Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Clarity gained from where I sat

or my current thinking as it comes to creating new work.
If you have been reading my blog the last few months you know I have not created ANYTHING. The stuff I did in the workshops I have attended don't count.
During the latter part of the Summer and into the early days of Autumn, I have been studying g and thinking and trying once again to feel comfortable in my art space. For the past few months I haven't felt that me and my space were working cooperatively.
a couple of days ago as I was sitting with my laptop open using the table behind my sewing machine in my art space as a desk, I realized why.
Sometimes last spring I moved the position of my sewing machine from facing my design wall

to where I was sitting at the sewing machine with my back to it.
This change in position was prompted mostly by the fact that I was creating whole cloth quilts that were either dye painted or screen printed and not ones that required construction and visualizing on a design wall and I wanted a better view of the outdoors. Neither one of those techniques require me to compose on the wall, rather all the design work I did was worked out on pages in my studio journal or on any old piece of paper I could put my hands on quickly when an idea struck.

When I got down working on new whole cloth compositions I was very comfortable sitting facing the back of my sewing machine and once again looking at a blank design wall. At the time I did not think that where I sat had anything to do with my ability to work or my ability to create easily at the time. But looking back, it did.

Looking and thinking about it , during that time when I was making whole cloth works, I really did like sitting with my back to the design wall. From that position I had a better view of the garden outside my art space window. I had some place to rest my eyes when quilting for long stretches and at that point in the process seeing my work on the great room wall had no influence on what I was doing.
Back in my old spot, where I sit facing the design wall what I see is the part of the house that is the garage. Not very interesting or inspiring.

But on the other hand the wall it is not distracting either. From my old spot, the same was true when I looked about the house from that position . (facing the design wall)
Nothing distracting there either. If I should see some dust that needs removing, when I am working , thought of getting up to do something to rectify that is easily shoved to the far reaches of my consciousness without effort.
I have a friend. Her name is Marti. She advocates having your work hung in your house so that you can see it and learn and grow from your exposure to it. This house, more so than any other place I have lived, gives me great places to hang my work which falls in nicely with Marti's belief. Her thoughts are all well and good... if the work is seen only as you are passing by it on the way to some other place in the house, like from the bedroom to the kitchen or from the bedroom and down the hall to the garage.
In this house I could open my own gallery. There are so many long expanses of walls where work can hang and be seen on occasion. Right now, there is a fairly large piece in the eating area of the kitchen. I currently have three good size pieces on the foyer wall. There are the three pieces you can see in the great room. One piece on the hall wall facing my bathroom door and two pieces in the hall leading to the garage. One at the end of the hall you can't miss is looking in that direction, the other is more visible if you leave the kitchen through the doorway to that hall. If the desire strikes I could hang a couple more pieces in the hallway to the grand boys bedrooms. Naaah!!!

There really is such a thing as overkill.

With all that said, the conclusion I have come to is that it is not good for me to look at my work all the time which is what I was doing before I changed the position of the sewing machine cabinet and the table behind it.

Seeing my work as I am creating; I find I am influenced toomuch by fabirics and the color scheme I've used in them. I am fighting so hard to keep from doing the same things again that I currently have the worse case of creators blocked ever. You see when I can see without effort my work, the visions of my previous work is all I can see in my mind, which leaves no room for other visions to come reside in my head.
Not only is my work being totally influential by past works at this point. All the clutter that is part of my work wall was distracting me too, I came to realize. There is way too much visual clutter that I never saw when my back was to it.
I think the most important thing one needs to know about yourself is knowing yourself. By that I mean, I know what it is I like and dislike, where I am comfortable and why. I know that visual order and calm is part of what makes me more creative and that visual clutter and disorder does my creative mind in.
As you can see from how long my blog entries tend to be. I have never found a blank page intimidating and now I know for sure that I find a blank design wall a challenge and is definitely my way of getting to new work.
Before I began packing a small carry on bag for my quick trip to Louisville tomorrow just to have Thanksgiving dinner with my Mom I sat down at my sewing machine and stared at my blank design wall aah!!!! I am so glad I moved my sewing table back to where it was. I am hoping the desire to work is still strong in me when I return home on a flight that will have back in Columbia in time for a late supper and sleeping in my own bed on Friday night. This trip I should have time to see a couple of friends on Friday morning, maybe do a little shopping for thread at my favorite store, especially since I got an e-mail announcing a 25% off sale that begins at 8:00 AM. My grandson Justin invited me to have lunch with him.
Heres wishing you a great Thanksgiving and if breaking the wish bone is part of your holiday tradition, I hope you get the largest share.

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