Sunday, 1 June 2008

Take it Further Challenge for May and catching up

I'll come to the catching up bit in a minute but first of all I need to update you on my piece for the May Take it Further Challenge. I couldn't blog about it previously as I combined it with my garden swap with Susan, but she has now received it so all can be revealed!
For the May Challenge Sharon asked "How do you describe yourself as an artist? One moment I am doing one thing that could be described easily as Art and the next I am doing something else that is craft! One moment my curiosity has lead me to to look at something quite strange as beautiful like the mould that grows on food in the fridge and the next I am looking at something most people would find familiar and boring and finding it fascinating like the bubbles in the washing up water.
Have you noticed that the term maker is being used to describe the activity of various people who may in the past be referred to as crafts person, or applied artist?
OK there is a few questions in the passage above but this month the challenge question is what do you call yourself and why?"
As I have said before, I have come from a painting background. For many years from my late 30's onwards I aimed to be, and saw myself as, a leisure painter. I was happy to potter along and learn from local classes, books and magazines and sometimes demonstrations from professionals or more experienced amateur artists. After 10 years of poodling along I realised that I needed to get some structured tuition and to improve my techniques and skills. I was no longer satisfied with "getting by". For the next 5 years I worked really hard (within the limits of my health) to get to grips with the basic skills associated with painting. This journey of learning and developing brought me into contact with all kinds of art and most particularly showed me how much I love texture.
In 2004 I was lucky enough to win a course with the Open College of the Arts and I was taken aback when my tutor asked me this self same question. How do you see yourself? Are you a leisure painter? Then, as now, that question gave me so much food for thought. I wrote in my journal at that time, "I have never asked myself that question. .........I am serious about painting and about developping. It is an interesting concept - am I a leisure/amateur painter or do I aspire to be more - an artist? "
The short answer (thank God for that, I hear you shout!) is that I am still asking myself the same question, except that I am no longer doing much painting. My question to myself then was "Can this personal perception affect how I develop and react?" By simply asking the question I did start to view myself differently and kept this thought in mind everytime I approached my own art or viewed art.
As this blog evidences, I have come on another journey over the last year and, as I have now been asked the same question, I have to say that I see myself as a fiber artist, at the moment. I think that my painting background informs my textile and mixed media work and I feel justified in using the term 'artist'. I strive to do my best when I create and I am always learning. I am an artist who, I hope, is always developping and growing. The last year has certainly been the steepest learning curve I have ever been on.
Ok, enough words. How can I show this concept in a piece of work?

This is the start of the piece I made for Susan for her garden swap and it is still very much a learning piece. It started out as a wallhanging on the lines of the workshop I did a couple of weeks ago. It includes several of the techniques I have been learning about as a fiber artist, piecing, sunprinting, free machine embroidery, embellishing with yarns and making my own fabric from bonding fabrics together.

It turned into a bookcover! with added buttons, beads and stitch embellishments. The poppy fabric is dotted all over with tiny seed beads.

I even managed to get the lining fabric to match across the inside!

So, there you are. That's me. The artist. At the moment it's fibre artist and sometimes mixed media artist. I don't feel I can refer to myself as a craftworker or maker as I still feel that I am working more towards the decorative than the practical. I admire those many talented artists whose work ends up as a wearable garment or a beautiful sculpture or piece of decorative home art.
What happened to "catching up" you're asking yourselves? This has taken longer to write than I expected and I've had a couple of long phone calls so I'll catch up tomorrow. I'm pleased to say our friend is still in hospital but progressing quite well. Hopefully she'll soon be home.


DeeMom said...

WOW you still amaze me

artisbliss said...

I just adore it, Julie!! I'm so pleased to have swapped with you.

B.T.Bear (esq.) said...

Hope yor frend is home soon. Pleez parss on my nose hugs.

I think yu ar very clever an wud be a good Bear-adopter az yu ar very payshunt an wuddent tell a small Bear on his berfday to pik up his stuff, speshly if it wassent him but his cuzzin hoo nokt the gummy bears all over the carpet in the ferst playse.

Genie said...

Lovely work Julie,
Very Inspiring

Gina said...

It is a huge step to start calling yourself an artist - it took me years and I still feel as though I'm pretending half the time. But you are and you have to believe in yourself. That is a lovely piece of work... certainly evidence of an artist at work.

Dilly said...

Hewo Julie!

Dilly fayvrit bit be gween bit wiv wagonfly on!

Julie be so clever an do lots pwinsessy things!
Dilly luv Julie!

Mummy gon lookin on Open Art Collidge now....


sharon young said...

Hi Julie
As you can see thanks to Norfolk open connection, I'm on line, sitting relaxing right on the river Yare, it's wonderful I want
to live here!!
I love this piece you've done for the TIF, the sun printing is one of my favs.
I enjoyed the evaluation of your creative self too especially as you seem to have taken a similar route to me.

fiona d said...

I love all the colours, patterns and textures and the way they all work together - it's a really lovely piece