Creating requires practice and it produces left overs. We are a studio mindful of good economy and careful stewardship. Practice prints of trees for a chasuble are reserved for other secular art work. Paint and dye techniques practiced on silk dyes reappear on clergy stoles and women’s apparel.
I learned the lessons of practice and left overs growing up on a farm. The practice jacket for a 4-H project was not made from muslin, but rather an inexpensive cotton that was serviceable. The batches of practice brownies made the month before the county fair were snacks for farm workers. Grandma Alice’s midweek menu often included a “mess” of something, which was usually a tasty medley of this and that. Of course, patch work quilts were the destiny of fabric left from cutting clothing.
These work habits are now labeled generative and derivative work. I add time to production schedules of major projects to include intentional production of cloth that will generate new art work. I organize work space to facilitate quick cuttings of small gift items derived from both the ideas and materials of large projects. I hope to work with greater focus, continued expertise, and deeper expression.
Custom work filled many summer days at the studio this year. Completed projects are now delivered. Before I completely shift into next season’s work, my hands and mind are revisiting techniques and tools: a bit like a family reunion.
Grandma Alice showed me how to tie quilts when I was a teenager. My fingers readily repeat the old motions. I enjoy adding this simple bit of thread into textile art. Seen here, knots added to wall hanging used in the worship space of The Legacy, Staunton, VA.
One of my best creative companions is my husband Ned. He understands the studio schedule. He totes things here and there. He asks the piercing questions, such as “Is this the best use of your time?” His help and perspective keep art flowing from the studio.
When Ned retired several years ago, he began art classes at Opus Oaks, a local school for arts. With lessons, guidance, and encouragement, he has completed a handful of paintings. He has been reluctant to submit them to shows, until Shenandoah Arts Council, our local council, planned an exhibition honoring the Opus Oaks school.
With some encouragement (cajoling) and help (shopping for a frame) from me, Ned submitted his work. Later he proudly posed beside it for a photograph.
Who encourages your creativity? Whom do you encourage?
My fabric career spans decades, serving clients from Hawaii to Puerto Rico. I have worked on the dining table, in a spacious bedroom, down in the basement, and from the kitchen counter. Soon I will practice in a studio made just for me!
Originally a two-part wooden door opened to the work bench / potting shed of my garage. I like the above view of layered solutions. The craftsmen who integrated the block wall were a delight to watch. Photograph below shows the new door and windows. The mammoth piece of equipment signals that soon water will be piped in and out of the space.
Each one of the spaces in which I have worked has evolved my skill and craftsmanship. Clients have evoked ever-widening artistry. It is my goal that the new studio will support larger inventory, more complex work patterns, and greater focus on increasingly authentic art.
I use different scissors for different tasks in the studio just as I use a variety of knives in the kitchen. Practice informs me which tool works best for a particular task. Experimentation increases the scope of usefulness for each tool I own.
Recently, I have begun to regard my screen images as tools. This set of little suns was designed for a custom project. Before I use it for its intended purpose, I want to know more about how it works when repeated, when worked in multiple colors, when overlapped or spaced irregularly on the background.
A morning’s play with screen and paint introduced the potential of this simple design; I think I would like it in multiple sizes.
In the beginning…….God created…….In the beginning……..was the Word……
In the beginning of 2016, I stalled out. In the midst of stacks of fabrics, committed projects, commissioned work, beckoning ideas, and pots of paint, I struggled to create a plan and to write a schedule that would contain and direct all these good things. The elements of a blessed beginning were drowning me through my own inaction.
The inner coach screamed: cut, stitch, paint. Madeleine L’Engle’s words whispered in my head, “Inspiration come in the midst of work.” Studio action created 31 little art tags this morning. My happy hands cut, stitched, and painted, completing one of the elements for a presentation next week.
Cleaning picture files yesterday, I discovered the included photograph of Genesis, a privately owned piece. I like the swirling, undulating energy in it. The contrast of the oranges and blues creates both friction and clarity. It was made by cutting, stitching, and painting. Beginnings are complex. A starting point is not.
This conversation was repeated at every 2014 craft market where I sold my L-shaped wraps. This week the light came on in the connection closet of my brain. Why am I not making scarves from raw silk? And here they are! Prototypes with colorful dye and paint and also an elegant interpretation with black paint on the neutral silk.
I use a small 1 inch fringed hem on the short ends to create a soft edge without fussiness; the long sides are double turned and stitched. They measure approximately 17 by 70″. A raw silk scarf can become an all season star: tucked under a coat collar, tossed over shoulders as a wrap, or twirled to create a spectacular neckline.
They are not yet on the market, but will appear early in January 2016. Look for them at Seeking Stars Art.
There are many woodworkers on my family tree. I have an appreciation for the medium and for the work. It is my delight to have a local woodworker as a friend and business buddy.
Ron Light creates wood furniture and accessories here in the Northern Shenandoah Valley. About once a quarter we meet up in his workshop, a space with a view of the Blue Ridge that always distracts me until Ron offers me coffee. I get to preview his projects and then we get down to the talk.
Vendors, markets, price points. We roll the topics around. We question. We disagree. We suggest new products. We share past experience. It is a pleasant process to keep ourselves in check. I recommend this type of creative company for any self-employed maker of things and ideas.
Good conversation with Ron creates clarity for my work. He is an excellent sounding board, as sure as the pieces he creates. Learn more about him at lighthousewoodworking.com.
I married a man with a cat last fall. Sweetie the cat, adopted when his daughter moved, is the empress of the domain. ( and I am fine with that because she never enters my studio.).
The persnickety puss loves moving water. She has an endearing meow which I interpret as, “Get that faucet turned on now. I am languishing.” She prefers that her human serve her, immediately. This is a well established pattern for both cat and man.
I turned on the faucet today. The slow head turn, the inaudible sigh, the unmistakable disdain. She’s all cat, but she still pussy-footed her way to the water.
The Creative Sprint task for today: do someone else’s role.