile artists, quilt artists, or whatever we like to label ourselves other than simply artists are mostly women. The men who label themselves one of these, seem to have no problem expecting their work to be respected and accepted. So, who’s problem is this? A new year is about to begin so maybe there is some soul searching and a little kick in the butt in order.

And the future is bright – new 2010 goals

I’ve been doing lots of thinking about art and quilts. Soul searching if you will. I know what I want to do, which is multi-task and turn out lots of art to sell. But with my RA that just is not a feasible wish. It seems I have a good day and do lots of things with energizer bunny speed and then pay for it for days afterwards. Don’t ever believe the advertisements that there is a cure out there or that you suddenly can do everything you did before if you take the magic pill or magic shot. Ah, I wish it was so.

Maybe that’s why I’ve become a deep thinker about my chosen avocation. Well, that and an incident that happened this week over the local art league’s upcoming fiber art show. Without going into too much detail, the chairperson of the event had a one woman show last year. When the call for art went out this year I answered it. The chairperson refused to answer all my questions about things like if it’s juried when will I know, how long will the show hang, details of invitations and the opening reception. Let it be said that she made participation as difficult as possible and then told the league president I was angry over not showing postcards. After having all my pieces accepted and receiving an email with that information I received another email a short time later from her telling me that their little show didn’t have the “scope and prestige” I was after. Where in the world that came from is anyone’s guess…left field, right field?…but she finally hit a home run with her final insult and I withdrew from the show.

I’ve run this by a few other fiber artists and it was funny in an odd way that her behavior hit them the same way it hit me. I laughed when a good friend said it was a backhanded compliment that my work was too good for her, such a nice way to put it. The general consensus has been that she was jealous and/or intimidated that her work didn’t stack up. She did not want to give up one glimmer of the spotlight.

Should I have continued to ignore her sniping and delivered my pieces for the show? I had no confidence that they would have been hung other than in the back of the gallery and I assumed I would have been relegated to the refreshment table during the reception, if not under the table out of sight. I find her behavior so very odd since the circle of fiber artists around the world are the most caring and supportive group of women and men I’ve ever come across. As a community, we cheer on everyone else’s successes.

So now at the end of this long post I will tell you why the future is bright. Since I know that I can’t produce mountains of any kind of art I’ve decided to be very selective. My goal for 2010 was to jury for Houston and hopefully get a piece accepted. But the fiasco with this person made me sit up and take notice. Maybe I am good enough to enter any show I want. Maybe I’m good enough to make 3 pieces to jury for Quilt National….maybe, just maybe, I could get in. So I am going for the big gold ring, I will reach for the highest star of the art quilt world and start on 3 pieces to be completed in time for jurying at the Dairy Barn.