I recently had the pleasure of listening to a presentation by Jo Fitsell. Jo is an artist with an amazing talent for creating hand dyed and marbled fabrics. Her work is well received in the art quilt community, a founding member of FRCQ and member of SAQA. She is also a teacher.
During her talk Jo encouraged a studio practice stayed with me for many days: work small and without the need to do anything but create. Her point hit home with me. I have found my self focused too much on the next show, completing a body of work, getting into a gallery, etc…. I was focused on the BIG picture.
Long term goals are important. I believe strongly in creating a vision. A vision allows me to see and internalize what I want to achieve. Visioning gives me permission to change my path. What I often forget is change does not require just giant leaps; it requires small steps as well. Allowing myself to grow as an artist in my private studio is just as important as creating work for the world outside my studio.
So I took a couple of weeks off from creating. Today I sat down and made a 12×12 collage out of a small scraps found around my studio. I gave myself a little more than an hour for the task. I cut the batting, fused the backing onto the batting. I added a layer of fusible to the top of the battering using a release sheet to enable me to fuse my composition down quickly.
My first selection was an abandoned fiber collage with text, a photo, some painted squares and grey fabric used for curtains or pillows. My second selection was material that caught my eye as I went through my stash. As it happened neither the color nor the motif of the second fabric related to my first selection. My third selection was a novelty print cartoon of a family on a car trip. I placed the three selections down and started to pull items that would visually and thematically glue them together.
When I thought the composition looked reasonably good, I started sewing using the yellow green thread already in my machine. I played with stitch patterns within defined sections of the composition. Using cues from the fabric, I added textures within shapes on the material and created an areas of random pattern. All intuitively! No plan, no stress and just letting the process flow.
I ended up with a little square I am going to send off to a quilt bombing in Oberlin Ohio. My plan for studio time with be different for me in the future. I will allow myself to work small and think BIG!
Next time: Rethinking Chaos.