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New Directions

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Since my last post I have had a series of four rejections to quilt shows. This has made me rethink my focus on building my resume. As I looked over the list of calls for entry I did not get into, I came up with a couple of insights.

After looking at the work accepted to these exhibits;  it was clear that two of the exhibitions "favored' abstract or abstracted compositions. These shows also focused on artists who have a experimental approach to materials. My work was not a good fit because it is figurative and more closely associated with traditional art mediums (photography and painting) .

The other two exhibitions asked entrants to respond to a specific theme. Of the work I have seen accepted into these shows, it was clear my submissions were out of sync - a little too edgy or provocative. I also was creating something for the show and not pulling something from my portfolio to enter. This is a mistake I have made before and yet I did it again!

As luck would have it, a good friend and fellow artist came to visit. We had a great time visiting Kenyatta Art Village and  some local galleries downtown.

She explained how she was heading in a new direction with her art business. Her plan was to limit her teaching schedule to spend more time creating for a studio sale with a few other artists. After sale is over, she will work on becoming  a member of local gallery or co-op.

 

Now I have a new direction.

  • Target my submissions to limited number of exhibitions. This will allow me more studio time to focus on creating.  Then I focus my efforts of finding somewhere locally to sell my work. 

Until next time.....
Margaret

 

 

 

Needle and Thread

Last time I wrote, I was excited about a trip to the "Road to California" quilt show in Ontario California.

This experience helped my broaden my view of creative expression. There is great value in understanding the rationale behind  quilt show judging.

Judges at quilt shows use a rubric to evaluate all kinds of quilts. A rubric is a concrete and consistent list of expectations for performance. (stitches consistent length, the number of stitches per inch, the composition and execution  meets the expectations of the category, etc.).

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I have been in the "no rules" camp for so long that I did not realize how much those rules can help expand creative opportunities.

The single comment made by the judge at this show was "thread tension" . A short to the point comment was a gift. It gave me an opportunity to grow as an artist and craftsman.

As I walked through the vendor market I started to focus on thread. We create line, pattern, change color and value by using thread. Thread can be an embellishment or a drawing tool.

Needle and thread is going to be a new focus for me. I want to embroider, improve my skill on my mid arm machine, practice traditional motifs and learn to use those rulers.

I am also starting to collect resources to help me learn like the websites "Needle and Thread"  and Handi Quilters Youtube channel "Sweet 16 Sundays"

Wish me luck!

Until next time...
Margaret

Road to California

Last month I got a chance to attend the "Road to California" quilt show. The show is an annual event in Ontario California.

I had a quilt on display in the human figure category. It was the first time I entered a traditional quilt show. 

As an art quilter, I have been devoting time to exhibitions which are either open ended or have a specific theme  like diaspora, our gun culture or metamorphosis. I entered on a whim my quilt "Swing".  My goal was to better understand how these venues determine winners, provide feedback and what the value would be for an art quilter like me to enter these kind of shows in the future. 

By the end of two days at the show I learned that I needed to improve my technical skills and rethink what might be a better fit using my current technique. I am even thinking of making a a more traditional quilt to enter in next's years show. 

The big surprise I had was how much I loved looking at vendors. These entrepreneurs offered a wide variety products. What stuck me was that they were fantastic creativity coaches. 

My favorite vendor was the "French General". The store located in Los Angeles displayed everything needed to start an embroidery project. Just looking at the booth ideas poured into me head and the staff was welcoming. Not pushy or elitist. Just the right balance.

I bought a hoop, small scissors (I planed to buy these) and a tea towel kit without stitch instructions! The staff me permission  to just do my own thing - perfect an out of the box person like me. 

Until next time...
Margaret

Keep a Little Notebook

There is a book by Gretchen Rubin called the "Four Tendencies". It's a book that divides personality profiles into four basic groups. She has test to find out where your personality falls. As it turns out I am an "Obliger". 

Obligers respond best to external motivation. They feel obligated to take out the trash, get the kids to do their schoolwork, dust before company comes and meet the needs of others. 

Where they have difficulty is when they are doing something just for themselves. They are the people who can't find the time to get to the gym or have a regular pedicure. 

I have a little work around as an artist to set up an external obligation to fool myself into doing something just for me. 

Every morning I write in my notebook a short bullet list. Some items might be obligations, like getting to Walmart or walking 8000 steps. I also put on that list studio/creative time or reading in the sun. 

Surprise! Since using this little notebook I find time even in a busy day to get creativity and learning scheduled. 

Until next time...... 

Why am I the “Metaphysical Quilter” ?

As I hand out a business card that most frequent question I get is

"Why the "Metaphysical" Quilter". 

In truth I have to say that I decided on this moniker 10 years ago and did not fully think through my choice. But as time goes on I am becoming more attached to this name.

Metaphysical is by definition " a field of philosophy that is generally focused on how reality and the universe began." It is about the study of deep truths and big ideas.

In popular culture metaphysics is used in connection with new age spirituality. People in the new age culture have taken religion and spiritual study in a new direction. To those who worship in mainstream churches these new age worshipers may seem strange. Both groups however have many things in common. Most importantly both groups fully embraced the central idea of the existence of  God.

Art quilting has kind of a "new age" relationship with traditional quilting. Art quilters are taking the process of layering and stitching fabric together in new direction. The work of an art quilter is not bound by previous rules or not held to set standard. It is a wide open field of artistic expression.

Both traditional quilters and art quilters share a love of fabric, thread, craft and love of making. Quilters will always have something in common.

until next time....
Margaret