Saturday, November 05, 2005

Artist Way: week 1 check-in

Morning Pages

I surprised myself and easily did my morning pages this week: 7-out-of-7 days. For me it was a feeling of returning to a morning ritual that has always been a positive and supportive one.

Artist Date

For my artist date, I went to the Michigan State University campus, last Sunday, to see an exhibit of Pewabic pottery from the Arts and Crafts era at the Kresge Museum and, afterward, walked around campus looking for the examples of Pewabic tiles on many of the buildings on campus, including a couple buildings where I spent a lot of time as a freshman, 30 years ago. Mary Chase Perry is best known for the beautiful irridescent finishes she was able to achieve. Reading all the carefully written notes describing how various effects were achieved, I was impressed by the experimentation that was a large part of her art.

Significant Issues

I'm fond of asserting that "everything's connected" and my artist seemed to embrace that concept this week. I started the week writing about monsters and subtle negative messages, and encountered some very specific judgement from some who insisted that there was only one way to approach knitting or to be a quilter . . . as they had, on a very narrow and well defined path without deviation or distraction by other media. My approach to choosing yarn was loudly ridiculed by a yarn shop owner, as he entertained some of his other customers by making a joke at my expense. I was told that I am not a quilter because I knit and have made hats and have interests beyond the quilt. Despite the awareness of this negative judgment (from other artists), I opened the gates wide to the possibilities for making art: I played and tried new things. I learned some Shibori techniques at a workshop with a local fiber artist. I signed up for a clay class, went without expectations, and threw my first pot. I bought art supplies--Shiva paint sticks and canvas for floor cloths--that will take me in two new directions. It felt like play and it was wonderful and I found myself making connections and leaps, from a colorful tile to a quilt design, from a knitted panel to an idea for a clay vessel.

My love affair with knitting continues and while I knit, creative ideas flow, for clay objects, for knit projects, for quilts. For me, it is definitely artist brain activity. I'm not sure I've consciously made that connection before; in the future, if I am stuck, I may consider some mindless, meditative knitting . . .


Cathy said...

I agree that you can use several different mediums to express yourself. Each one can bring a new insight to the others. I wonder if Picaso was told he was doing it wrong, and how many times he heard it. Your Artist Date sounds wonderful. Full of inspiration.

Pat/SWquilter said...

Gosh, I didn't realize that you could only follow one path in order to be a "true" artist?! I think a lot of artists draw AND paint -- Georgia O'Keeffe worked with clay when her eyesight no longer allowed her to paint -- we should all be so lucky as to be multi-talented I think. Follow your own inclinations and to heck with the nay-sayers!


sophie said...

This morning I woke up thinking thatmost of us encounter resistence and judgement of some kind WHATEVER path we follow as we persue our art. (I also woke up thinking I could have said that in a lot fewer words ...)

Thanks for the reminder about Picasso ... the town where I lived in France was not far from Vallauris, where he did a lot of his work in clay.

Rian said...

I find it ludicrous that anyone would have the audacity to tell you that you were "doing it wrong." Or that there is only one "right" approach to making quilts or knits, or pots, or glass, makes my inner artist want to scream. No wonder there are so many wannabe artists who are afraid to jump in the pond. Self-doubt is bad enough. A big "tsk tsk" to them, I say.

Nice photos of the park, by the way. Beautiful and thoughtful composition on all.

Debra said...


I have added your name to the Simple Still Life blog.

I am leaving for Art Quilt Tahoe on Friday... and I expect to see a photo of 5 things alike on your blog before that date.

Email me directly and I will send you the button for your page.

Between today and November 25th, use that photo as inspiration and DO SOMETHING with it. Many of the participants photo-alter their work.. some then make a quilt or something further.

On November 25 (a hard date, I know), POST YOUR PHOTO of your completed object.

And, please, try to use the "links" thing on the SSL page (I've posted directions) to link your photo here with the project there.

BTW, if you cropped that top tree photo from "a walk in the park" to show just the trees on the left, it would make an interesting an different composition.

Debra Dixon said...

I hope you either:

let the comments slide off your thick skin

or said:

"I'm an artist and I can do whatever I damn well feel like doing"

or both!

Some people are just too narrowminded to give any attention to at all. Sorry you had to find one.

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