Category Archives: My take on…

My New “Newsletter”

I Launched a Newsletter!


Gregory Peck pictured reading a newspaper in a scene from the Oscar winning1960 film “To Kill a Mockingbird”

 

I miss reading the newspaper.

In Denver I subscribed to the “Rocky Mountain News”. It was in a tabloid format. I loved the shorter square that was like a magazine making it seem easier to read. In the summer (when I was not teaching) I could take my paper and my coffee to the back porch and spend an hour reading. Of course I had my favorite columns and editorial page writers, but I tended to wander around reading a variety of information.

That paper like many other papers ceased to exist in 2009. We are now in the era where a 800 word news story is captured in a 140 character tweet. The links to the full article are attached to that  short burst of information but according to an article in Buzzkeep you would need 10,000 followers to get 10 people to follow that link. So people are reading short bursts of information like I used to read a headline or title of an article and then deciding if they want more. 

Today I get my news from the PBS newshour, reading those twitter links from newspapers like the Washington Post or New York Times. My news consumption is like most people scattered and far from the days of opening a paper to see what happened yesterday. (#SAD)


My blog posts are about the length of a newspaper article: 500 – 800 words. Some of you seem to be interested in reading these few paragraphs from me a couple of times a month. I enjoy taking the time to reflect and sharing my thoughts with you.

An art quilt I created in 2015

My newsletter is designed for those people who want to select from what they want more information about or just glance to see what I am up too. I’ll have photo’s of recent work and information about where you can see one of my quilts in person. There will be a blurb about something I use or a video that’s interesting. The newsletter is something that I hope you will share with friends who might want to learn more about art quilting. 


Today  I am grateful there are so many ways to keep in touch, share my passion for art quilting and learn from others. Here are ways to you can connect with me. 

Instagram

FACEBOOK

Pinterest

Blogs

Online Gallery


If you have a blog, website, newsletter or other social media; let me know! The power to connect is vast in the 21st century; so why not take advantage. 

Until Next Time……
Margaret

You can see my work…….

Under The Western Sun
The Macey Center 
Socorro, NM 
July 24 to September 11.

H2Oh!
National Quilt Museum, Paducah Kentucky
June – September 2017
New England Quilt Museum
Lowell, Massachusetts  •  July 11, 2018 –  September 23, 2018

Sacred Threads

Flint Festival of Quilts, Flint MI – September 2017
HeART Gallery, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Toledo, OH – October 18-30, 2017
Grace Episcopal Church, Gainesville GA – November 1 – December 15, 2017
Voice of the Spirit Gallery, West Raleigh Presbyterian Church, Raleigh, NC January – February, 2018
Southeastern Quilt & Textile Museum, Carrollton GA – March-June, 2018
Good Shepard Episcopal Church, Hayesville NC – July, 2018
The Rectory Cultural Arts Center, Norcross, GA – August, 2018
Virginia Quilt Museum, Harrisonburg VA – September-December, 2018
Best of the Valley Quilt Show, Lindsay, CA – April, 2019
A World of Quilts , Danbury, CT – May 2019

Pathfinders
Southern Utah Museum of Art
Cedar City Utah
June 30 – August 26 2017

35th Annual New Legacies
Lincoln Center
Ft. Collins, CO
July 5 – August 26

Interpretations: Conversations
Visions Art Museum
San Diego, CA
October 21 2017 – January 7 2018

 

 

 

 

Embrace the term: Art Quilt

 Many people in the art quilt world  question the value of using the term “quilt”.


Several years ago I was a member of Front Range Contemporary Quilters.During one of several meetings in early 2012 there was a rich discussion of whether FRCQ should drop the reference to “quilt” in the guild’s name.

Members were passionate about the subject. Some viewed the term “quilt” as limiting the organization’s ability to attract interest of museums and galleries. They argued we should not be associated with making pretty bedspreads.The logic was that quilts were craft and not art. A  proposal to replace the craft term (quilt)  with a broad term (textiles/fibers) as a path to be taken as an “arts” organization was presented to members.

A catalogue from a show which I was selected to participate in which embraced the the quilt in all it’s forms.

Other members were comfortable acknowledging quilting as an important gateway term into our medium. Quilts like the Gee’s Bend quilts had been displayed in major museums; including an exhibition at the Denver Art Museum. Quilts had already been understood as more than a utilitarian object. Viewers connected with quiltings rich  heritage. They understood the difference between an art quilt and a traditional quilt. Dropping the term was not the answer. 


I am happy to report FRCQ kept the Q!


The premiere organization represented art quilters is SAQA   (Studio Art Quilt Associates). SAQA has a plethora of opportunities to for the quilt artist and the public to see art quilts in a gallery or museum setting. The organization’s mission is to promote specifically the art quilt. Their member’s work is defined  as a stitched and layered structure.

In SAQA’s recent publication Sandra Sider argues that using the term art quilt presents a clear advantage for the acquisition of art quilts in  museums permanent collections.  Sandra surveyed curators across the country and asked whether they had “art quilts” in their collection.  She asked 140 institutions not associated with a University. Her results were interesting. 

Just a simple search of the term “art quilt” produces thousands of images; none of which are patchwork.

Many curators did not use the term art quilt. Computerized databases reflected what the artist or collector called the work. Maybe it was a fabric collage or stitched textile or mixed media. The result is that art quilts are not easily identified in museum collections. Using the precise term will help museums acquire and identify the work of art quilter


The fear that art quilts will be seen as craft may in fact be keeping art quilts from being identified as art.  


The fear of being a crafter is often just below the surface when a group of art quilters get together. I too was a victim of this malady for a period of time. I found a cure. After joined SAQA I embraced the term without regret and I spread the word about art quilts whenever the opportunity presents itself.

Below are ways I help encourage and educate when I am speaking with someone who is not aware of art quilts.  

When describing what I do to the novice, I reference SAQA’s definition. “My work is layered and stitched. It is a creative not functional product.”

Using a word bridge between a fine art tool and  the art quilt tool is helpful. “I use my extensive palette of thread like artist would use colored pencils to draw on the surface with my sewing machine.” 

I reference the history of art quilts.”The Studio Art Quilt Associates has been around for almost 30 years (founded in 1989).  The art world has recognized quilts as serious art for many years. In 1971 the Whitney Museum had an exhibit called “Abstract Design in American Quilts”

I avoid just talking about technique. Using the elements and principles of design to describe my compositions. “I started with a cool color scheme and created a visual pathway throughout the composition.”  


Until next time…..
Margaret

You can see my work…….

Under The Western Sun
Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum, Golden CO
April 27 – July 25 2017
The Macey Center 
Socorro, NM 
July 24 to September 11.

H2Oh!
National Quilt Museum, Paducah Kentucky
June – September 2017

Sacred Threads
Herndon VA
July 7 – 23 2017 
Flint Festival of Quilts, Flint MI – September 2017
HeART Gallery, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Toledo, OH – October 18-30, 2017
Grace Episcopal Church, Gainesville GA – November 1 – December 15, 2017
Voice of the Spirit Gallery, West Raleigh Presbyterian Church, Raleigh, NC -January – February, 2018
Southeastern Quilt & Textile Museum, Carrollton GA – March-June, 2018
Good Shepard Episcopal Church, Hayesville NC – July, 2018
The Rectory Cultural Arts Center, Norcross, GA – August, 2018
Virginia Quilt Museum, Harrisonburg VA – September-December, 2018
Best of the Valley Quilt Show, Lindsay, CA – April, 2019
A World of Quilts , Danbury, CT – May 2019

Turmoil
Festival of Quilts
Birmingham, United Kingdom
August 10, 2017 – August 13, 2017

Pathfinders
Southern Utah Museum of Art
Cedar City Utah
June 30 – August 26 2017

The View
St. George Museum of Art
St. George Utah
April 28 – August 16 2017

35th Annual New Legacies
Lincoln Center
Ft. Collins, CO
July 5 – August 26

Interpretations: Conversations
Visions Art Museum
San Diego, CA
October 21 2017 – January 7 2018

 

The Quilt Police

“I had a created a piece of art designed for a gallery setting and placed it in a craft show. A quilt show is a wonderful place for the art of traditional quilting, but is not a place for the work I do.”  post 8/12/13

show-2013


Back when I was beginning the process of becoming an art quilter and experiencing some level of success; I wrote two posts about quilt shows:

“The Quilt Police” and “Here Comes the Judge” judge

The first post explored my feelings of being out of place with audiences and participants focused on traditional quilts. The second post questioned the “artistic” value of the quilting tradition of a select group of judges awarding prizes for excellence.

Since 2013, I have grow as an artist and grown as member of the larger community of art quilters. I see these topics differently. Quilt shows are opportunities for the art quilt community to share what they do with others and to expand the world of art quilting. These venues have value. What they don’t always share in common with the world of fine arts; is a perspective about the innate value of artist freedom.


Reading about Kathy Nida and her problems with a major quilt show brought me right back to this time in my quilting life.


In the summer of 2013, my critique group had put together a show called “Kimono KaKushin”. It is wonderful collection of art quilts using an actual kimono as physical base. Because this group of artists is filled with intelligent complex thinkers, the resulting show was rich with ideas and visual interpretations of the theme. In our first display of work at a regional quilt show one of our members was censored.


“What right did the quilt police have to judge artist’s work in an approved exhibit from an invited group !”


12540837_1090436850991137_3123300604421195346_n

The objection from the quilt show staff came from patrons who thought the photographic images of the Japanese actions in WWII was offensive. The quilt was pinned closed so those images were hidden. I was furious. Members of my group were furious. We continued to show this work, but at venues where their clear communication and an understanding of what was presented.


This is a similar dilemma faced by SAQA’s travelling show
“People and Portraits”.
Below is the written description and a  banner
for this exhibit from SAQA’s website:

exhibition-page-header-people This exhibition celebrates the expressiveness of the human face. The diverse designs focus on a variety of both emotional states and the ways in which people interact: contemplation, joy, community, work and play.

Neither the written description nor the imagery is confrontational. Not only did the venue accept the exhibit, but it also sponsored the exhibit. “People and Portraits” travelled to several venues (including quilt week) before their was a problem.

“I Was Not Wearing a Lifejacket”.  It is a quilt depicting a recurring dream the artist had that she she describes as a running nightmare. It was made by artist Kathy Nida.

nida

The “quilt police” pulled this  amazing quilt from the display.

It seems at a midwest quilt show their was a complaint(s) about a penis.  The problem with that argument was that no image of a penis was found in the actual artwork and there was no staff member at the quilt show willing to help resolve the issue with the offended audience member. SAQA and many members of the art quilt community made their displeasure known.  The response was disappointing.

The statement from the American Quilter’s Society is as follows:

 “After receiving numerous complaints from attendees about a quilt in the SAQA exhibit, AQS removed the quilt from the People & Portraits exhibit at the Grand Rapids QuiltWeek event. Prior to removing the quilt, the feedback AQS received was not limited to one isolated comment. Attendees reached out to AQS staff at the show and via emails and phone calls to our office.”


I followed this issue over several weeks. ( Google it. There is enough out their on the web for anyone interested to get more information.) What I wanted to reflect on is the lessons for me as quilt ARTIST(!) and a member of the art quilt community.

Lesson 1: The traditional art quilt community has a rich culture which I value and understand that I have to serve as a bridge to that community.
Lesson 2: When creating or marketing a display of art quilts consider level of background knowledge of the audience
Lesson 3: Create an avenue for the viewer through written overviews, artists statements, flyers, recordings, and other resources for audience members to get additional information.
Lesson 4: Have a contract which specifically spells out what will be on display (including images of actual work) and what will be the process for resolving issues.

Until next time…..
Margaret

See my work in:

Quilt=Art=Quilt
Schweinfurth Memorial Art Center, Auburn NY:

Turmoil
International Quilt Festival – Houston, TX: October 2016
International Quilt Festival – Chicago, Illinois: April 2017 

The Accidental Friendship

happiness-solitude-virtue “Spending time alone can look a little suspect in a world gone wild for wikis and interdisciplinary collaboration. Those who prefer solitude and privacy are seen as eccentric at best and defective at worst, and are often presumed to be suffering from social anxiety, boredom, and alienation.”
Boston Globe “The Power of Lonely”

Picasso https://www.emaze.com

I am sitting alone in my studio because it feeds my soul. It’s my happy place. I am alone for longer periods of time than I have been since I was young and used to play in my room for hours at a time content with the company found in imaginary worlds.

Being alone is not being lonely.

When I retired from a profession where I worked in a building filled everyday with hundreds of kids and adults; I needed a little quiet time. When I moved to a new community; I had the opportunity to evaluate the level of social interaction I wanted and found myself really enjoying most of my time with my husband and hours alone working in my studio.

Recent series on Meditation

Recent series on Meditation

There are other “lonely” activities. Spending time just listening to my husband’s large collection of albums in our music room is wonderful way to end the day without the need for company. I read; blogs, books, and articles. Most days I do a bit of writing and at least once a week I am enjoying extended periods writing this blog and working on potential publications.

I used to attend group exercise classes. Now I am happy to swim laps, go to peaceful group yoga class, hike in the desert or walk my dog on the golf course after it closes. I am also committed to daily meditation. It helps to both to clear my mind of mental noise and allow space for new ideas.

Each of these lonely ways I spend my time has increased my creative energy and focus.


Retirement helped me remember my strong desire  as I graduated from art school to be a “real artist” working in a studio.  Although many years have passed I am lucky to have an income, a great deal of time and place to make art my fulltime job. I am living my dream.


 

Not everyone understands my love of time alone especially my accidental friend.

What is an “accidental friend”? I define an accidental friend as a person who comes into one’s life by chance and not choice. This person is in close proximity; like someone in the adjacent office or your new next door neighbor. Maybe they sit next to you at a meeting or you have a children in the same class.

In process of finding out how little you have in common with this person they declare you a friend.

You are stuck with an accidental friend. Neighbor

 


 

Before I was stuck with this accidental friend, I should have reread the “Accidental Tourist”.
bks-accidentaltourist

In Anne Taylor’s book the main character is Macon Leary; a travel writer who  hates travel and writes for the person who travels for business. Macon’s motivation is to keep life’s disruptions to a minimum and encourage predictability. In his travel writing he describes a scenario of the friendly seatmate  on a long flight. He provides detailed instructions on how to avoid any unnecessary  social interaction. His character describes a perfect prescription to keep one safe from the accidental friend.

Nap

When I moved to Mesquite I was really tired. So tired, my word of the year was nap! Now that my energy has picked up, I am using it on several  new projects. This means I am often working during the afternoons and late in the night. I am very happy to be isolated; but my accidental friend wants to rescue me.

Before nine the doorbell rings and here comes the accidental friend trying to get me to do something with a group. This friend finds me at the pool and insists on talking to me non-stop or moving my lounge chair so I won’t be alone. If  I have been working in my studio without going outside I’ll discover my friend peeking in my window. saying “I haven’t seen you out today.”

When I have tried to explain that I am really enjoying studio time, the response is “I don’t have a creative bone in my body.”  “I just can’t sit still. I need to be moving.” “Having a social group is so important. Retired people get depressed when they are alone.”

New series of work

New series of work

So I am now in the process of nicely saying no. I am sure that in a few weeks when more “snowbirds” arrive back my friend will give up on trying to fix me. What will not happen is my ability to help my friend understand the value of time spent alone.

Until the next time…..

Margaret

 

 

 

Three things you need to create a perfect job

Meaning + Mastery + Autonomy = The Perfect Job

Working through a problem.

I was watching a morning news show. During the introduction the host quoted an academic study which predicted that 50% of the current workforce would be replaced by technological advances. This made me think more deeply about the definition and value of work.

The TV guest for this feature was Derek Thompson who discussed his article titled:  “A World Without Work”  published in the July issue issue of the Atlantic Magazine. He describes the problem well. In the era of great leaps in technology more and more tasks can be performed with less and less people. As a result the number of “jobs” will be reduced. In the future government may distribute the additional revenue from additional productivity by providing individuals with a basic income.

So will people embrace the idea of never working again?
The short answer is No!
People need work for reasons beyond bringing home a paycheck.


source: http://dyk2.homestead.com/Page191.html

source: http://dyk2.homestead.com/Page191.html

Taking care of others = The Unperfect job
One of the first jobs I thought of as rewarding and irreplaceable is a  profession which requires human connection. A job where one takes care of another person liking nursing or teaching.

Current research documents issues with  being a caregiver. It is a career path where the stress often outweighs the rewards and drives people out of these professions. Statistics show 50% of people who enter teaching will leave within the first five years. The shortage has fueled education models like online academies which eliminate personal contact and decrease the number of instructors.

Student learning  in an online academy.

Student learning in an online academy.

(Selection from Brain Pickings)

Members of certain professions are more prone to burnout than others – nurses and teachers, for example, are among those at highest risk. These professionals are faced daily with caregiving situations in their work lives, often with inadequate pay, inadequate help in their jobs, and with too many patients or students in their charge.  


So what’s a perfect job?
I think I have one.
“Full Time Creative Person”

Ceramic artist at work

Ceramic artist at work

According the article there will be an artist revenge as automation increases. Artisans made up the original American middle class. Before industrialization swept through the U.S. economy, many people who didn’t work on farms were silversmiths, blacksmiths, or woodworkers. These artisans were ground up by the machinery of mass production in the 20th century. But Lawrence Katz, a labor economist at Harvard, sees the next wave of automation returning us to an age of craftsmanship and artistry.

  "A world without work" Atlantic Monthly Jul 2015

Daniel H. Pink is the author of five provocative bestselling books about the changing world of work

Daniel H. Pink is the author of five provocative bestselling books about the changing world of work

The arts are big part of our economy already. According to the National Endowment for the Arts (Arts and Cultural Production Satellite Account Issue Brief #1: The Arts and GDP)  the arts contributed to $698 billion to the US economy in 2012.  Unlike other sectors of the economy, the creative economy does not have trouble getting and retaining a workforce.

 A worker in the creative economy has an ideal working environment. Author Daniel Pink and supporter of the arts education;  describes in his book Drive “The Motivation Trifecta”: autonomy, mastery and purpose as the key to a productive workforce.


Autonomy: Studio Time
As an artist I love, love, LOVE(!) my studio time. As much as I loved teaching art, working alone on a visual problem or set of problems to create something is pure bliss. I am in complete control of my time, my work methods and can set my own goals.  The business side of art is a choice. Right now I choose to spend an hour every day on marketing, networking, or research.

Lea McComas award winning artist and book author.

Lea McComas award winning artist and book author explains her technique.

Mastery: Learning new skills
Artists are skill junkies. Let’s face if we all wander around galleries and museums asking ourselves “How did they do that?” As a group artists, naturally seek out opportunities to learn.

In a recent post I talked about taking online classes as a great way to work on the road. I order magazines and dvd’s that are filled with techniques. Like many of you I go to conferences and pay for workshops.

Purpose: I just can’t NOT create
Art is my addiction. I was away from my studio for six weeks and learned that I never want to be away that long again. When I am logging 4 – 8 hours a day at anything; then that activity can be defined as a job that I am passionate about – even if I am not generating income.

Daniel Pink describes purpose as that it’s connecting to a cause larger than yourself that drives the deepest motivation. Purpose is what gets you out of bed in the morning and into work without groaning and grumbling — something that you just can’t fake. (deliveringhappiness.com)

Passion creates energy and motivation.  Passion, for me;  is the key indicator that I have found my true purpose:

To be an artist.

Until next time…….

Margaret