Tuesday, November 13, 2007

"Too much of a good thing really can be too much."

When I was a child several saying that kept popping out of the mouths of the older but wiser folks in my life. Folks like my Grandmother and Mother and on occasion my father when I gave him credit for being wiser than me even though I thought of myself as a pretty wise kid despite my youth, were sayings like, "don't bite off more than you can chew". Or "your eyes are bigger than your stomach". Or "you are spreading yourself too thin". These saying along with several other I swore I would never repeat to another living soul; myself included' for as long as I lived. But yesterday I found I was repeating them over and over like a melody that stays in your head no matter how hard you try to make it go away as I sat down to make a DVD to submit to a juried 3 month exhibit opening in May of '08. The deadline for entries was this coming Friday and if I was going to do it I knew I had better get to it. And even then it would take me going immediately to the post office to get in in the system to assure delivery by the received by date of Nov. 16.
The artist statement in 100 words or less was the easy part. As was listing the materials and techniques I use in my work. The hard part was deciding what to submit and fighting off the voice in my head that kept saying "you are spreading yourself too thin." You've bitten off more than you can chew."
It's not that I don't have more than a few quilts in the closet that are good works. Lord knows there are several hanging on the walls throughout the house that would serve me well. Work that I have no problem claiming as mine if seen in public, but they are not works that exemplify what I am about now or where I want my work to be the middle of next year when this exhibit opens. I'm changing, my work is changing.And I wanted this entry to reflect that change. So what was I going to do?
Several post back I mentioned my solo exhibit that opens next June. Working toward my self set goal of 30 new works, I now have ten pieces that fit the theme I decided upon with the working title of "Pathways and Stepping Stones" toward that end I am doing a variety of screen printing techniques and whole cloth designs that are heavily quilted. The work is moving along very well and I am now quilting on the second piece since returning home last Thursday. I have yet to begin to work up 4-5 pieces for a multi-artist exhibit with the theme of rivers that will hang at the same timein '08 as my solo show. I have the images in my head of what I want these pieces to look like and I see them as a series of pieced works mainly in blue with orange and roughly 50 to 60 inches on the smallest side. They will take some time to complete. I haven't begun to dye the yards and yards of fabric I'll need for them.
And yesterday there I was sitting at the computer contemplating committing to a third possibility that would overlap the other two. Was I nuts? Don't answer that.
I stopped entering short lived quilt contests several years ago when I found myself in a similar situation of me trying to be in more than one place at the same time. Back then I stepped back and asked myself what I wanted for myself as an artist and what I wanted of my art. I decided then that the quilt show contest circuit no longer appealed to me even thought there remained a sense of accomplishment when a work of mine was accepted or honored because essentially what I didn't like was the transitory nature of quilt shows and the time it took to entry one.
A lot of work for very little return. Up today down in three. Several hours of your life and a nice chunk of change spent meeting requirements for entry in a quilt show. Filling out entry forms ,writing artist statements or 75 words or less about how your quilt fits the theme. (lying!) Making slides or a cd, labeling, then when you are accepted, buying boxes, packing quilts and making the trips to UPS or FedX and insuring your work if it is not covered by a blanket policy. MONEY MONEY MONEY AND TIME.
Works displayed in galleries are for longer engagements and in my mind, work seen in those settings elevate the quilt to a status beyond craft and I like that.
So yesterday the question was Should I, do I? And the answer was NO and DON'T once my wiser self took hold with a strong grip. I closed Photoshop and put away the call for entry for this third venue. Too much of a good thing really can be too much.

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