One of my favorite art books is Art and Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking (David Bayles, Ted Orland). It is not a how-to book, nor is a book about inspiration. It is about the work of making art. It explores the process of making art and why it doesn’t get made. And it addresses those voices in our heads-we all have some voices:
–That is just bad.
-Who do you think you are?
-Her work is way better than yours.
-Okay, so you made one good thing. You can’t make another piece that good.
-You have no talent.
-Art is for the gifted-you’re just not that good.
-Mom (Dad, spouse, friend) was right-you are not good at this stuff.
-No matter how hard you try, you’re not going to be any good.
I consider myself lucky-I don’t have a lot of negative voices in general, but at times I do hit points of insecurity and then those voices well up inside me and shout.
And they are shouting right now.
I haven’t really made art or been creative for over 6 months: there’s been the remodel, a particularly busy spring teaching season, 2 moves in 6 months… I’m rusty. And I’m feeling insecure. It happens. I know the best thing to do is kick myself in the butt and just get back in there and start creating. And then the creative juices will begin to flow, right? Right? I feel like I am working my way, page by page, through all the insecurities addressed in the book.
So I started back in with a charity quilt and that felt good. My new space is BEYOND AWESOME and makes it so much easier to create! I have fabulous lighting, a cheerful and bright room, well organized tools and fabric, a great view and even a TV. It truly is life altering to have a space to create in that suits me.
I resolved to respond to the call for entries to Pokey Bolton’s “Live Your BRIGHTEST Life: A Tribute to Yvonne Porcella”. It is a juried show for “Quilting in the Garden” at Alden Lane Nursery in Livermore, CA, September 24-25, 2016. Digital entries are due Aug 6 and the pieces are to be 18″W x 26″L. I feel compelled to create a piece for this tribute, whether it is accepted or not.
Yvonne Porcella in many ways created this whole world of art quilts, well not the art quilt itself, but much of the infrastructure that allows for our work to be shown, recognized and respected. It was her vision that created Studio Art Quilt Associates, of which I am a passionate supporter. I met her twice, very briefly, and I was in awe of her. After her passing, I purchased her autobiography, “A Memoir-Defining Why“. I have a love of autobiographies in general, but hers was just so genuine and well written that I could not put it down. Her life was extraordinary and unique. Her light influenced many along the way, including me.
So I have a desire to honor her by producing a piece that somehow celebrates who she was, a daunting task for a rusty, insecure textile artist!
I don’t know if this has ever happened to me before, but I have the title in my head, well ahead of the finished piece: “Y 92”. “Y”, because she tells a funny story about her name. People would hear her name and want to spell it beginning with an “E”, so she would say “Yvonne, Y”. Some heard that as “Why” and would look at her puzzled that she would question why someone needed to know her name. Okay, it’s funnier to have her tell that story.
And “92”, because a psychic once told Yvonne that she saw her at 92. Yvonne’s response was would she be vertical or horizontal at 92! My desire is to make a piece that honors who she was, incorporates some of her color and whimsy, yet be my work, influenced by her.
I set up my work area by posting some of my favorite pieces of hers, just to keep me on track and to provide inspiration. A piece of fabric from Amy Butler’s Love Collection also provides inspiration.
Yvonne did use silk at times, so this was an opportunity to dig into my rich silk collection.
I selected colors that I thought she might have used and pre-fused 6″ x 10″ pieces with MistyFuse. Yvonne was also fond of using MistyFuse because of its ability to bond without altering the hand of the fabric.
My general thought was to create a whimsical, colorful, floral piece, somehow incorporating Y 92. I started by raw edge fusing silks to a light-weight cotton to create my background. I needed a good deal of value contrast so I know it looks a little dark here. Stay with me.
I also pre-cut flowers and leaves of a variety of sizes, shapes and colors to eventually fuse to my background. This was a really fun part of the process. The space and organization of my sewing area made this so much easier and pleasant to play in than my old space.
I am now to the point where I am composing the piece. I have a preliminary composition which is not yet fused down and I’m feeling both pleased and insecure but I’ll still keep working. I don’t have a nice tidy ending to this post as I am simply in the middle of creating the piece. I will share it once I’ve completed it.
Whether it juries in or not, I want this to be a fun, affirming journey. One of the points in Art and Fear is that you may have to make a bunch of mediocre art on your way to make Good Art. I’m betting on Good Art. The story continues…
I will be linking up to Nina-Marie’s Off the Wall Friday. I always check out the links because each week brings something new and intriguing.