HOW LONG IS THE CONVERSATION

Before your work of art tells you what it is about?  And is it really “work” if the artist keeps rejecting and rejecting ideas?  What about that work day when all you have to show for your time is eight ideas that were no good?

I may be finally growing up.  Or maybe old old habits take a long time to break.  I would think the most successful of persons would be the ones who observe what they are doing, and if not the best idea, never do it again.  Go on.  Examine something else.  To hell with what once worked at one time.  I wonder if business people are able to let go quicker than visual artists.

In my former medium, embroidery on pieced fabrics, intense labor was required as the symbols on the picture plane were all hand stitched.  I would start with a line drawing, and start stitching, but the theme of the work always changed as the stitching got further and further along.  We were having a conversation, my work and myself.

What you see here is satin stitch and seed stitches on patterned fabric and everything about this takes a lot of time.  This is a detail from a larger piece called “Speculate”.

This entire piece is about nine by nine inches and involves comparing prickly pear “leaves” with my truncated lung after about one third had been removed because of a metastasis of colon cancer.

What I am creating now could not be more different, although the longer I work on this stuff, the more in common it has with the stitched work.  The new work reflects an entire side of life that was never addressed in the stitched work. A side that was often tried WITH the stitched work, but never successfully.

I have just sold the first of these pieces.  It is scary to put yourself  “out there” with an unfamiliar medium.  What does feel comfortable about it however are the objects being used in these “reliefs”, and the process of creating them, with my years of teaching design students about the never ending dance of shifting compositions.  I am finding the camera on my cell phone very helpful with this.

I have always wanted to work in a series, as well.  Never could with stitching.  The intervals working on a piece were so long, everything was inward looking, fine-tuned to get that one idea to stand.  Now, where there is more thinking and less labor, series can emerge, which brings about the question?  What is worth more, labor or ideas?

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