Category Archives: Thinking out loud

On Finding One’s Audience

Zeitgeist web

I love this quilt. I think it’s funny, I think it’s snarky, I think it’s topical, and I think it’s well made. I am proud of it.

So now what? As an artist I kind of feel like my work is a conversation, so it’s not really complete until someone besides me has a response to it. I very much want this giant cat to go out into the world and talk to people.

Zeitgeist is my “fan art” inspired by the Grumpy Cat internet meme. I combined the cat with the styling of Louis Wain, a Victorian era illustrator who’s large eyed cats and zany patterned backgrounds were thought to be an expression of his mental illness. To me the combination of Grumpy Cat’s pessimism and Wain’s schizophrenia perfectly expressed the current mood of the US. To embody this in a quilt large enough to wrap one’s self in further pushed the wackiness of the concept. Yes, comfort yourself with your crazy cynicism.

My first impulse was to submit it to IQF Houston’s annual World of Beauty show in 2013. The Houston show responds well to representational, bright and bold work. Besides, between Quilt Market and Quilt Festival, that’s a lot of eyes on any quilt in the show and that’s a great conversation. Unfortunately, I paid a long arm quilter to quilt Zeitgeist which means it was work for hire and thus disqualified from entering.

So, I settled for the New England Quilt Festival and Pacific International Quilt shows. They were OK, but not really who I thought my target audience was. These were, in general, not the crowd to get excited about an internet inspired, bold fabric using, subtle commentary kind of quilt. Mostly, I think people wondered if this was just a portrait of my cat.

For the sake of contrast and to introduce it to a different audience, I entered Zeitgeist into Art Quilt Elements 2013. Based on the types of work that usually get in, I was pretty amazed that the quilt was even accepted. That piece had no business being at Art Quilt Elements given what is normally accepted and awarded prizes, and yet it won Best of Show. It was the connection to current culture that spoke to the jurors. Yet I wouldn’t have guessed that it would win anything when I entered it.

All along though, I was waiting for the call for entries for the 2015 QuiltCon (biennial) show. The Modern Quilt movement that puts on the show blossomed online. It markets itself to the youthful quilter or at least the quilter with a “fresh” aesthetic. Bold prints are popular amongst many Modern Quilters. Their quilts are meant to be used, not to go on the wall — though there’s plenty that are wall sized. And while I don’t believe that Zeitgeist exemplifies Modern Quilting (and that’s why it was rejected from the Modern Quilt Showcase in Houston), I did believe that the internet surfing, meme generating, bold pattern using, hip, younger show-goers at QuiltCon would understand and appreciate my quilt. I thought that could be an audience that would get excited about it and talk with it.

I’ve been processing the rejection from QuiltCon for a few hours now, and the thing that really sticks out to me is just how hard it can be to find one’s audience. I’m not emotionally crushed, just kind of baffled as to where and how I should be showing my work in this vein. My friend Lorie tells me I’m fishing in the wrong stream. I need to look at the Art world. My work may be grounded in the quilt tradition, but the quilt tradition in any of it’s guises is not my audience. I’ve been mulling over the idea of a “Craft the Internet” show. I admit that I’m scared and apprehensive to put on a curator’s hat and do the work required to create a show, but maybe that’s the way to get my work into spaces where it can converse with an appropriate audience.

It’s Snowballing

The end product might be beautiful, but The Arts are tough. There are a million ways that artists make ends meet, but when it comes right down to it, there appears to be a disconnect in American culture between appreciation for, and actual support of, the arts. Or maybe there’s no disconnect at all. Sometimes I think that the majority of Americans just don’t value the arts period. That’s another discussion though. What I am interested in sharing is the seeming plethora of public peeks behind the scenes and how they expose just how hard it is to make art and make a living at the same time.

First, I read this article by Jack Conte of Pomplamoose about what it takes for a mid-level band to tour, and why they’d do it at a loss.

That was followed up by this post which unfortunately had to defend the first because apparently treating one’s contractors fairly for their work, while expected in the corporate world, is seen as superfluous in the art world since doing work you love and doing work for money should somehow be mutually exclusive. And because apparently supplementing your income with tie-ins and intertwined companies is bad (though it’s perfectly OK for Martha Stewart’s empire).

And then this exploded the web: Revolva, the Hula Hoop Dancer that stood up to Oprah.

And was quickly followed by this one about what exposure does or doesn’t pay for by DIY Doyenne, including her insightful quote as to why:

There is a perception that if you make a living from your creative talents, you are doing it for fun, you know, you’re not really serious. There is a shocking lack of value placed on creativity.

Which then leads us into the Slate article about how we say we want you to think outside of the box but really, we can’t handle the boat being rocked. But again, that’s another discussion.

Closer to home, these discussions reminded me of the brouhaha that erupted within the quilt world a few years ago: Mollie Sparkles’ No Value Does Not Equal Free part one, and part two. (And be sure to follow his related links to the We are Sew Worth It blog posts.)

More recently this post by Abby Glassenberg that confirmed what I had suspected about fabric companies. Browse her site for lots of good, informative craft and sewing related articles.

I don’t have any answers, nor do I expect sweeping change. I just noticed that there seems to be a snowballing of explaining the nitty gritty. And the more information we know, the more appropriate choices we, as individuals, can make. Knowledge is power.

Around The World Blog Hop

My buddy Deborah Boschert tagged me in an Around the World Blog hop in which we answer four questions about our creative process and then tag two more bloggers to do the same. Check out Deborah’s blog post to read her answers and follow her links to read back through many other fascinating blog hoppers.

 

1. What am I working on?
I’ve usually got several things going on at once which each appeal to different moods and need.
• Right now I’m working on the next in my series of Security Blankets. This one has to do with the TSA and incorporates those blue figures I was working on a while ago, plus floral weaponry.
• I’m also working on a piece, or collection of pieces, for my Army Wife series. Inspired by eye momentos, either photographs or miniature paintings set into jewelry as a reminder of absent loved ones, I have transferred images of my husband’s eye (at specific time periods) onto hankies and am now in the process of embroidering the dates and locations of his corresponding deployments onto the hankies.
• And, in the background, I am working on creating a business in which I make stylish lap quilts from military uniforms. It will be called Modern Military Quilts and I hope to have more to say about it soon.

Star Quilt sm
 

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
This is a tough question for me because I’m not entirely sure what my genre is. I love to draw on the history of traditional quilts, but my work is definitely not traditional. I suppose I could categorize my work with improvisational quilters, but mine has narrative underpinnings. Of course, every quilt has a story, so it’s really just a matter of how far that story goes. I call myself an art quilter, and I suppose my work differs from many in that genre in that I don’t stick to just the quilt form, but work in other fiber techniques as the concept of the individual work dictates. But, already I can think of many artists who work in various fiber traditions simultaneously, so I’m not so different in that way. My work is definitely concept driven, but there is a precedent for that both in the art quilt crowd and in the greater art world. In fact, I worry that if I call my work conceptual I’ll be too readily compared to others who are far smarter than I in their artwork. Maybe my work is different in that it doesn’t easily fit into a genre, but that’s a little too self-important for my tastes. We all like to think we’re different in our own ways.
Momento of an absent loved one

 

3. Why do I write/create what I do?

I make art because I am, and always have been, compelled to do so. I love working with my hands and there is no lack of ideas in my head to fuel those hands.
 
Floral Weaponry

4. How does my writing/creating process work?
I start with an idea, of course. Then I go to my sketchbook, which is more like a diary or log book some days; I write the basic idea and then a conversation with myself about ways I could interpret said idea. Sometimes things flow, sometimes I let it percolate for a while and add notes a day, or a week, or on occasion a year, later. At some point, it’s time to get to the making, so I gather my supplies — which may be fabric from my stash, but recently has meant deconstructing a flag, culling photos from our albums, or experimenting with methods of sun printing human bodies. If I need to prepare a cartoon or grid to follow, as in Zeitgeist, Selfie, or Temporary Safety, now is the time for that and it includes some time at my computer working with Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop. Click on the link to Selfie for a nice blog post about the process of creating that particular artwork. Of course, each piece is different, so for example, the process of actually making Selfie is very different than the making of embroidered hankies. I almost always have an idea in my head of what I want the finished artwork to looks like, generally, but it really takes form in the making. I never know exactly how each fabric or element is going to affect the others until I see it in the cloth. That keeps the process fresh for me. There is always room for adjustment, surprise, and serendipity while I’m making something. A piece is finished when I feel like I can walk away from it.

 

I tagged my local friend Lotta Helleberg to join the blog hop next. Be sure to check out her post next Monday, November 31st. Since tagging a second person was confounded by our good friend Murphy and his laws, my friend Terry Grant graciously offered the post she wrote only a little while ago. You can read her answers and follow her links right now.

Save the Date(s)

You know that feeling that even though you’ve checked your list, you are still forgetting something? I kind of feel that way about my blogging. I should have things to blog about, but I don’t, or can’t. I’ve been doing some follow-up work and thinking on my introspective, three year, planning. Before we went to Germany, we drove up to New Hampshire for a long weekend. Somehow, driving time always get my gears moving and I thought up an idea that may have some worth. It involves custom quilts utilizing military uniforms. Very practical, but also very personal. The idea meets my desire to create something that people actually want or need, while also giving me the space to continue making the work that may not have a place in the larger community. And the two are not mutually exclusive!

While I flesh out that idea, I have a few other things coming up which I will blog about as I get more details. I thick these are the things I think that I’m forgetting about, but I’m not really since the timing isn’t quite right yet.

Be Strong Always, Unraveling, Medallion, and Welcome Home

Be Strong Always, Unraveling, Medallion, and Welcome Home

In August my Army Wife apron, Unraveling, will be part of Fail/Safe at Hap Gallery in Portland, OR, curated by Marci Rae McDade. I’m super excited about this show as it’s the first where the curator has approached me instead of the other way around. I’ll have more details to share soon.

LaflammeSelfiesm

Selfie will be part of the Dinner@8 exhibit, Reflections, at IQF Houston. The curators have been posting artist profiles on the blog. You can read mine here. I haven’t yet decided if I’ll go to the big quilt show in November or not. Maybe I should go to Portland instead. Or to Austin in the Spring for Quilt Con. I’ll be sure to blog about it more as the dates near so as to remind anyone who is going to Houston to be sure to see the exhibit!

And finally, I’ve finished two quilts which I’ve been keeping under wraps as potential submissions to Quilt National. One is still a possibility, but I’ve decided that the other is perfect for a Privacy in America show planned for February at my local McGuffey Art Center. The show will be all media with participating artists working in oil, acrylic, photography, metal, and of course fabric. I’ll save my finished quilt for another post.

 

This is the wordy, introspective one.

Spending a weekend with other artist friends and looking at art inevitably leads to talk about what we’re seeing, what we can learn, where we are going, and the like. I had actually sent an email to everyone about some long range planning a few weeks previously, so we kept coming back to each of our thoughts on where we were and where we were going. After attending the SAQA Conference, I thought really hard about my Five Year Plan as an artist. I think about it every few years, but I quickly get stuck when I realize that I don’t even know where I’ll be living in five, or even three, years. This time, I told myself that was just an excuse to not do the hard thinking. I am at a point where I am trying to figure out where my work fits in the world. The quilt show circuit doesn’t seem to be quite the right fit, so I am wondering if I am focusing my talents in the wrong direction. Maybe there is something I don’t see in myself that I should be exploiting, like my design or drawing background, or a turn I should have made along the way. Or maybe, I really am a studio artist. I am compelled to make. I know that much.

I am in the enviable position of not having to support myself or my family, so I could/should just make art (since that’s what makes me happy), and leave it at that. But, unfortunately, I’ve learned that is not enough — I’m the type of person who craves feedback and context for my work. I am just not satisfied making solely for the sake of making. I am discovering that I want feedback — be that through sales, shows, collaborations, whatever. I find myself getting wound up when the quilt world posts happenings around Quilt Markets, and I think it’s because I see others getting feedback and finding a context. They are creating something people want, and I want to do that too. I want to feel like I have a purpose. I’d love to just be satisfied with making art, but not worry about showing or selling it, or producing anything marketable. The problem is that I know I’d be left bitching and moaning about how no one appreciates my work (because I’d get little to no feedback on it or context in which to put it).

One of the things that came up over and over again with my friends this last weekend is that art is a conversation. We say something, and we need someone to complete the sentence, or answer the call. I am trying to wrap my head around what my conversation is about. Where the intersection of what I can do, what I want to do, and what people want from me is. So, I made some lists to see if any pattern or epiphany emerges.

First,  I can’t make any site-specific plans. But so much these days is accomplished online, without borders. On the other hand, if I want to go a gallery-oriented route, being able to make connections in person really does seem to be the more effective modus operandi. I think this means that I should do what I can now, but some goals with just have to be more more long term or amorphous.

If I wanted my work to have more exposure and to grow a marketable side of it within the context of the creative world I am currently in, IQF (Quilt Knit Stitch, QuiltCon, Quilters Take Manhattan too?) is an opportunity to promote or pitch ideas — if what I have to offer overlaps with what they can provide. I keep seeing what others in the quilt and fabric arena are doing and feeling like I could do something like that too. But just because I can doesn’t mean I should. I may not have the skills or temperament to follow the same path. I need to find my own.

I keep asking myself, what is my “Do what you love; live your dream?” So many stories start with “I didn’t know what I was doing but I jumped in anyway because I loved it,” and now are “and it became the successful thing you see today.” I need to think about how I can do this — am I too timid to see the big idea, or am I just not clever enough to even have a big idea? One goal could be to find my big idea.

If the quilt shows and markets don’t offer any opportunities for me, then where should I go to find the kinds of connections I need? I need to seek the artier versions of the quilt-oriented bloggers, conventions, and products that I follow now. I should find things to get inspired by and wound up about that are more appropriate to the work I could be doing.

I can easily make a Three Day Plan. That is essentially tasks. In fact, I make a list of tasks/intentions each morning. But without a long term goal, I can’t really know if my tasks are making steps in the right direction, or if I am just going in circles.

My Three Month Plan is pretty well laid out too: Finish gun, TSA, and shroud quilts. Submit to Quilt National and QuiltCon. Follow through on Privacy show. Vivien pointed out that again, these are still tasks. I need goals at this point. Refine my elevator speech is one. Just the process of doing that will help me determine what it is I do, and hopefully give insight as to what I want to do. The weekend reminded me that I need to always be on the lookout for connections. Reach out to those who I admire, even if it’s just to watch. Cultivate a diverse group of friends (says one of those whom I admire). Keep learning!

Where I’ve been (that I can tap into because maybe I’ve been barking up the wrong trees):
• Crafty projects like costumes, plushies, knitting, and pin cushions
• Practical bed quilts usually riffing off existing patterns and trends.
• Fabric (or wrapping paper, or…) designs of a graphic nature.
• Graphic design in the identity, annual report, and ephemera vein.
• Teaching basic patchwork and quilting
• Writing about process and inspiration i.e: my blog, 12×12 book

What I do (because what I do should light a path):
• I make conceptually based narrative textiles in the themes of current culture, military life, homes and roots.
• I make scrappy, practical, bed quilts usually riffing off existing patterns (could these be marketed to upscale retailers if they were simple and graphic al la Denyse Schmidt Works line or Weeks Ringle? But more Americana, edgy?)
• I attend life drawing sessions

What IQF Houston (Quilt, Knit, Stitch, QuiltCon, Quilters Take Manhattan) offer (what others appear to be making happen through these venues):
• Show fabric design portfolio to company reps
• Pitch a book idea (technique based, or ?) Interweave, That Patchwork Place
• Pitch a magazine contribution
• Pitch a special exhibit (geek art, pop culture, cat quilts…)
• Make connections for teaching
• Look for sponsorship from thread, fabric, gadget, sewing machine companies. Bernina!
• Find a unique way to promote a gadget.

What in my general area do people want that they see value in?
Fine craft with a purpose/use (for example, bed quilts, jewelry, vessels, How-to books, classes to inspire and allow emulation).

Potential Three Year plan:
• Join a McGuffey-like art center wherever we move to.
• Have an elevator speech.
• Be proactive about shows at various types of venues and with friends and peers.
• Apply to and receive grants to continue making art in my current vein?
• Deepen my knowledge of Photoshop and Illustrator (specifically for use in creating fabric designs?)
• Learn how to use the embroidery module on my Bernina better and to digitize designs?
• Draw more, better, bigger…

What I already have planned
• Be a part of the Privacy show at McGuffey in Feb 2015 and help take the show to DC or beyond. “Those Who Would Sacrifice” and the TSA quilt in progress are well suited for this. Maybe return to woven envelopes.
• Homefront & Downrange show in NC summer of 2015 with photographer Hunter Rudd and selected works from Combat Paper.
• Submit to Quilt National 2015: Finish gun quilt and shroud quilt.
• QuiltCon 2015: submit Zeitgeist.
• Dinner@8: Selfie is accepted. Will travel for most of 2015?
• Unraveling apron to be in JAM show Marci McDade is curating

Talking with my posse this weekend, it’s become more and more clear that even though I have the opportunity to follow my Selfie quilt to IQF in Houston, or potentially Zeitgeist to QuiltCon, and network there, and I have a history with the art quilt world, the traditional art route may be better suited to me. My girlfriends see me closer to the fine art world, and McGuffey juried me in based on my drawings. I would stick with SAQA, but leave the quiltier quilt shows as pure enjoyment. Change my focus a little. Not dramatic, but a change. I would like to try to support my art habit through sales, grants, and other projects, which would all require getting my work seen and therefore validated. I will remain flexible. I will cultivate connections. I will focus on the art. I will make the art. And, I have accountability partners in my friends.

The Exhibits

Yesterday I posted about all the places we went on Natalya, Robin, Vivien and my art posse day in NY. This is a deeper look into a few of our stops.

Day One:

Museum of Art and Design

Multiple Exposures. I wasn’t sure what to expect in this exhibit of photography and jewelry, but it was surprisingly inspirational, not to mention beautiful. No photos were allowed, but they did have a selfie booth with which we had way too much fun.

MAD selfie group MAD selfie

In addition to contemporary jewelry and body adornment which incorporated photography in a wide variety of ways, there were also historic pieces which I found intriguing and inspiring. There was a grouping of photographs of a single eye, supposedly that of an absent loved one, which I could see informing some of my work, as well as Trench Jewelry made from found bits of armory and other metals. Some things were weird and wonderful, some beautiful, some gross, and some surprising. Overall, it was quite inspiring.

 

RE:Collection. I took photos for my own note-taking purposes, so they are pretty poor, but just for a taste of the exhibit, I’ll share them. This exhibit was subdivided by theme. I was very attracted to the collection of political and socially minded works. That’s similar to what I’m exploring in my own work so it’s no surprise.

Re-Collection at MAD, NY

This is “21 Countries” by Stephen Dixon. Each plate represents a country where the US has had military intervention. I didn’t completely understand why plates, or much of the imagery, but I really liked the layering of images, color, and line. Robin, I think, mentioned that layering might be the trademark of our era. Thinking of sampling in music, I think she could be right.

 

Boris Bally

I don’t remember the title of this necklace by Boris Bally, but it might be “Brave.” Given what I’ve been working on recently, it struck a chord.

 

RE-Collection at MAD, NY

A detail from a work by Jennifer Trask. I REALLY like the way she makes creepy beautiful. So many inspiring things to see. We just soaked it all up!

 

Urban Fabric

The Hudson Guild had another exhibit we enjoyed. Urban Fabric’s creator Lix Kueneke embroidered city maps on fabric and then invited the city’s inhabitants to stitch on the maps in response to several questions, such as “what is the heart of the city?” and “what is a negative place in the city.” It was interesting to see that in some cities, the loves, hates, and interesting bits were scattered overall, and in other cities, they were clustered in specific spots. The maps are beautiful in an of themselves, but the viewers’ responses on them add a wonderful depth. Even the backs of the embroideries are intriguing.

The Urban Fabric

Urban Fabric

 

Day Two:

The Sugar Baby

On Sunday, Natalya took me to see Kara Walker’s “A Subtlety” at the Domino Sugar Factory. It is worth reading up on this because of all the layers of meaning she has imbued it with. I can’t remember where I first heard about it, but I was excited when Natalya posted her visit on Instagram and then suggested we could return to see it on my NY weekend. I have admired Walker’s paper cut imagery for years, so this was particularly interesting to me.

A Subtlety

 

The sugar factory is about to be demolished, and as a send off Walker had the opportunity to create a very site specific work. The centerpiece is an enormous, and I mean enormous, Sugar sphinx. She is powerful from the front and subjugated from the back, and completely dominates one end of the building.

A Subtlety

 

 

She is attended by life-sized molasses boys that glow when the light catches them just right.

A Subtlety

 

All around is a disintegrating, syrupy, sweet mess. It’s makes quite an impact. I would love to see cities and private entities take an interest in engendering more provocative, public, and site specific art like this. It is a gift to the community and anyone fortunate enough to visit.

 

A Subtlety

 

Submerged Motherlands

I had never heard of street artist Swoon before about a week ago, but heard an interview on public radio about her junk rafts being installed in an exhibit. The interview intrigued me, but I didn’t really take note of when or where the exhibit was. Natalya had heard about it as well and, knowing it was at the Brooklyn Museum, suggested we go look. Oh wow, was it breathtaking!

Submerged Motherlands

 

Another site specific work, the installation centers around a huge fabric tree that extends all the way up to the rotunda and blooms with lacy paper cutouts that cast delicate shadows on the walls.

 

Submerged Motherlands

The cutouts extend all the way to the floor and extend out as graphic water swirling around the boats.

 

Submerged Motherlands

Submerged Motherlands

 

The rafts themselves are made of junk and found materials. They are fantastic vessels which, like all of Swoon’s work, are a deft combination of rough and refined.

 

Submerged Motherlands

Submerged Motherlands

And the best part? She can draw! The combination of loose and tight, rough and refined, decay and growth, and plain old fine craftsmanship left me standing in awe. I studied each larger than life woodblock portrait hoping to soak up some of Swoon’s skill by osmosis. Amazing, amazing, amazing.

An inspiration-filled weekend like this begs for follow-through. We talked a lot about what we were seeing, what spoke to each of us and why, what our own goals and hopes are, how the exhibits might inform our work, where to go next, how to emulate those we admire, and on and on. More on my thoughts tomorrow.

 

SAQA Conference 2014

Several months ago I had the pleasure of being asked to speak on a panel of local artists at the Studio Art Quilt Associates annual conference which was held two weeks ago in Alexandria, VA. The invitation was just the push I needed to register for the whole conference. This was my first one so I had no idea what to expect, but I am very glad I attended.

I wasn’t able to be there for the Thursday night check in and activities. There were meetings for the regional reps and for the Juried Artist Members (formerly PAMs), which I think is a great idea since these two groups have specific issues that affect only them and they can use each other for networking and resources. I spoke to a couple of regional reps who attended and I think they got a lot out of the experience. One mentioned that the meeting made her feel more confident about what she was or was planning on doing for the region. Not being in either group, I couldn’t have gone to those meetings, but I would have loved to go to the artists speed dating session open to all which seems like a fun ice breaker and chance to network.

Friday was the main event. It was great to see so many local members — those whom I have met before at our parlor meetings and a few new-to-me faces. With sessions like photographing your artwork, navigating the gallery scene, promoting yourself, and growing your business, it all seemed geared towards members who are ready to sell work at or near a professional level. I don’t think that’s a bad thing though — I suspect that those who would invest in a conference would be at this place in their journey. I certainly am, and I came away with lots of good info. I attended the photography lecture which was very helpful, and the promote your work without apologizing which was OK. Lesley Riley gave a lecture on being your own art coach, which might have been good for someone looking for some direction in deciding where to go next with their work (maybe I would have gotten more out of that than the no apologies session). There was also a digital designing session that would probably appeal to people not as interested in the how to be a professional artist stuff but looking for inspiration. Our local artist panel went well. Lots of people came up to me later and said they enjoyed it. Cindy Grisdela did a good job getting four people whose art is very different. My new artist crush is Jinny Smith. Since the Textile Museum is nearby but currently closed as they are moving to new digs, the director brought a slideshow of some of her favorites in the collection. Lots of costumes and historical ethnic stuff from around the world. Very nice.

Saturday I attended a lecture on navigating the gallery scene which I really got a lot out of. Curator Trudy Van Dyke spoke, and not only is she very knowledgable and instrumental in Fiber Art Now, but she is very approachable and helpful. Lots of people were handing her business cards after she spoke so she said she’d just email us all back and we could continue our individual conversations from there. I thought that was a great way to move quickly through the crowd and still be able to give thought and time to each person’s request. I look forward to more contact with her.

The other highlight for me was hearing several students from Maryland Institute College of Art speak so enthusiastically about their work (which is inspiringly “out there” compared to what most of us are doing!). Then we took a field trip to see the Radical Elements show which went well. On the bus, I caught up with Nanette from NC who is doing fantastic legwork on making my Army Wife show happen at her local art center and growing it into an exciting event. I only wish I could have seen our Tarnish show as well, but it was too far away to add to our bus trip and there really wasn’t enough time for a separate field trip.

It was great to see so many faces I knew. Lots from the DC/MD/WV group that I join in on when I can. I said hi to everyone I saw and spent some time with the lovely Diane Doran. I ended up hanging out mostly with the NC people I had met when I’ve gone to their area for combined SAQA and PAQA-South events (Nanette Zeller, Eileen Williams, and Christine Hager-Braun). Also, my VA pal Lorie McCown was there so were were pretty much each other’s sidekick the whole time. It was kinda fun being the one who could introduce people from one group to people in another group.

I missed Sunday’s retrospective with Yvonne Porcella because I really needed to get home, but I did meet her (and Iris from MistyFuse) via Lisa Ellis last night. I wore my aqua cowboy boots on Friday and so everyone not only noticed me, but remembered me. That was a good move — wearing something memorable, so people will have at least half a clue who I am if I ever wish to contact them again.

So, in conclusion, a good time. I’m not sure I’d be able to justify spending the money to fly to a conference, but if there’s one that’s reasonable easy to get to I’d definitely go. The networking possibilities alone are worthwhile. Next year’s is to be in Portland, OR, so I’m not sure if that one will fit into our plans, but we’ll see…

Stepping Away

Paper Houndstooth

 

I’ve been plugging away at this security envelope apron for about two weeks now. It was awesome in my head, but as I’m progressing, it’s got so many mistakes in it and as I try to fix one it seems only to exacerbate another. It’s not as clean and flat as I’d like it either.

My biggest issue is that I know proficiency requires repetition and practice, yet I don’t really have the time for that. I wanted to create this for an exhibit in March and I feel like I’m spinning my wheels. I’d feel differently if this was going well and I was proud of the work, but I’m not. The worst part is that it is taking time away from other work that I know I can do, and do well, and that I need to do.

This morning was the decision point. I worked for a few hours and got more and more frustrated. So, I’m setting this aside and moving on to something else. I may or may not return to the weaving in time to participate in the exhibit. It’s disappointing, but I think realistic.