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Thursday, September 28, 2006


I had big plans to tidy up the music room today, but got up late, had coffee, talked to Sally, and then drifted up to the studio to see what I'd done to a piece I started yesterday. It was a rescue piece, made with lutradur, that I wasn't happy with, so was adding a lot of stitching to it. And of course, I ended up finishing it, and another one to boot!

In part, I'm working through the queue of quiltlets that are ready to go, so that I can address two issues that I have with my textile work; interestingly enough, neither applies to the paintings. I realise that I don't handle contrast well. I think that there's two reasons for this. One is that I want my work to be subtle; I want it to sing to you, not shout at you. The second, though, seems to have to do with meaning, with the keeping of secrets. This was not something I was conscious of until I blurted it out to Dijanne and Sandy one night in the gite (if you were wondering what we found to talk about...well, we would talk about the work, wouldn't we!). That has to do with my past, the murkier moments of it, anyway, or I think it does. As I have no more dark and murky secrets, it seems silly to continue the habit of guarding my words, and clearly my art, from expressing what's going on in my head. Though admittedly, it does get a bit complicated in there...

The other issue is one of size. Todays pieces were slightly bigger than the ones I've made over the past couple of days; one is 19" by 13", a Flying Dreams piece, the other is 14" by 16". I work small, usually, but I discovered at Festival of Quilts that size does matter; if your work is small, it is not well presented, and it struggles to be seen against its larger neighbours. And the jurors' comments in the Quilts 2006 catalogue seems to confirm that, suggesting that many quilts were dismissed for being of an inappropriately small size. And since getting a quilt into that particular show is a definite goal for me, maybe I'd better take the hint! Not that I intend all my work to be large. I attended Michael James' workshop on critique at Birmingham, taking along with me a very small piece, the tree piece that was on my blog earlier. His comment was that it was exactly the right size for what it was. Which, given he admits to being known as someone who is more likely to say 'work bigger', was very comforting. But I had intended that that piece be one of an 'edition' of prints, and we agreed that it would be better if there were more of them (as it were...).

Who was it said, to thine own self be true? I'm not planning to do anything other than exactly that with my work...but I am planning to take some risks from now on. Wish me luck!


DubiQuilts said...

Do what is in your heart. In the end you will be happy.

I love the few last pieces you have done. Todays may be light in color but the design kept my interest.

Lynn said...

I think small works have as much integrity and right to be seen and judged as any other work, however, I can also understand from the judges' point of view that viewers tend to gravitate to the big and bold.

When I've done a small piece I really like, I sometimes mount it on a solid background so that it appears more dramatic and is also larger. I am sure that doing this with some of your work may actually interfere with what your creative voice was trying to say, but you might try it now and then. I keep a folded piece of black cloth handy just to "float" a small work on top of to see how it looks that way. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't, but if it means getting shown/seen versus not, maybe it's worth it.