Thursday, March 5, 2015

28 Days

Setting goals and achieving them are two very different animals. Late last fall I did some planning with my mentor's guidance. Ultimately I came up with a list of major pieces I want to create this year and a calendar set for the exhibitions in which I wish to enter them. Easy enough task. I have more ideas in my head than time to complete them!

Time is a valuable commodity to an artist. I have learned a lot about what time means to my practice of art. I have never been one to seek the easy or quick way to do something. My art is evidence of the fact that my techniques take a great deal of time. The more time I put into a piece, the more technically sound it becomes. Conversely when the clock seems to be ticking way too fast, I feel the pressure and it often shows in the stitching.

My last piece was drawn, fused and stitched in 28 days. I conceived of the idea years ago but only recently did I see an exhibition come up that was a possible fit; SAQA's Balancing Act. 

My paternal grandmother was a strong woman and a very important role model for all of her granddaughters. She wasn't formally educated, growing up in rural Italy, the daughter of peasant farmers. After immigrating and working a lifetime in this country, my grandfather's social security check was not quite enough to make ends meet. So Angelina found a way to grow the cookie jar. She peddled her chicken's eggs door to door in the neighborhood along with the vegetables from their garden. Now called cottage industry, my grandmother worked hard for that extra cash.

While I had the concept firmly in my head, bringing my beloved grandmother to life was daunting. I struggled with color and fabric choices, changed the drawing, and I even altered my initial concept of having chickens hanging by beads below the bottom edge.

I spent quite a bit of time creating the chickens. I used my fabric markers to flesh out all the feathers.

I even hand stitched the ribs on the feathers, found a wonderful straw fabric and that got the marker treatment too. But as time progressed I found that I wasn't keen on how they looked with the body of the quilt. And time was running very short so I couldn't start over. Sometimes an artist goes down an unproductive path accidentally and WHAM, days are gone!

Geometric or architectural perspective is definitely not my thing so getting the coop put in took some more of my time. Before I knew it I had only one more day to finish and I ended up working all night to finish the border and binding, hand sewing it between sleepy nods of my head. 

I always take that one final critical look at each piece as I finish them and see them hanging ready to be photographed. I always see something I didn't see before and I almost always wish I had more time to alter one or two things.

With this piece, although it is emotionally dear to my heart, there are more than a few things I wish I had more time to correct. A few of those nagging self criticisms can't be altered without starting again. Maybe I am being overly critical because we all do that don't we. I'll know soon enough if it is good enough to be accepted into the SAQA exhibit. I have had a string of rejections, and without jinxing myself, if this one is also rejected, I will know why this time.

32" x 45"
Completed 2015