Artists Statements, Part III (Telling Stories)

The Struggle to Make a “Statement”

In these two previous posts Artist Statements and Artist Statements, Part II, I shared my struggles with writing Artist Statements for a specific art quilt and the huge and intimidating challenge of writing an overall Artist Statement for my body of work as (a wannabe) an art quilter.

Here is an excerpt from the post Artist Statements, Part II, about my struggle:

Screen Shot 2017-10-22 at 3.36.42 PM.png

You can see above, underlined in red, my big concern: That I had not yet established what I felt was a solid and cohesive body of work. This is what I felt was keeping me from creating my overall/general Artist Statement.

A couple weeks ago I realized I now have a body of work in regards to art quilts (maybe it is imaginary but it seems like a body of work) – 16 “art quilts”. 15 of these art quilts are “improvisational” and one (1) is a combination of pictorial and improvisational. Now I had to determine what I am trying to “say” with my current body of work and where I want to go with it (i.e. make it COHESIVE).

Telling Stories

Above the front entrance to my beloved public library are quotes by authors and my favorite quote, by author Barry Lopez, is shown in the image below:

2017-10-04_11-53-02_859

It may be difficult to read from the photo, so here is the quote:

“The storyteller is the person who creates an atmosphere in which wisdom reveals itself” – Barry Lopez

I smile every time I visit the library and see that quote.

Thinking about that quote and where I want to go with my art quilting, I realized I want to be a storyteller.

So I’ve spent the past couple of weeks, as time allows, revisiting the Artist Statements on 15 of my 16 existing art quilts (1 of the quilts is part of an upcoming exhibit and the Artist Statement is already solid and cohesive with the them of the exhibit).

Out of this work (revisiting the specific Artist Statements for each piece), came a reorganization of my work into Six (6) Series of Stories:

  1. Color Stories
  2. Recycled Denim Stories
  3. Stories My Father Told Me
  4. Reinvented Stories
  5. Library Stories
  6. Other Stories

On the Tierney Davis Hogan page of the Improvisational Textiles website (the art quilting website I share with my friend Betty Anne Guadalupe) I’ve organized my art quilts into these six series and I provide an introductory paragraph/overview on each series.

Now that I organized my work into these series and decided where I want to go with my art quilting, I was able to finally write a general/overall Artist Statement.

My overall Artist Statement (which is also found on the Tierney Davis Hogan page) is:

“The storyteller is the person who creates an atmosphere in which wisdom reveals itself”, storyteller Barry Lopez noted.

My fiber/textile art is created with a single or ongoing story in mind. These stories originate from my life experiences, observations, struggles, dreams and hopes. The earth and its inhabitants are very precious to me and I want to do work that contributes to environmental conservation efforts. I primarily use recycled textiles in my art to include recycled clothing, textile manufacturing samples and scraps, and discards from others quilt-making. My focus on improvisational design: The fabric itself and creative inspiration guide me to allow the piece to evolve organically and become what it wants to become.

I am sure I will continue to refine this statement in the future, however I feel now like I have a map for the direction of where I want to go with my art quilting instead of just wandering aimlessly creating one new piece and wandering onto the next piece.

And Something Else

One more thing on Artist Statements – when you blog and post publicly, you never know who is reading. Well in the THOUGHTS (Comments) section of the Artist Statements, Part II post I was surprised and quite pleased to see a detailed comments/advice from someone who professionally works with and mentors artists.

In case you did not catch this comment from that post, I am sharing a screen shot of this helpful advice a professional posted:

Screen Shot 2017-10-22 at 4.14.26 PM.png


Postscript

I am currently working on a new piece for my “Recycled Denim Stories” series and here is a little peek at “What’s on the Ironing Board” (pulled from the Design Wall temporarily as I work out the layout):

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Here is a little section of one of the blocks I shared on Instagram:

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The recycled denim, recycled various clothing and recycled home decor fabric in this piece is the same fabric used in my other pieces The Recycled Door and The Recycled Road. 

Trust me you will never guess where I am going with this piece, it is going to have quite a bit of whimsy! Watch for more on this piece in a future What’s on the Design Wall series of posts…


Featured Image credit: Meredith B., free images.com

14 thoughts on “Artists Statements, Part III (Telling Stories)

  1. Melanie McNeil says:

    I smile when I read your blog, and partly because it’s like looking in a mirror (to parts of me I like.) I feel more and more strongly that the best quilts — my best quilts — tell a story. And I might be the only one who can read that story, and that’s okay. Story telling is an art in itself, but one we can integrate into our textile work. Thanks for sharing, including the comment.

    Liked by 1 person

    • tierneycreates says:

      Thanks so much Melanie – except for the fact I have never mastered doing a medallion quilt, I too think we are kindred spirits. Now if the Medallion Fairy (a distant cousin of the Tooth Fairy, but lesser known) visits me we can have more in common – ha! Thanks for your comments 🙂

      Like

  2. Chela's Colchas y Mas says:

    Bam! Your blog posts are powerful.
    You always plant some seed of thought, wisdom, reflection, that keeps me up at night!
    When I started quilting, I never thought of myself as an artist.
    It was my sister and my youngest son that saw my work as art.
    Every quilt I have made has been made to tell the story of the recipient of the quilt.
    I am now trying to use scraps, different textures, and upcycled fabric.
    You gave me something to think about.
    Thanks.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. craftycreeky says:

    Great post! I’m only just getting the hang of naming a quilt, never mind having to write a whole statement, when I do embroidery for the Embroiderers Guild Travelling Sketchbook I have to put a bit about where my inspiration came from…I don’t think Pinterest sounds good so I waffle 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • tierneycreates says:

      Thanks for your comments. Well instead of Pinterest you could say your piece is inspired by the work of other embroiderers (is that a word?) that you have viewed on “social media”. I think social media is a fairly acceptable source of inspiration these days in our social media world 🙂
      I know – sometimes naming a piece is a huge undertaking, I always hope the piece “tells me” what is wants to be named 🙂

      Like

  4. Tina Kercher says:

    Thank you for sharing your process toward this goal of creating an artist statement. For someone who is always creating, I think it is good to put into words why you do what you do.

    I am really loving what’s on the ironing board right now! I know that project will be very inspiring to me, even before I hear the story behind it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • tierneycreates says:

      Why thank you! I am enjoying the ironing board too (I wonder if I could be very avant-garde and just say “well this is the piece: Study on Ironing Board I” – had that could be a new “series” but they would be difficult to store in my house with all those ironing boards with blocks on them) and look forward to getting it up on the design wall laid out. 🙂

      Like

  5. Cindy Anderson says:

    Congratulations on conquering the artists statement. Your careful thought shows through in the final statement. I’m glad you had the “AHA” moment. You are torturing me with the sneak peak of your recent improv, recycled fabric piece. So looking forward to viewing further progress! 😎

    Liked by 1 person

  6. zippyquilts says:

    Wow, good for you! I just listened to Toku McCree’s Ted Talk on the importance of intent (well, the talk was about role models, but the importance of intent was what I took away from it). I really appreciate your series on artist’s statements, since that is a very difficult thing for me. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    • tierneycreates says:

      Thanks and that TED Talk sounds very interesting, I will put it on my list. I like to listen to TED Talks while crafting too. I am just pleased to have something to start with that I can refine as I go along in my journey 🙂

      Like

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