Well, it’s been a while…

 

SO, yeah, it’s been a while since I’ve posted a blog on my page…To say I’ve been busy is quite the understatement.  During the time I restarted creating my textiles, posting a website etc.etc.etc, I got involved with a wonderful group of people that started a textile organization called Textiles West.http://www.textileswest.org  In an effort to get that endeavor established and going, my art work has taken the passenger seat, rather than the driver’s seat.  That’s fine.  Textiles West has become literally a dream come true.

Years ago, in my yute (My Cousin Vinny, anyone?), I dreamt of starting an institution here in Colorado, similar to the inspirational institution I attended while living in Portland, aptly named the Oregon College of Art and Craft.  I loved the immersion and 24/7 exposure to art; art conversations, artists, art problems, art solutions, art art art… I loved that community.  But being a student, it’s a temporary community, unless you are employed by the school.  I always dreamt of living in Colorado, (check that off the bucket list).  I realized late one evening when pondering, “what do I want to do with myself?!” why not start an institution similar to the one I love, here in Colorado?  Why not?

I held that dream in my heart, for years.  Looking here, looking there, asking this person, that person to help, ideas…The problem wasn’t the ambition, it was I didn’t know where or how to start.  What I didn’t realize until now, it takes the right people at the right time to pull together to create a behemoth idea like the one I had.  Enter the neighbor, literally.  2-3 years ago, we got a new neighbor in the neighborhood, the Haldeman’s.  Susan, her husband Dave, mother in law Marilyn and dog Josee, moved next door to us.  I didn’t know what to expect, and couldn’t have hoped for anything better.  She is a fiber artist.  A fiber artist who has similar aesthetics as myself.  A fiber artist as ambitious about learning and teaching as I do.  A fiber artist I could relate to.

She rented a studio downtown and met other fiber artists- Liz Kettle and Ruth Chandlar.  I met these other fiber artists.  I gelled with these fiber artists. These fiber artists worked with the executive director of Cottonwood Art Center and started Textiles West.  We had meetings with other fiber artists, like Mary Madison and Laurie Longberry, and collectively we started Textiles West. We had a million ideas of all the things we wanted Textiles West to accomplish. Every week we came up with some new project we wanted Textiles West to start. We opened up not one location but two locations, one at Cottonwood Art Center and the other with the Manitou Art Center.   Everything was happening so fast. We got overwhelmed and undermanned with all the ideas we had and still have.  We ran into challenges and criticisms because of it.

But we’ve never given up.  We’ve merely streamlined, organized and reorganized systems, procedures and policies.  We obtained our 501c3 so we can go for funding.  We secured our first major donation from Oracle.  We give classes, lectures and special events all to celebrate textiles.  Our mission is sustainability-both in maintaining and passing on textile knowledge as well as promoting green mentality with upcycle, recycle and diy.  And that, along with my art and family and chickens, is what I’ve been doing with myself for the last couple of years.  And that is what I am doing for the next how ever many years in the future, along with my art, my family and…well, we’ll see about the chickens.

visual beginnings

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to get back into the groove, I over dyed this silk sarong
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using some of my new and old tricks, this rayon tasseled sarong is painted using earth minerals

 

this piece is 1 yard of silk charmeuse immersion dyed with procion mx dyes and then painted with mineral paints.
this piece is 1 yard of silk charmeuse immersion dyed with procion mx dyes and then painted with mineral paints.

 

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over dyed silk habotai sarong
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mineral painted silk chiffon scarf
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detail of silk chiffon scarf
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mineral painted crepe de chine scarf

Well, it’s about time!

 ” the advice i like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration.  inspiration is for amateurs;the rest of us just show up and get to work.  if you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work.  all the best ideas come out of the process. they come out of the work itself.  things occur to you.  If you’re sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens.  But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction.  inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive.  you feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that’s almost never the case.” -Chuck Close

 

It is just so easy to get distracted.  I am so envious of people who can remain focused.  I wonder what that’s like?  and it is so easy to get sidetracked by things I don’t want to do.  It’s really easy to say “follow  your bliss,” but it’s a completely different thing to actually do it; for one reason or another.  Sometimes the reason is fear, sometimes obligation and other times just plain laziness.  Maybe laziness is too judgemental of a word, but I know it’s easier to not do my artwork than it is to sit down and do it.  And I can come up with a million excuses to not do my work-laundry, organizing the closet, errands.  It’s a matter of discipline.  though I love the spirit of freedom and entrepreneurship, it’s actually a lot of work and requires a lot of discipline. It’s a discipline that sometimes exists beyond structure and is of my own making.

That’s often the misconception of artists and artwork-it’s easy, breezy and fun.  Yes, it is, but it’s also A LOT of work and dedication of one’s craft, skill, failures and successes.  Dedication is ultimately is what keeps artists doing what they do, past the distractions, doubts, fear and misgivings.  And it’s not always glamorous, exciting or sparkly.  sometimes it’s gray, mundane and a pain in the ass.  It’s work and needs to get done.  And sometimes, the laundry will just have to wait.

 

Dusting, dusting, 1..2..3…

the disarray of it all

“you are not too old And it is not too late.” Rainer Maria Rilke.

I love that quote.  it gives me hope and encouragement when i think i’ve blown it.  I took a hiatus from my art;  a sabbatical from the visually creative to pursue other interests.  My problem , however you’d like to view it, is i have too many interests.  I want to know everything.  And i love to learn.   According to Martin Seligman’s personality strength quiz, love of learning is my number one strength.  While that strength may be honorable, it can lead to scatterbrain thinking.  I’ve recently made it a goal to harness this strength to focus and pursue what it is i REALLY want to learn.  what my interests are, not just fancies.

To clarify, I didn’t quit my art.  I stopped for a while. But for all intensive purposes, i never quit.  there is a difference between quitting and stopping.  Quitting implies you’ll never return.  Stopping means you’ll return at a later date.  I stopped and thought i could effortlessly return.  I’m learning it’s not effortless.  It’s taken a great amount of effort just to know where to begin again.  But in pondering my current situation, i realize i want it more, i’m hungrier for art and i’m more comfortable in not knowing it’s purpose.  I used to fret endlessly about the meaning of my work; why am i doing it, what’s driving it, how do i get it done, where do i show it, etc.  Those questions creep up every once in a while and i have to quell the din with, “just get it done, you need it.”  That seems to work.  That and my pinterest board of quotes by other artists who dispel the myth that is art.  one of my favorites (of many)of these quotes is by Pablo Picasso.  he states, “Yes, inspiration exists.  But it must find you working.”

And i’m ready to get back to work.  I’ve learned what it means to work smarter, not harder.  I don’t have the luxury of time like i once did.  I consciously make choices throughout the day of how I spend my time.  I’m learning to let go of perfection.  I’m learning to let go of  certain expectations.  It goes without saying, some days are better than others.  I often feel like a dog on a chain,  constantly wanting to do something or be somewhere, but continually being pulled back by commitments and obligations.  That’s life.  I gratefully accept  it. (It goes without saying, some days are better than others.)    But i realize it’s my impulsive nature that creates my frustration.  I’m starting to understand that perhaps not being able to get things done is what i need, to think things through.

I’ve never written a blog, and i have no idea what i’m doing.  I know it’s something advantageous in this technological age to garner followers of my work .  This blog, along with social media and an artfire.com or etsy.com store are the new fandangle way of being a 22nd century artist.  I still have no idea what i’m doing, but i know i want to do it.  I promise i will try not to bore you with too many emotional trivial gushings of insignificant musings.  Getting my studio back and running is a process i’m choosing to share with the public at large.  Whether that is significant or not, i have no idea. I’m hoping that by choosing to share with others, i will remain on task and not let time lapse by months, as can be my habit.  I’m hoping this blog kick starts the slow churning of a rusty, dusty engine that once hummed easily.