Sunday, October 30, 2011
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Is it only cheating when you get caught - or is it okay to fudge, embellish, stretch, darn, or paint over mistakes? I used to think that everyone except me was able to churn out perfect, flawless art, but now I know the truth – some of them cheat! It makes me so happy to know this!
Because I make mistakes, no matter how careful I am. Most of the time they are smallish and very few but the most discerning (or critical...to-may-to, to -mah-to) would notice them, but they eat away at me and I often feel compelled to point them out to admirers. My husband always says “Just pretend they are part of the design, and if no one mentions them, you shouldn’t either!” He’s right of course, but that is difficult for me to do – I have honesty diarrhea – it runs out of me before I can stop it a lot of time. I think the problem is that when I know it is there, it’s all I can see, and I always suppose other people are noticing it, too.
Of course, in my quest to be more “zen” I have also tried acceptance, and I can certainly accept that I am going to make mistakes, even be (somewhat) calmish in the face of them, but let’s be real here –one cannot tell a potential buyer to just accept that the piece was made by a human and therefore has flaws and then expect them to pay for it. It has to at least have the attitude of perfection in order to be sellable.
Plus, it’s heartbreaking (or depending on one’s personality, crazy-making) when you have spent countless hours designing and creating something only to make or discover a glaring flaw at the very end! In the past, when I have made mistakes, I thought “That’s it – this piece is ruined!” Now I know better. For example, I’ve made the recent discovery of the many delightful uses of clear thread (Where have I been? Under a rock, I guess – I know it’s not new). I wish I had known about it a long, long time ago, because this thread is magic – it can be used to fix almost any mistake and it is basically invisible (especially with 40+ eyes! ) – LOVE IT!
For example, one time I was trying to trim threads when I finished a piece and I cut the fabric instead (Surely it’s happened to many people, not just me…right?) I About a quarter inch gap appeared right in the front, very conspicuous, and I actually cried! But after I mopped up, I was able to repair it with the magic invisibility thread and it was virtually unnoticeable – thank God! The mistake was still there, so I had to clamp my jaws together whenever anyone complimented the piece so I didn’t point it out, but the truth is, no one has ever noticed it but me. So the stuff really works and it is now my best friend. (Of course, like all relationships with best friends we have our problems. It may be able to make mistakes disappear, but being invisible it is really difficult to work with, sort of like sewing with a long blond hair – hard to see and thread through a needle - especially with 40+eyes - and even more difficult to use in a machine, so sometimes I curse at it, but deep down I truly love it.)
I have fretted and worried about this cheating until I talked to someone who said she took an entire class once from a well-known and respected artist that was entirely about fudging – she even said one idea was to use a sharpie marker to “fix” little mistakes. After I got over my shock, I was elated! Well heck, if the leaders in the industry are doing it, then why can’t I?
So naturally, now I cheat with abandon (I mean, only if I have to)! No need to cry over mistakes, there’s probably a way to fix it, hooray! Only I don’t consider it cheating anymore – I’m just making it perfect (or at least look perfect!) And if I can only keep my mouth shut about it – hopefully I can do it so well that no one will ever notice.
I’m going to the Houston Quilt Festival at the end of this month, and along with admiring the amazing works of art I will see and getting endlessly inspired, I have to admit I’m going to, just for fun, see if I can catch any flaws or mistakes and see how these incredible artists cleverly disguised, fixed or covered them up. Hey, I’m always on the lookout for new ideas, if you know what I mean!
Monday, October 3, 2011
In tenth grade world history I learned that one of the characteristics of a civilization is that they create art for enjoyment. From that I can extrapolate that I live in a civilized world because I see art everywhere in our world – there’s fine art, books, movies, television, performance art, music, fashion – in fact, there are probably as many forms of at as there are people, because in the right hands, almost anything can become art, even food - I once heard about a restaurant in Spain called E Bulli where the dinner literally takes all night to eat. The food is presented in course after course as if the patrons were at a museum looking at pieces of art – and then they get to eat the amazing (and hideously expensive) things. Naturally the place was booked years in advance, although it did apparently close this year to become a “haute cuisine” research facility - talk about artistic!
Apparently we “modern” humans create just because we can. Sometimes I wonder, though– is that enough, or does there have to be a larger purpose for it? I know that when ideas and inspiration come to me if I don’t follow through on them I become crabby and impossible to live with, but on the other hand, what do I do with them after they are created? You see, all this creativity takes a lot of time, and I am half German, which means that I sometimes feel the need for a little practicality. Traditional quilts have always had a practical purpose, yet most people who have made them have strived to make them beautiful as well, because they could, so many are both useful and works of art – that’s easy. But I don’t make traditional quilts – I make art quilts. So what does this mean? For me, it means that I am going to attempt to sell my art
First of all, I know that in order to sell your work you must believe in it, and I believe in textile art as a medium – I know from experience it can really warm up a space, add style, texture, color and people respond to it emotionally every bit as much as they do to other forms of art. So I’ve got that part down. And I feel I can stand behind my work and if it gets some exposure, it might just sell. So I’m okay there, too.
But it seems I can’t help questioning whether this is the right thing to do at this time in my life, or I need to continue to live more conventionally (i.e.a steady paycheck, etc.) Just because I feel I am opening up creatively doesn’t mean I am not still a practical, logical girl. I know I’m at a time in my life when I still have many productive years left and I want to continue to contribute to my family, my community and the world in general. I’m hoping that I can balance my need to create with a little dose of real life by getting my work out there and taking some chances - nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? If it doesn’t work out, I’ll do whatever I need to do and furthermore (in keeping with the title of the blog) I shall strive valiantly to be at peace, whatever the outcome. Because I can’t “just do it” – I apparently need a reason. (That dratted German blood!)
Having shared my personal situation - I also strongly believe that doing, making, and creating does have a great deal of inherent value just in itself. Creating art as a hobby is plenty worthwhile, even if you have no idea of or interest in sharing it with the world. What I believe is that we all have to create on our own terms. I’m just still negotiating mine, apparently.