Monday, July 10, 2017

What Makes Me Happy?

The review that started with last week's blog has come about as part of Lisa Call's Masterclass (which is most excellent, by the way), and continues in a slightly different direction this week. Last week I chose some of the work I've made that I am most pleased with I should be concentrating on, based on those pieces.  I was really looking at what subjects they were about. Since then, though, I've realized that although the subject matter may change from one piece to the next, the story I am telling with my work remains the same. I remember hearing Valerie Hearder say some years ago, that we all really only have one story to tell. At the time, I mulled that over, and wasn't sure I agreed with her but now I think I understand the wisdom in her words a little better. So I re-visited my own work, those pieces that please me the most, and this time I asked myself if there are commonalities in the way they're constructed, or in what materials are used. This is what I came up with:
I love working with bright, saturated colours - mostly commercial fabrics, although I do add hand-dyes to the mix when it seems right.
I am happiest when I am stitching random strips of brightly colored fabrics together, making a new "something" from scraps, watching to see how it evolves.
I am attracted to multiples of shapes.
It makes me happy when I find a way to add hand-stitching to my work.
So although the subject matter may be different in each of these pieces, there is a common thread running through them all. Both the story behind the pieces, and the process by which I made my story known, are the same in each piece. Now I feel I'm really getting somewhere, in deciding on the direction for my work. Each time I contemplate embarking on a new project, I might ask myself these three questions:
1. Is this piece telling the story I have in me?
2. Am I going to be able to use the fabrics and the techniques that I most love to work with in making it?
3. Does it make me happy to think about making this?
If I can answer "yes" to all three questions, then I will carry on with the work at hand. If, on the other hand, I'm making it because it's something I "should do", or something that I'm only undertaking because I've signed up to be part of a challenge/ an exhibit/ a group show that is planned by one of the organizations I belong to - well that simply isn't going to cut it. I want to be a little bit more discerning in what I spend my life working on. And at this point in my life, I want to to make what makes me happy by intention, and not just by happy accident (or not). There's no time to lose!

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