Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Having More Fun!

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.


"Rhojo" Baldwin said...

I, too, have been thinking about this. When I'm working on a piece that I intend to show, I seem to stiffle any "new" directions I might take because it's untried and therefore unperfected.

Really interesting to hear someone I admire think the same thing.

Katherine Regier said...

I agree with your comments on the judges.... they only like what they have seen, the tried and traditional methods. Anything new is too "strange" for them.

Jan said...

May I share this on FB? I find it very interesting, have many quilter-friends, including a few judges, who would find it interesting, too, though they are regular quilt show judges, not specifically art quilt judges.

Jan said...

BTW, love the fabrics shown.

Sandra Rude said...

Connie, those two fabrics are spectacular. Love the effect of mixing secondaries on the cloth! And I hear you regarding the cost of exhibiting and selling on "the other coast" and even more so when you have to add in transportation for yourself as well as the work! That's why I don't do shows on the East Coast. It's too hard to make a profit, and not worth it as "publicity."

HollyM said...

I entered a show in my province (NB) last year only as an after thought, so I had no notions as to what I would produce as I actually did the piece--just followed my muse. A friend urged me to do it, and we got them delivered personally. The fees to enter were small and the commission too. I was totally floored to win 1st and 3rd in the art quilt category and sold two. It was my first experience and was fun. I agree though, I would have to think twice before paying shipping and the fees you mention.

Emma said...

Yes, we need to make work that we like! Having just got my copy of QA over here in the UK (Isle of Skye, Scotland)you should have no worries, we can be your judge & jury & you win in my book! Those pieces in the article were fabulous & I can't wait to go sort thru some of my papers tomorrow - it's 11pm here & been a long day. As you say, let the fabric (mostly paper, in my case)speak for itself. Thank you!

frazzledsugarplummum said...

Lovely fabrics. I agree with your thoughts on entering competitions if doing so is going to add little to your creativity or pocket. I always thought artists created because they 'had to create' not because of other issues. I say do your own thing and see where it leaves. I can't but help think that some sort of collaboration between your weaving experience and your newer experiences might be forthcoming. A great journey. Thanks for sharing it and the thoughts it involves. A treat.

Jonadele Fashions said...

I have learned so much about color by following your blog. Keep doing what your doing and enjoy yourself.

Aussie Jo said...

Everyone has their own personal opinion on works of art, so unless it is completely technical it is entirely a subjective opinion.
In the case of Art quilts this is especially so, some like abstract some like realism etc. I think exhibitions are a far better way to display and sell art than competitions (which are really only there to make money!)

Approachable Art said...

Your fabrics are fab, naturally! :D

Your story about selling your quilt in a show was enlightening. I'm still at the point where I want to try showing my work in juried shows, but it's possible (likely, even) that I will get bored or feel restricted by it, as well.

Good for you for making such decisions for your life... it takes courage to step off the beaten track. :D

tiedyejudy said...

Amen, sister! I do what I want with my art, and have no real need to be validated by 'Judges', nor do I have the funds to submit to shows just so I can win an award. I realize that many serious artists feel this is necessary to achieve recognition in their field... that's not why I do my art, and I think you and I are on the same page with this. And keep writing those articles!