February and March have passed in the blink of an eye, and turned out to be a time of reflection and evaluation for me. So here I am at the end of April, to let you know that I am still pursuing the creative life, and deciding where it might take me next. I've done some work narrowing down my options, because nothing freezes me up as limitless possibilities. I've decided to stick with piecing commercial and hand-dyed fabrics, to include more hand-stitching in my work, and to limit myself to specific subject areas. My daughter Emily refers to these as "enabling constraints". The wisdom is that by narrowing our focus, we are freer to move forward. I'm never ever at a loss for new ideas of what I could do, and am so easily distracted, that it helps to choose a direction and stick to it.
"Swiftsure" is my most recently made work. A challenge was put forward by a small group of local fibre artists, to respond to the theme "Oceans". It was to measure 18" by 36", with either a horizontal or vertical orientation, and to incorporate blues and greens. I had been looking for an opportunity to try my hand at Anne Brauer-like narrow strip-piecing, and quickly decided to construct an ocean from gradated strips on greens and then blues, and of progressively darker values. I worked on 6" squares one at one time, and when they were all completed, joined them together in long rows. While I liked the result, I felt I wanted to include a focal area, and remembering watching the myriads of sails off Victoria in the annual Swiftsure race, designed a very simple sail shape and added numbers of these in progressively larger sizes to the background.
Now I'm at work on smaller companion pieces, and I'll post these as I finish them. I'm still undecided as to whether or not challenges are right for me or not. Do they push beyond my usual boundaries to do better work? Or do they limit me to working on something that is unrelated to the direction I want to pursue? The jury is out on this question, but for now I'll continue to participate in these challenges, and see where they take me.
I anticipate this next year to be one of new discoveries. The paperwork that goes with closing a business in nearly finished now, and I have the time and skills and focus, and the dedicated studio space too, to concentrate on my own work. Quite a luxury! One for which I am very thankful.