I finished my dyeing sample project on Monday. Usually what I do with those leftover milliliters of dye, after I've removed the sample, is throw it in a quart jar, one for each secondary color. Well since I've got enough of that now, in all three colors -- green, orange and purple -- I decided to soda soak two half yards of muslin and then toss in some of those bits of dyes. These are my finished pieces.
I've been thinking much lately about creativity, my process, finding my voice, etc., and I want to share my thoughts with you all. I also have a lot I want to do in the studio this morning, then I have to leave for work at 11:30. So this may get written later.
But let me say now, that I've also pretty much decided against entering any more shows and exhibitions with my quilts -- something else I've thought a lot about -- and I realize that this decision has fueled some of my process and voice conversations with myself.
About shows -- not long ago I entered a show of small work, in D.C., and one of my pieces was accepted. The cost to enter the show was $20 (cheap, these days). The selling price of my piece would have been $150. The venue would take 30 percent on the sale, if the piece sold. They insisted that shipments of work be made by UPS or FedEx only (I prefer USPS), both of which are expensive from the North West Coast to the East Coast -- and return shipping would have to be the same method. Plus they were using a shipping agent to handle receipt and return of the artwork.
In other words, IF my piece sold, it would have cost me $20 for entry, at least $25 for round trip shipping, $10 for shipping agent services, and $45 for the venue's commission. My $150 piece would cost me $100 to show and sell. If it didn't sell, it would still cost me $55 just to have it seen. Simply not worth it in my book. So I politely declined the invitation.
The better quilt shows are fetching up to $70 in entry fees, and hardly anybody gets into those shows except the big name art quilters we all know and love, whose work has graced numerous recent books on art quilting, those who are really pushing the envelope in some way with their work. I don't aspire to that, actually, and I don't think I ever did.
There's also the judging issue. More and more often I hear of fabulous art quilters being rejected from shows because the jurors are less than up to speed on art quilting, or even on what constitutes ART. They judge from some preconceived set of standards that in fact don't apply to the work being judged. I don't even want to play in that pond...let alone spend good money to have my work judged and subsequently rejected by uninformed gatekeepers.
So by and large, I'm not doing it any more. I'm making work that I like. Period.