Tuesday, February 27, 2018
No secret squirrel
Friends, when you leave comments on my blog I read them!! Although it may take a while, I try to respond to any questions that you ask, because the whole reason I do a blog is to have conversations with other people. So when Other Kathy in New Zealand asked a question before Christmas I knew I had to get back to her eventually.
I had written a blog post about collage, and O.K.i.N.Z. wrote: "Is your work secret squirrel at the moment, Quilt National prep or other things we can't look at? I noticed that I've not seen much sewing lately in your posts."
O.K., you are one astute reader. You're right, there hasn't been much sewing in my posts because there hasn't been much sewing in my life. Hand-stitching, yes, and one of these days I need to show you a couple of pieces that are either finished or nearing completion, but no piecing or quilting. Truth is, I haven't felt much like embarking on a big quilt. I am feeling very ambivalent toward the quilt world as the outlet for my artistic yearnings. I have no desire to devote the next six months to making three huge things for Quilt National, not to mention no brilliant ideas.
I have to make a baby quilt for the grandchild of a friend who died last year. Our local textile and fiber art group, of which she was a member, went over to her house and cleaned out the studio at the request of her husband, who talked about the baby due in June. I knew that Linda would have loved to have made a baby quilt, and felt that I needed to do this task for her and her family. So I went through her fabric stash and picked out some appropriate pieces, but I haven't started working on the quilt yet.
What has happened to make me totally uninterested in big quilts? I've been asking myself the same question. I have been getting disillusioned with the juried-show business model, in which the artist pays the venue for the opportunity to show her work. Entry fees keep inching up every year, as do shipping costs. More troubling, when you show in these venues people never have a chance to see a body of work. Those with very good memories may recall some things from the past but otherwise it's hard to distinguish between artists who make a lovely one-off quilt and those who have been building a body of work over some time.
I know one answer is to seek out solo shows where you can display many works, but that takes a lot of work and perhaps a lot of politics. I have not summoned up the energy to go in that direction.
But more important, probably, is that since I have joined PYRO Gallery, a co-operative, I have a venue where I can show some work all the time, can be in group shows once or twice a year, and will have a solo show this fall. The gallery is not conducive to showing huge quilts, so I have put up some smaller ones, but I have been much more excited about the chance to explore some new mediums and formats. And this summer, instead of chaining myself to the sewing machine for Quilt National, I'll be chaining myself to some other piece of equipment in the studio for my solo show.
Maybe it's just time for something new. Whatever I come up with, I'll share with you. And I'll still be teaching and writing about quilts, because I love them and I love sharing that love with others. Maybe there will be new quilts in my future again, but not this week.