Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The End of an Era

I've been working on several projects that, horror of horrors, cannot be shown on the internet.  This poses a problem for me -- I have trouble posting to this blog when I cannot provide pictures of the pieces I am working on.  But I decided that I can talk about them briefly, and I can report my progress.

The first quilt of the new year is completed.  It is my entry for the "Dinner at Eight" exhibit, which will hang at International Quilt Festival this fall.  I am very honored to be included in the call for entry, although of course receiving an invitation does not guarantee that the quilt will be juried into the exhibit.  But one teeny problem:  the exhibit has a theme, and as an abstract artist I find that it can be hard to communicate a theme in an obvious way.  There has been a discussion on the SAQA mailing list recently about art theory, which veered into the necessity of content in art.  In other words, art must have a message, yes or no?  But my work is abstract, and although I may feel that it has a message (or that it communicates a theme) it is certainly never an obvious interpretation.    I thought long and hard, drew out a sketch and made a quilt that I think actually will communicate the theme to most viewers.  You will have to wait for IQF this fall to judge whether I have been successful (or sooner if it is not juried into the exhibit).  It was a very interesting challenge.

The second piece is for an exhibit of 80" x 80" (plus or minus a little) bullseye quilts.  I am working on it now, and I am very pleased with the result.  Which is amazing, since when I made a large-scale bullseye quilt in Nancy Crow's "Lines, Curves, Circles" class a few years ago, I was so upset and disappointed with my piece that I cried during the critique.  Yes, I did, embarrassing myself and probably everyone else in the class. When I accepted the invitation to make a new version of the dreaded bullseye, I did so with great trepidation.  And then spent months wondering why on earth I accepted the invitation in the first place.

Pictures must be submitted by mid March, so of course I waited until February to start making my version.  I had no clear idea for this piece.  To be honest, I didn't have even a glimmer of an idea.  I started by pinning swatches of fabric on the design wall, came up with a basic color scheme that pleased me, and sat at my sewing machine and stared at the wall.  For days.  Then, just when I had decided that I wasn't going to submit a piece after all, I had an IDEA.  I'm enjoying piecing it together.  No more tears.

At this point you are wondering what the title of the blog post has to do with any of this.  And it doesn't, really.  But....

The other significant recent happening is that, as of February 1, I am no longer a SAQA regional representative.  I have enjoyed my job as rep.  I volunteered because I felt that involvement in SAQA would help me move forward as an artist, and it has.  It has been a wonderful four years!

I received some beautiful flowers (tulips -- one of my favorite flowers) as a thank you for my service. And that picture I can post:


Norma Schlager said...

I know how frustrating it is not to be able to show what you're working on, but I'm sure they are both fabulous!
What is the 80" x 80" Bullseye for?

Jay said...

Congratulations on a well deserved ending of the era for you! Now on to bigger things, right? Looking forward to seeing your entries!

Sharon Robinson said...

Congratulations and thank you for doing a stint with SAQA. It wouldn't exist without dedicated people like you doing this work. Maybe I should read the Quiltart list more often, the content discussion sounds interesting. I struggle with the same ideas about abstraction. But I figure there is now a pretty good 100 year history of abstract art being accepted in the art world, with or without explicit content.

pam in sw florida said...

I am taking an art class and a fellow student said to me: "but it has a message, a meaning in there , right?"
so even artists don't get it

Connie in Alabama said...

I have a hard time with these themed calls also, particularly the SAQA exhibits with size limitations or specific sizes. I also find that even though I may work with a theme, viewers don't see it. And I have made some really bad art trying to use obvious representative symbols. So kudos to you for working in these constraints.

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