Monday, March 19, 2012

On the Path

On the Path ~ 26.5x10.5 inches

I created this small quilt over the last few days, from one of my favorite pieces of ecodyed recycled raw silk from mid last year.  The mordant here was alum, but I can't remember whether I presoaked the fabric in alum, put alum water or a chunk of aluminum in the pot, or wrapped the silk/leaves around an aluminum pipe.

So this gets added to my inventory of pieces to show at Yarn in Eureka in April.

I'm considering submitting some of my recent ecodyed hand stitched work to a show back east called Small Stories, being curated by Joetta Maue, embroiderer extraordinare.  Joetta's work, and the work of many other artists doing hand stitching and/or embroidery, is very narrative.  Each piece tells a story, albeit perhaps just a tiny slice of life.

So I've been thinking about my work in the context of narrative art, and I feel that mine isn't, for the most part.  I really don't know.  Much of my machine-quilted work is abstract, and something about each piece evokes a thought or a feeling or an essence, or is an abstraction of something figurative.

My hand stitched pieces seem more like snapshots of moments in time, and maybe these are narrative, then.  Again, I'm just not sure.

This new piece, On the Path, might tell a story about walking on a woodland path and seeing these beautiful leaves beneath my feet.  The title also suggests to me my own sense of being on both spiritual and creative paths that are evolving and emerging one day at a time.  Perhaps that's also narrative.

I'm curious to know what you think about narrative art, and whether you consider your own art in this context.

Have a great week.


Valerie Kamikubo said...

Hi, Connie. I personally consider snap shots to be among those things narrative. Right now I am working on three pieces that are part of a Lenten series. They are very much introspective for me, and although mostly abstract in nature, I would consider them narrative as well.

Sandra Rude said...

I love this piece - and for me, it's a narrative piece, a discussion between the cloth and the leaves and stitching and beading that create the patterning on the cloth. Go for it! Enter something in the exhibit!

Jeannie said...

I, of course, love this. The way the leaves, stitch, and cloth become one is beautiful. I think we often take "narrative" too literally. I always think of Susan Shie, where the story is laid out for all to read. I think your piece is narrative as it speaks to me of nature walks and being outside. Heck, enter it and see what happens! ;)

jenclair said...

Thoughts and images that are part of the creation of a piece, but that may need some explanation for a viewer who is not privy to those thoughts, would be a kind of internal narrative.

Just a few words allow the reader to connect to the creator's internal narrative (as the title does for "On the Path"). The viewer has a hint of the creator's narrative which may inspire a narrative in the viewer as well.

I love the sweep of the leaves in this, and from the title can get a glimpse of your story while still recalling walking in the woods with my children when they were small. Physical and spiritual paths.

This really is a good topic and deserves discussion.

Els said...

What a lovely piece Connie.
I would like to walk down that path, slowly walking under the trees, with the sun shining through the branches ...

artmixter said...

I think there's always a story, and usually more than one. They may or may not be inherent in the work, or intended, but they are there... and it is the response of the viewer that creates the narrative. I'm a great believer in story.

Unknown said...

Thank you for this discussion starter, Connie. I agree with Marion, there is always a story - although sometimes not revealed in my own work until weeks or months after I have completed the piece. Art which encourages the viewer to bring their own sense of meaning/story to the work is the most fun. I find that in your eco-dyed stitching which read like a meditation in my mind. Good topic. -sus

Peggy said...

Hi Connie, Your piece is lovely. The first thing that comes to mind when I hear the word narrative is "literal". Like everything narrative has to be literal. I have come to find in my own art that sometimes I try to be too literal and it really just takes away from the piece. I recently slashed off half of a small story quilt because it was looking way too literal for me. As everyone above has stated the narrative is between the artist and the cloth and between the viewer( if there are viewers.) We each have to make that decision on how we want to narrate. Words are powerful and we all decide on how to interpet them. So I wouldn't get so caught up in what others think of as narrative. It's your story and you tell it well.

Wen said...

Narratives are dialogues, an event that communicates something.
For me, as well as many artists, making the art is a narrative. Then, later, other folks viewing it, relate it to their experience. They may see what you felt, what they are feeling and sometimes, the energy of the piece.
Words aren't needed.

Meg said...

Beautiful piece, Connie.

It transports me to several places and times in my own life; if by narrative you mean "descriptive", then it works for me really well.

I don't pick up nuances or stories from artwork well; I especially don't see things like interaction of threads and cloth, etc. (I have a few friends, as you know, who are really big on those things.) If you give it the title you gave, I know this is a narrative of your life only because I've been following your blog for... what, 5 years now.

And as usual, for me, it does come back to asling, "but is it pretty?" and this one definitely is.

Very interesting discussion, and the variety of opinions above!

Judy Martin said...

I agree with Marion. You have created a wonderful piece here that has a quiet inner narrative about spirit and nature and solitude. When the viewer sees it they will create their own personal narrative.

This is very lovely.

frazzledsugarplummum said...

Lovely piece. It makes me think of a whole moment in time with colour, sound, movement, light....