Tag Archives: textiles

A Looming Deadline

compass_wip1Almost done!  I’ve set my own deadline to finish this tapestry by January 30th, because sometimes all it takes is a looming deadline (ha, get it?) to get me to sit on the weaving bench.  I think I’ve got about an inch left, then I’ll weave the hem, and then it’s off the loom!   I’ve been breezing through this weaving with a renewed feeling of passion and enthusiasm, and I know the boxing classes have a big part to play in this.  I’m building new muscle skills, not just physically but mentally, emotionally, and creatively as well.  I go to class feeling terrified of what insane workout I’ll push my way through today, and leave feeling so much appreciation for my coaches, my courage, and my strength.  I carry this feeling of resilience, this deep appreciation for how strong I am, courageous I am, for everything I know I can do, to my art practice and the rest of my life.  Boxing is teaching me to go deeper, to push harder, to love myself, my creativity, and my life more than I ever have before.

I’m also currently building the next online tapestry exhibit for the American Tapestry Alliance.  The curator picked some magnificent pieces and it’s been so fun to see so many incredible artworks.  I’m sorry I can’t give you any details, but I’ll post a link on here when the show goes live for those who are interested!

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Making time… when there is no time

I’m sure the vast majority of people, not just creative types, will agree with how difficult it can be to find the time to do what you love, especially if what you love is not how you make your living.  I consider myself fortunate as my commitments are simple.  I work full time… and that’s pretty much it.  Besides doing my errands, paying my bills, and cooking something besides a bowl of cereal, I have a lot of free time to spend as I wish.

So why do I get sucked into a youtube vortex when I get home from work?  Because there are endless hours of kitten videos to watch, that’s why!

But seriously, this is a pattern I’ve noticed with myself lately; I have quite a bit of time that, if used constructively, I could get a lot done with my art.  And not just the actual art making, but I could also be sharing photos on Facebook, posting here, sketching and painting ideas, searching for shows, etc.  When I choose to troll around aimlessly on Facebook for an hour, I am choosing to not create my work, to not bring into physical form the ideas and images I want to share with others, to not fulfill my life’s purpose: to be an artist.

I have a lot of creative friends, some of them with as much time as me to make their work, some with less.  I’ve seen the friends with less time produce incredible artworks that came from making a choice and a commitment to their art, no.  matter.  what.  I admire that, and I ask myself, “What’s my excuse?”  If I have a vision for my next piece, why am I choosing to not take the next step?

I have this book sitting on my shelf, perhaps you’ve heard of it…

warofart

And yes, that is a little peek at my finished tapestry!

I actually have not read this book past page 37, but I think it’s time.  My resistance to making my art is not serving me and is preventing me from bringing forth the thoughts and ideas I want to share with the world.

When we deny ourselves, through fear of failure, criticism, or even success, the time to bring our artistry out into the light, we are doing ourselves a disservice.  I think of it as a form of self-sabotage, and other people lose out because they never get to experience our creations.  Our audience, our readers, our listeners will never get the chance to be inspired, to be influenced, or to be changed by the messages we wish to share as long as we continue to deny our creativity.  When we perform a disservice to our creative self, we also do a disservice to others.  It’s a lose-lose situation.

Now, I should also clarify that I’m not supporting the whole work-you-butt-off-until-all-joy-is-sucked-out-of-you kind of work ethic.  In order to be at our optimal creating capacity our minds and bodies need rest and relaxation.  Life is for enjoying, for spending time with friends and loved ones, for being inspired by others’ creativity, and for recharging.

One of my fave places to recharge, the Portland Japanese Garden

Without this time for self-care, our artistic process can lose it’s feeling of fulfillment and satisfaction, and that will surely manifest itself in the end product.

What it really comes down to is a choice.  When we have the time and energy in our busy lives to either pursue our life’s purpose or to stare blankly at the computer screen, I hope we make the first choice.  I’ve been wanting to write this post for a month now, and I guess I just needed to make the time.

How do you overcome your blocks to making your art, music, writing, dancing, or other pursuits?  If you struggle with this like I do, I encourage you to pick up a copy of “The War of Art” and read it with me.  Let me know how it inspires you to make the time for your creative work.

What’s in a Name?

Image

I’ve never been good at naming my artwork, and while I’d probably just end up titling everything Untitled 2, 3, 4, and so on, I don’t think that is a very good solution either.  While the title “Untitled” can certainly leave space for the viewer to contemplate the work and find their own personal way of identifying with it, a well chosen name can also help the viewer to understand what the artist is trying to communicate.  The right name can be essential to bringing the viewer beyond the initial first impression of seeing a piece and liking or disliking it.  I know for me, if I see an artwork that I really don’t visually like, the title can give me a little more information about the artist and the ideas or concepts they’re trying to convey.  If I was viewing a painting of, let’s say, a guy sitting in a chair, and it’s painted messily with neon pink paint and the title is Untitled 237, I would move on to the next piece.  But if the title was something like The Old Geezer or Waiting for the Mail I would ponder the work a little longer.  I would most likely still find it not to my taste, but my point is that the title gets me out of my instinctual habit of naming pieces ugly or beautiful and to see the broader picture (ha ha, get it?) 

Also, and I believe this is something an art teacher once told my class, naming a piece Untitled can seem a little, well, lazy.  You spend all of this time and energy thinking of how to depict your concept, creating the piece, critiquing it at certain points in it’s execution, and properly displaying it, and then you name it Untitled, without even really thinking about it.  For some artists, this works well with their concept, or they use it for studies.  Sometimes, Untitled just fits.  I’ve used it before… and I think that was when the aforementioned teacher gave his speech.  I don’t think that name will work with my tapestries, and I would also like to improve and not feel so daunted by the process of finding a name.  Lately, the ones I come up with always seem to sound like a really bad poem I wrote in fifth grade.  

Fun Fact: For my thesis, I named most of my pieces by looking at the online Tolkien English/Sindarin dictionary.

Maybe I need to stop being so hard on myself.  There can be as much meaning in a name as I want there to be.  I’m really happy with how this weaving turned out, and while I still have a lot to learn about tapestry, I feel continually inspired to create more in this medium.  I’ve never felt so passionately dedicated to a particular niche of the fiber/textile world before, and I’m excited to see where it takes me.  As for naming my work, I have a feeling that will improve with time, too.  For now, enjoy this lovely photo of my untitled, but not Untitled, tapestry.  The colors are vivid and beautifully captured by a photographer friend of mine.  I will be entering the piece to be juried into a group show down in California.  Keep your fingers crossed!