Friday, October 16, 2015

Change//Time = Life

One of my spiritual teachers talks a great deal about how change is a fact of life - no matter what, things change.  I get what he is saying completely, and tonight I'm sitting here drinking a glass of wine and thinking about how much my style and tastes have  changed in the last few years. 

When I was in my twenties, I had one kind of taste - I'll call it my "developing" taste.  It was heavily influenced by my mother, who gave me an entire tree's worth of Christmas ornaments.  They were all these lovely Victorian pieces, and my tree was lovely.  I also liked florals - I had large swaths of a pretty navy blue floral material around my windows as a treatment, and I even painted flowers above my door and had a floral wing-back chair.  I think if someone had asked me about my style at that point, I would have been all over the place, or simply unable to answer the question. It wasn't, yet.   

After my son was born, my tastes seemed to change significantly.  Creativity began to well up in me -  I started painting whimsical animals and bugs.  Gone were the swaths of floral and flowers, replaced by playful sheer pocket curtains that I had a ton of fun changing out with my mood or the seasons.   I discovered a love of bright colors against neutral backgrounds, and a love of what I will call "art-y-ness."

 We moved to our family land in Texas when our son was four and here we have no need for window treatments, so my windows are gloriously bare.  And it turns out, that's the way I LOVE them.  I can see nature from every room in my house - beautiful, unadorned, in-my-face trees, grass, open space.  And for a while after our house was built I was unable to necessarily decorate it to my own style, but this was a good thing.  It basically allowed me to figure out what I truly love.  Slowly I began to find pieces that really appealed to me, and if they were super expensive, I would wait years to buy them.  I decided I would rather wait and have the thing that felt right rather than have some thing.  I still don't have a dining room table and chairs (Actually I do have one, but not "the"one.)  And I still have one hand-me-over chair in my living room - not because I like it, but because it is so darn comfortable it's hard to give it up!  But it's going soon. 

As I look around my house now, it definitely feels right.  I would say that there isn'tt a particular style that dominates - I have mid-centuray modern, for sure.  I also have world bazaar, natural, and funky.  I still love whimsy and there are touches of it here and there, and I definitely love color, which also runs throughout the house.  But there are no florals, except for the funky floral pouf I made.  And I love it all.  I decorated this house for myself and my family, not for show.  

Then there's art.  As I've said before, it wasn't until I was around thirty that I discovered or should I say uncovered a deeply imbedded need to create in myself.  (I was a teacher, and I think teaching used to be quite a creative field, so I guess in some ways it was there all along...)  But when I moved back to Texas and began quilting, well - let's just say I had no idea what kind of fabric-chewing, mess-making, time-sucking, joy-filled monster I was unleashing in myself!   Like all beginners, I kind of went with the flow of simple, following patterns, then starting to modify them a little, or to use completely different fabrics than the ones that were shown.  When I went to the Houston Quilt Festival for the first time everything changed immediately when i realized I could basically do anything I wanted - this was art!  The next "Aha moment" was when I discovered the modern quilt movement.   Here was a place where I belonged too, not a doubt about it.

As for my own art - well - it's pretty much all over the place at this point.  I still really like to create art quilts.  I also love the modern quilt aesthetic.  But I find myself coming back to making more traditional-type squares pieces, too.   Where my tastes have evolved quite a bit is color and style.  Many of the types of fabrics and colors I used to use a great deal, I rarely use anymore.

I have a huge bin of African Fabrics. I still occasionally use them but I'm not drawn to them anymore.
All the Batiks I have left.  I may never use them, but I might...we'll see.                 

And some things I thought I loved it turns out I don't, necessarily.  For example, from the time I was in first grade, purple was my favorite color.  But I've not made one purple piece of art!  I've used it in bits and pieces, but never featured it.  I don't even have much purple in my house, either - go figure.  I would say that although it's difficult to pick a favorite color, I lean now towards sky blues, yellow, orange, lime-ish or chartreuse greens, and turquoise.   I do still love nature's colors - rich browns, oranges, greens, blood reds...but I also love bright colors, grays, low volume...a good clean white.  Not so much florals - I tend toward geometric patterns.

Here's a look at some of my current stashes:

Some busy fabrics that I love but am not sure how I will use.

A few greens and yellows

A small sample of oranges and sky blue/turquoise/aquas,  of which I am overflowing.

Oh these fabrics have captured my heart and my fancy.  I have a ton of 'em!
I have a bunch of these but can you believe I want more?!

This is not everything by any stretch - that would get boring, I know.  But it's a small representation of what I love now.  I also have bins for purple, pink, regular blue, grey, black, white, hand-dyed, gold, brown..there's more but it's an embarrassment of riches...and I love it all!  And I use it, too. (If I don't, I donate it.  I love the idea of someone going to Hospice and finding something that really excites them at an affordable price.)  

As for my current tastes - Yeah, I'm sure I've been influenced by others; I'm sure the media has wormed it's way into my brain and tastes, but as time goes by it seems to me that what's happening is that I'm becoming more and more - me.  It feels comfy, like yoga pants and soft cozy shirts and Chaco flip-flops. 

Who knows where the journey will lead, but now I see it as more an evolution rather than a developing and I hope I always embrace it.  I have a friend I used to teach with and we used to promise each other that whenever we heard ourselves complaining about or resisting new ideas or methodology, we would tell each other it was time to retire.   Because change is good.   And also, inevitable, so we might as well get comfortable with it.  

So what about you - do you feel like your tastes, style, likes and dislikes have changed a lot, too?  Think back to your first house or apartment - do you still love what you did, or have you completely started over?  And if you are an artist, how has your art changed over the years you have been creating?  Age is not a factor, because some people in their twenties have been making since they were kids!   

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