Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Visioning Project Year End Summary

Here's the post from our Visioning Project site where I summed up my success at meeting my goals:  

Here it is the middle of September. How did that happen?  If I had to sum up my success over the past year, I’d say really good, considering!   Without going into irrelevant detail, the “considering” involved an unexpected family illness that had me away from home more than expected, but all is well now.

There is something exciting and motivating about the “Back to School” feeling that hits me every September.  The evenings are darker and wetter and much more conducive to moving from the garden to the studio.    As I look back on successes and failures, it’s not too surprising. Too many distractions, not enough studio time.  I need to be flexible but diligent about my studio time.  I need to learn to say  ‘no’ to more things in order to say yes to the studio.   I could probably blame Pinterest for a big chunk of lost studio time.   It really does suck me in.  I justify it to myself in saying that I’m just learning about art and art quilting, and I learn a lot from looking at other quilts, but at some point I need to “just do it,” not think about it. 

But on a positive note, here’s what I accomplished between September  2012 and September 2013.  I hope to post my 2013-14 goals in the next week or so.

I think I met my general goals, which were deliberately pretty vague:
·                     Learn everything I possibly can about composition and colorIn addition to the formal learning I discuss below, I read several books about color, abstraction and as much as I could find about composition.  I also read some blogs and other informational internet sites.
"Strip Piecing #8"
·                     Find my "voice," or at least keep searching for it.
I can’t say it’s totally clear but I do know that I've found something that makes my heart sing.  That’s a funny term, but there is just this amazing feeling I get when I’m in that creative zone.  Heart songs are the opposite of heartaches, I guess.  This most recent piece I've done is an example.
·                     Continue to hone technical skills.
I think I did well on this too.  In addition to my art quilts I spent some time creating paper pieced stars and worked on about a dozen Dear Jane blocks.  Both helped me to be more precise when needed.  I don’t ever see my work evolving into something that requires a lot of precision sewing, but I think an artist needs every tool available and improvisation and spontaneity are not excuses to be sloppy.  I know that in my last two pieces I've done a lot more of ripping and redoing work that was not sewed to my standard, so I’d say I've improved in that area.

I was just “okay” with the specific goals – B- or C+ maybe?
  • Work Work Work! Put in the time.  Well, I did the best I could. Life happens, and a full time job doesn't help, but I did develop a routine that at times worked very well – getting up earlier I the morning in order to put in as much as 1.5 hours – ideally between 7:15 – 8:45.  This was a major effort for someone who is definitely NOT a morning person.  I have to work at streamlining the morning to NOT touch the computer, shower and dress right away and take my coffee to the studio.   After the intensity of the first two classes in September, October and November, I was brain dead an in the midst of the holidays.  I ended up piecing a cute bed quilt for my granddaughter, just to do something mindless.  That was against my resolution to NOT do functional sewing project, but each grandchild needs a quilt!  And there are two more waiting.  I got back to getting things ready to show at the Crow Workshops in January and February, that was when I finished up the WIS tops.  Then there was another big brain-dead lull between finishing the workshops in mid March, going on vacation for two weeks, then spending two more weeks with my brother after an illness in May and June.  It was only in August and September that I got back in to the creative mindset and finished my last two pieces. 
  • Focus on working In a series, and complete at least five major pieces in one series. Well, what does “major” mean? I produced either 4 or 7 pieces in the Series workshop, and have completed two more since then.  I guess that could qualify
  • Enter a piece in "Perspectives, Fantasy & Reality" Entry Deadline in November 2012
"Tipping Point" in the Whatcom Museum
I did not do this. The “Maps” theme is one I love, but not one I have worked on and since I was doing the Working in a Series workshop at the time, there wasn’t enough time for both.  I did push myself to do something for a SAQA call (Text Messages) which was also outside of my “strip piecing comfort zone” but also something I’m really interested in exploring. It wasn’t accepted, but I didn’t really expect it would be.  On a positive note, I did make a quilt for an open call at our local art museum on the theme of climate change.  Even though I knew they accepted anything and everything, it was still a thrill to see my work in the art museum.

  • Have five new quilt tops ready for the Nancy Crow workshop, in addition to the two that were started earlier this year. I guess I had five new ones done, the ones from the Series workshop. I felt more like they were “studies” than finished works of art, but at least I had something to show.
1.  Completed the Working in a Series Workshop with Lisa Call – and seven quilt tops (Was supposed to be five, but I decided the unfinished #5 would remain in three pieces, hence #5, 6, and 7.  How’s that for lemonade out of lemons??)   I really enjoyed the class, and Lisa is very organized, and experienced.  The biggest thing that came out of it was the experience of working intensely in the studio on a regular basis, and how rewarding it is to produce work when you commit time to doing it!

2.  Completed the Color in Art class, which included color theory which was not new to me, but good to review, and learning to mix colors with oil paint. I would never have done this on my own, but I LOVED it.  You become much more aware of how colors change and relate to each other when you are creating them yourself.   I am fascinated by the Albers “Interaction of Color” studies, and hope to experiment with some of them in fabric soon.

3.  Completed two weeks of workshops with Nancy Crow –“Improvisations – Let’s Experiment!” and “Lines, Curves, Circles & Figure Ground.”  There is nothing to compare with a Nancy Crow workshop, except maybe architecture school.  It is intense, emotional, and you learn more than you ever imagined you could.  Nancy claims her one-week workshops are the equivalent of a semester class in art school, and I really believe it.

One thing I am torn about in the coming year, is how much to continue making quilt tops, and how much time to spend on quilting itself.  Nancy Crow puts a big emphasis on producing lots of quilt tops as pieced studies, and less emphasis on finishing them.  I know they will not all be worthy, but I think I really need the free motion quilting practice, so I intend to quilt them all, even if they just turn into practice pieces.  That in mind, I am working backwards from the ugliest ones first, so the most amateur work is there, not on the ones I love.  Does that sound goofy? 

I need to mull over my goals for the coming year a little bit more, but I know they will include holding myself more responsible for posting here, and commenting on others posts. 

1 comment:

  1. Hooray for you! First for setting goals. Then for actually evaluating where you stand against them. What a balancing act between life and art! There're so many facets to this art that we have multiple challenges. It'll sustain our interest for many years!