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:
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).
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:
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:
- Color Stories
- Recycled Denim Stories
- Stories My Father Told Me
- Reinvented Stories
- Library Stories
- 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:
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):
Here is a little section of one of the blocks I shared on Instagram:
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