Last night the Grateful Threads had a get together to look at the pink petunia progress (PPP) and talk about our current work. I can't believe we haven't met since June and I still didn't have a single thing finished to show. The moving excuse is getting old! I am behind on the Petunias now. Everyone had been saying they didn't start, but then when a meeting got scheduled, work was done. It's starting to be really interesting! I have not cut out any fabric, but I started identifying which fabrics will go where, and how many values of each fabric, etc. It was good to see what others had done, now I know I'm generally on the right track and I'm excited to proceed.
There were some interesting discussions too. One member had just sold one of her major works, through a placement by Allied Arts of Whatcom County. She's sold a number of other works in the past year as well, which was very exciting to know about. We talked about selling via art shows versus quilt shows. Art shows/galleries are so much better for sales of art quilts. I mentioned that our town has surprisingly few galleries, considering how "arty" we all think we are. Jo suggested that the best options were restaurants and hotels. Where people might see and buy art work. In other words finding your own placements. I was thinking about medical offices - since I had three different appointments last week. One of my doctors just branched out on her own, and the walls are looking a little bit bare. It would be fun to put together some available works then send out postcards to medical and dental offices... if I had any available work.
The other interesting discussion was about working in a series. We were discussing Rob Appel, who was the featured speaker at our guild last week. His current work is the Endangered Species quilts, which are really pretty cool. Here's one example - you can buy patterns on his website if you are inclined to cut out a lot of really small pieces of fabric:
But he also showed his earlier "Seascapes" quilts, and there are eighteen of them. And they all look the same....! He only showed about ten, but still... they got old really quickly.
So, I don't want to bash Rob, he was a great speaker and he's doing some really cool stuff, and he's donating some of his profits to benefit endangered species. And he was just learning to quilt. And they are way better than anything I'm learning on. But the comments that came up last night were, "See, that's what working in a series is like.... boring! Who wants to do the same thing over and over....?" This led to more discussions of when it might be interesting to try something again... Jo might be interested in redoing her mountain quilt, and we talked a little bit about how in some cases there are some things that you might like to try again. But I realized I'm in much more of a minority than I thought.
After Lisa's lecture I was completely sold on Working in a Series being the only way to develop a career. I still am. Her comment about taking classes being a distraction was right on for me. Something sounds good - I sign up - bingo! Another UFO that I have little interest in. The more I look around at artists and serious art quilters I admire, the blogs I read, and the people who post on the SAQA list, people who are serious about this as a career are working in series, or at least developing a clear voice.
When I joined the guild I realized quickly I was pretty far on the left side of the Traditional Quilt - Art Quilt spectrum. The first quilt I completed was my own design, invented as I went along. No pattern. It didn't occur to me that a pattern would really be needed unless you were doing something very complicated. So I started to identify more with the "art quilters," going to the more "arty" classes. I was thrilled when Jo invited me to be part of the G. T., and still am, it's so wonderful to have that interaction, and input and critique... (or it would be if I had something to show them!) But now I realize with things like Filmstrip, and the Nancy-Crow-esque series I want to do, I'm moving even further over on that spectrum. I can't imagine what they are going to think if I ever get that monster quilted!