Making a Statement

What is a statement?

It is a short bit of writing  that sums up an artist ideas, defines purpose and provides clarification for the viewer.

In short; its not about me. It’s about helping the viewer.

An artist statement is not a thesis. It’s not supposed to be a complex justification . It is written for those who want to quickly understand  what I do and why. I started reading artist statements, from art quilters, photographers, painters, writers, etc… I condensed what I read to five common threads.

1. Short – Under 300 words and some of the best are  less than half of that!

2. Strong Start– The first sentence rings in my ear like a catch phrase. (Think NIKE – Just Do It)

3. Connections – Make a connection: a genre, style, tradition, philosophy,

4. Process– Describe  using media and tools in a way  that is universally understood

5. Purpose– Your audience wants to know why your work matters.

Using this as my rubric  (I must admit the teacher in me sometimes pops up). I graded my statement.

1. Short- Yes. It’s 193 words. (1 pnt)

2. Strong start – Not really. My first sentence is a complex idea that does not provide clarity.  (0 pnts)

3. Connections – Yes and No. I say I am connecting between and idea and image but it is not clear enough (.5 pnts)

4. Process – Yes, BUT……. Way too much information that might not be clear to the general public (.5 pnts)

5. Purpose –  No. I describe in the first paragraph that viewers should make their own meaning but never say why they should care. (0 pnts)

Overall score 2 out of 5 or 40%. An F!

Now take a look at my statement and see how you would score it.

I create personal icons through fiber arts .Each one of my art quilts is an expression my spiritual understanding, my interpretation of the words of great teacher or a record of my own spiritual journey. Often I am sent searching for the visual connections between an idea and an image. I encourage the viewer to create their own meaning or to simply enjoy my work without depending on background information.

Putting together my art quilts, I use traditional methods of a sandwich of cloth and batting held together by either hand or machine stitching. I add to this process fabrics that are  commercial, vintage, hand dyed, hand painted, discharged, over dyed or recycled.  I use the color clues from fabric to drive design decisions.  Photographic images are the focal point of my quilts.. These images are printed directly on fabric or  “transferred” to the surface of the quilt using commercial products and computer printer with quality ink.. These images are acquired from a variety of sources, including family photographs, historic records and personal collections of memorabilia (ephemera). Since these quilts are mixed media assemblages on a flat surface, no material is off limits.


Thanks for Reading!


Next Time: Working Square

One thought on “Making a Statement

  1. Linda Laird

    Dear Margaret,
    I just binge read your new (to me) blog. Excellent writing, and good design of the pages.

    Keep up the good work,

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