Thursday, July 28, 2011

Going with the Flow II

Today I finally set aside time to do a full day's artwork. Bills paid, house clean(ish), loads of laundry done, etc. In general lots of household things that needed tending to were taken care of and I felt clear to really delve in.

I was even ready to incorporate, if not mentally put aside, the noise of the hammers the workmen were wielding to repair our roof. My studio is on the top floor of our house and they are working directly outside my window and above my space.

So, while busily working away - noise relatively under control - I began to feel small bits of plaster and large chunks of very old paint falling on my head and began to see them falling all around my desk. Urgh..... Eeeek...... Stop!

Victorian house. Top floor directly under the roof. Paint and plaster are likely to crumble, and I must admit I too felt a little bit like crumbling. What happened to my art day? What happened to my tranquil, creative space? Why me?

The best thing to do in those 'why me' moments? Move the projects to a safe part of the studio, transplant yourself in another room in the house. Take a moment to create your new space and get on with it.

Just try to go with the flow.

Textile piece: 10"x10" linen, velvet, silk

Friday, July 22, 2011


On a recent trip to France, I showed photographs of my work to some new friends. They were interested in seeing what I did since I had told them I was an Artist. My laptop was with me so I obliged them with a short viewing. As one of my new friends was looking through the photos he commented -  "Isn't is Handicraft? Do you think it is Art when you are making it?"

I wasn't quite sure how to respond. It felt as if his question arose from his disbelief that what I did was Art and the way he phrased his question seemed to somehow belittle my own process, as if I was somehow fooling myself into thinking I was an Artist. I did respond that yes, it was 'Handicraft' (as he put it) and it was also Art. As far as I'm concerned there is no difference.

My friend's question is one I grapple with (when I'm in the position of needing to explain myself to the general public) and I'm sure it is one that many artist/designer-maker/craftspeople do as well. The notion that we must somehow identify ourselves within a socially constructed -narrow- definition, frankly, annoys me.

I like the way the question of Art and Craft is explained, below, by David Revere McFadden, Chief curator and vice president of the Museum of Arts & Design in New York (from the Victoria and Albert Museum web page What is Craft?).

Craft, art, and design are words heavily laden with cultural baggage. For me, they all connote the profound engagement with materials and process that is central to creativity. Through this engagement form, function, and meaning are made tangible. It is time to move beyond the limitations of terminologies that fragment and separate our appreciation of creative actions, and consider the "behaviors of making" that practitioners share.'

Well said. Thank you, David.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

All Dressed Up and Not Sure Where to Go

Travel has once again taken me away from my work, so today I am re-acquainting myself with my studio. I find that when I put things away and move things around I clear the way in both my physical space as well as my creative space.

As is often the case, I'm not sure what's next. And I'm not quite ready to dive fully in to a new project....I have to ease in, test the waters, feel comfortable in the discomfort of not knowing what I'm doing.

Thank goodness for the pieces of driftwood I collected on my recent journey. Picked from my favorite beach on Martha's Vineyard I brought a little bit of 'home' back with me to guide me forward.

All they needed to urge me creatively forward were a few cuttings of silk they happened to be resting near.

I feel better already.