Monday, January 21, 2013

Artist at Work

Curse you, Red Baron!

Some people don’t like Sundays; they get melancholy and bummed out. I, however, like Sundays, and wish we could have more of them. The chores of Saturday are done, the house is clean, the groceries are bought, and there is usually no schedule. Mr. Hunting Creek brings in the Sunday New York Times, (a pleasure i did not enjoy until after we moved to the East Coast; the L.A. Times is nothing in comparison.) I get to read the best parts to Mr. Hunting Creek while we listen to the selection of the week on Pandora. What’s not to like?

In the afternoons, I get to sew and work on my current project. This month’s (year’s, lifetime’s)  project is to Use Up Scraps, which are taking over the sewing zone. 

The rules I made for using up scraps are like the Rules for Fight Club. Just kidding... they are pretty simple: if it is in the scrap bin, it is available. Second Rule: No Saving. Third Rule: Have fun trying new color combinations. Last Rule:There are no mistakes.
I’m making all of the blocks slightly larger than 12 ½ inches, then I will square them up when I am done.

Blocks I don’t like can be turned into pot holders or cut up and added to a different block. I set all of the blocks aside until the end and then decide what I like and don't like.

Some notes on works in progress: I know from teaching and from my experience painting that it’s unwise to judge a finished work from the incomplete parts. A a good method is to withhold judgement on the separate pieces until you see them all together in context.
Also, never show your work in progress to someone who doesn't understand sewing/quilting/painting/writing. They are not going to understand what they are seeing and thus cannot offer intelligent and useful criticism. Speaking of quilts specifically, seasoned sewists and quilters know that unfinished blocks look...well, unfinished. Lonely and out of context. Experienced quilters can mentally fill in the blanks and envision the entire quilt.

Sarai asked an interesting question on her blog today about how we engage in the world as artists. You’re saying to yourself right now, “But I’m not an artist!”” I can hear you from here. If you make things, you’re an artist. You might be a beginner, or you might be an expert, but either way, you are an artist, and you need to own that. Once you respect that, you will open your eyes to new ways of seeing. Some people would see my bin of scraps, and they would think: trash. An artist teaches herself/himself to see possibilities in mundane things.. Like scraps...or found objects...or marble...or old pictures, or....

Do you think of yourself as an artist? If no, why not?


Venus de Hilo said...

I do think of myself as an artist.
Actually calling myself an "artist" in public sometimes feels like an overstatement. "Craftsperson," on the other hand, feels I'm selling myself short, so "artist" it is!

Your scrappy blocks will make a lovely quilt.

badmomgoodmom said...

Have you read Believing is Seeing?

Mary Anne Staniszewski defines art as something made for public consumption. That is, if you make something with the intention that you will use it privately, it's not art. But, if you make it to show to (and be interpreted by) the public, it becomes art.

So art is about intention instead of the object.

That elevates anything you chronicle in a public blog to art.

So let's raise a glass to artful living.

BTW, the LAT rose to greatness about 15-30 years ago, and has slid into obscurity again. But, there are occasional gems like this:,0,162825.story

BTW2: Bad Dad met the former director of the NEA, a poet, and scored an invite to a small gathering where the poet read aloud some recent poems. I brought a book of his poems for an autograph and he read one of his poems (that had been puzzling me) privately into my ear. What a way to experience art and culture.

The Slapdash Sewist said...

Your Rule #2 is such a good one. No Saving!!!! I perpetually suffer from a low level of Too Good to Use. No Saving is a nice way to express the fact that it's better sewn than in the flat fold.

What a great project!