First things first...here's this weeks quilt, Rainy Day (46.09). It was raining yesterday, and I was thus inspired. Actually, the fabrics really spoke to me of a rainy day. I'll say more about this later.
The more aqua pieces here were parts of a larger piece of linen that I deconstructed screen printed very early this year. I had about a quarter yard, fully printed, and I kept pulling it out and looking at it, couldn't decide what to do with it...until I ripped it up yesterday and pulled off all the color areas that I didn't like. It was much easier to work with in smaller sections. And the greener areas had always bothered me. Actually, they look great together by themselves, but didn't go well with the aqua and brown. Another lesson here: Sometimes you have to rip something apart to get it to work!
So, I've been thinking alot about my vision and finding my creative voice. My stated vision for SAQA's Visioning Project IS to find my creative voice, and I've been mulling it over for months, now. A day or two ago on her blog, Leni Wiener had a fantastic post about this very thing ~ I encourage you to read it. I can tell you that it really shifted my thinking, in that it made me realize that I already AM operating from my creative voice...I just need to listen!
And when I say I need to listen, I mean I need to have the courage to exercise my own artistic convictions and not cower away from the multitudes who do things differently or who think differently than I do, or might, about what constitutes studio quilting as an art form.
Being new to this medium, I have tended to take a somewhat dim view of what I've produced in this past year, because it is different from most everything else I see -- and I look at other studio quilters' work all the time. I have thought that with enough time and practice, I could produce work that looked like anybody else's work than my own. But the reality is, I can only produce my own work, it is what comes out of me, it is my voice. And with time and practice, it will be my own work evolved, still not somebody else's work. Really, this is a huge relief!
In her article, Leni said that finding her voice was as much about what she felt she did well as it was about what she wanted to leave behind. This, too, is a huge relief...because there are so many techniques that I don't ever want to have to master, so many tried and true methods that just don't speak to me. So focusing on how I enjoy working is tremendously freeing ~ and also part of my creative voice.
Right from the get go with art quilting, I felt that I wanted to "let the fabric speak for itself." Indeed, I started quilting because I was beginning to create cool fabrics that just wanted to be quilted. But so many folks say you have to tell a story with a quilt, or you've got to be ever so mindful of the proper components of good design, or you've got to have color contrast, or you need to make a political statement, or you have to have the proper amount of quilting on your quilt, or the hanging sleeve needs to be just so, or whatever! Those "shoulds" are just other folks' voices, literally and figuratively.
As with all art, there's so much of it that I just don't get. I see work in all media that just blows my mind...because in my opinion it's just so bad. Like, who in their right mind would pay for something like that, whatever it is, or even consider living with it in their home. And yet this thing is in a prestigious gallery or a museum. It's all so subjective.
So, I'm following my muse, which is my voice, and I'm going to do what pleases me. And if nobody likes my work, then so be it. I know that isn't true, anyway. But I'm just saying. I can't be anybody but myself. And myself loves making fabric, loves designing quilts around the fabric, loves quilting the organic designs on the fabric. And this is where the magic comes in ~ when I put a cool piece of fabric that I've created or a quilt top of numerous fabrics I've created on top of batting and a backing, and I quilt it, the fabric comes alive for me. The fabric tells its own story, like Rainy Day, above.
What else is it, really, that I need to say with my work?