Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Rumminating IV -- taking stock

a lot of people review and make resolutions on New Year's Eve

I've never been good at doing that, but around this time of the year I usually do a sort of mental review

this year seems especially momentous for this purpose

today is my birthday -- I'm 60 years old -- the age I remember my grandmother being and certainly not an age I've ever imagined myself being

I can say that aside from my body reminding me that I'm not 20 any more, I'm not unhappy with that number

10 years into being retired from the corporate world, I can finally say I feel like I've made the transition from that daily grind to something more in keeping with what I enjoy doing

so here are the main points of where I am

1. am I an artist or a craftsman? I'm now comfortable with saying I'm an artist, and acknowledging that being a good craftsman was a necessary step in that direction -- being comfortable with the materials and processes of working with them is an important step in being able to say I am an artist

2. abstract or representational? still in the representational area -- I have really enjoyed doing the landscape or pictorial pieces in the last year, and I have a lot more of them calling from my head to be worked on (although I do have one abstract percolating in there too)

3. process or product? Yes! many of the pieces begin because I have at least a vague idea in my head of what I want it to look like when I get finished, but recently I did a whole piece just because I had the opportunity to learn how to work with a new medium

4. wearing my art? this has been a new question -- for the most part when I make a new piece of jewelry I don't wear it because it is my intention to try to sell it -- but when I do wear some of my work (for instance the repurposed shirt that won a blue ribbon at the state fair) I get very positive feedback -- I still need to work on this idea and be willing to make a few things specifically for myself

so where does it go from here?

more pieces entered in competition is the road to success I think -- which means I also need to get into the studio and actually make (or finish) some more pieces

and to continue to connect with other artists

things are looking good!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Ruminating III -- embroidery or thread painting?

this seems to be an ongoing series

of cows that is

it just seems so appropriate when I'm discussing things that are little bits of thought that I've been turning over and over in my head

mooooooo, moooooooo

I've been working on a competition entry for the Hoffman Fabric Challenge

last year's entry (the first one I had ever done) made the traveling show, which in a way makes the creating of this year's entry even a little more intimidating -- big things to live up to after all

so along the way I'm using some different techniques

like this one

there has been a lot of discussion among art quilters about the use of what they call "thread painting" as a technique for embellishment on a quilt

"thread painting" is done on the sewing machine, but it requires a foot for the machine that I don't have (and that is a pretty pricey item)

I did this this sample piece by hand

it looks like thread painting

the process felt like embroidery to me, but with quilting thread instead of embroidery floss (which actually was less of a hassle and allowed me to put the rows of stitches closer together)

so, when I fill in the entry form there will be the question of what do I call it?

since the competition makes no differentiation between hand work and machine work, I guess I can still call it thread painting

and in the long run I don't think it matters what I call it so much as rather I execute it properly