Saturday, October 31, 2009

Green Fields

Green Fields was just the working title for this latest quilt ~ I have two other names in mind when it's completed. It kind of felt like I dragged my feet on it this week, after quilting it several days ago. I think that was because I was deliberating about whether or not to bead it after binding. Finally I sewed the binding on today and decided I'd add a row or two of beads and then determine whether to continue on...and I did. So the quilt won't really be finished for a while yet.

This may be my favorite quilt to date. Perhaps it's because I'm such a "green" person. The piece excites me, I love each piece of fabric, all hand painted or printed, and the beads are like icing on the cake.

I had kind of an epiphany today, about making art and selling it. And the upshot is that although most of my work is and will be for sale, I'm not going to focus on trying to sell it any longer. I've always felt that I needed to try to sell my art, whatever it was that I produced at the time. I've always put a lot of energy into finding venues to sell, or doing shows, or now having an integrated online presence -- all in an effort to sell more work.

And you know what? over the years I have sold work, but I've never sold enough to make much of a difference for me, financially. Despite my best intentions, despite doing beautiful work whatever my medium at the time, despite major efforts to market myself and my work. I think my work appeals to a small group of people that I've never been able to figure out how to reach effectively. And I simply can't afford to invest more in what would be necessary to reach those folks, neither time nor money-wise.

My thinking now is that if I focus on creating art that I love, doing it for myself and for my artistic growth and development, that my work will sell when it sells, and I'll be a happier person for removing the selling struggle from my gameplan.

Toward the end of developing myself as a quilt artist, today I joined SAQA's Visioning Project. My goal for the year is to develop my artistic voice. Just taking the step of joining a team of thus-far close to 100 quilt artists made me feel like I was moving in the right direction. I've felt overwhelmed a lot in the last few months, mostly by all the possibilities for expression in this medium. I'm looking forward to having the support of a group to keep me focused on what I say I want to do.

And speaking of groups and support, a few weeks ago in a blog post I mentioned that I wanted to become part of an online quilt challenge group...but there wasn't one then looking for another partner...and several people contacted me about wanting to be in one if I wanted to start one...and I took some initial steps in that direction but came to realize that I didn't really have the energy or desire to organize such a thing...and two angels in the mix, Sue Bleiweiss and Vicky Welsh, took on the tasks of making us into a group. We don't have a name quite yet, but there are 13 of us, we'll do challenge quilts every two months starting mid-November, we'll have a group blog, and I'll fill you in with more info as it's available.

So good things are definitely happening for me artistically, in spite of my periodic overwhelm, confusion and seeming inertia!

9 comments:

Sue B said...

Great post Connie. For several years I sat at my loom with the goal of weaving to sell. Everything I did was with the goal of selling it. After a couple of years I realized that mind set was sucking the fun and enjoyment out of it. Now I sell what I create, I never create to sell. If someone likes it enough to buy it, terrific, if not, well that's okay too because the joy and satisfaction came from the creating not from whether or not it sells.

katherinesands said...

Very well said, Connie, and thanks for sharing your thoughts. Now I've signed up...

Sue Reno said...

This is a particularly lovely quilt, Connie, I like the colors and the way you organized the design.

Donna said...

Maybe it isn't about selling your work. Maybe it's about teaching or writing or inspiring others or something completely different.

I think deep down we know the reason we create. Sometimes we just need to get in that quiet place and listen.

Mary K. McGraw said...

I know what you mean. I found that when I stopped concentrating on selling my jewelry designs, so many opportunities have come my way once I had the time and energy to follow up on them. And I am so much less stressed and can enjoy the journey so much more.

Connie Rose said...

Thanks for all your insightful comments!

Vicki W said...

Sounds like a great plan and some very exciting times ahead!

Jan said...

I agree so strongly with what you've said about trying to sell and having that as one's focus. It does seem to get in the way...I'm not as clear as you seem to be now, but I'm in the process. Sometimes...most times...I just hate money and the amount needed even for a simple life is always too much...

Sharon said...

Your epiphany rings true for me, too.