Monday, December 19, 2011

Getting Ready for the New Year

(Above: Spirit Tokens made in 2004 while coping with our house fire. Wood shutter slats, feathers from the two birds who lived outside the furnished executive apartment where we lived during the reconstruction, beads and fibers. Click on image to enlarge.)

I've set New Year's resolutions almost every year ... artistic goals.

In 2009 my goal was to find gallery representation ... a "good place": One with a knowledgeable, active staff; a website; a strong sales record; a high level of professionalism; a history in its community. It took until September of that year until I was part of Grovewood Gallery. It's been awesome ever since ... and a goal achieved.

In 2010 I decided to seek a professional affiliation ... a "good group": One headed by knowledgeable people; a website; a strong advocacy for its members; a high level of professionalism; recognition in the broader art world; juried or adjudicated. I got lucky. I was accepted as a PAM (Professional Art Member) of SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) before the end of January. It's been awesome ever since ... and a goal achieved.

In 2011 I wanted a solo show in a museum ... a "good location": One headed by a knowledgeable and active board and staff; a website; a consistent record of presenting quality exhibitions; a high level of professionalism; recognition in the broader art world; with publicity contacts and the potential for networking. "Personal Grounds" ran from February through March at Waterworks Visual Arts in Salisbury, North Carolina. It was more than I hoped for and the director of Green Hill Art Center in Greensboro saw my work ... which led to my participation (and sales) in their "Winter Show".

(Above: Studio wall ... first time in years ... no holes but new paint!)

So ... now I'm approaching 2012 and my mind is a blank.

I know I want to work "bigger" ... in scale, in scope, in concept, and with others. How do I put this into words? Into a "New Year's Resolution"? I'm not quite sure but I'm in the midst of change.

What do I mean by that? I'm changing my very environment, clearing my studio space, and "getting ready" for "something NEW". For the first time in years, I patched all the holes in my studio walls (except for The Wall of Keys) and painted. I've left them blank. Part of this is a result of my upcoming solo show at Rocky Mount's Imperial Center. "Last Words" will open on January 5 and close on May 13, 2012. The public reception is on Sunday, January 29 from 2 - 4 PM. Everything is boxed, packaged, inventoried, and ready for the staff person who is coming in a cargo van on December 29th to pick it all up. I'm excited.

(Above: Spirit Tokens suspended above my studio ... since 2004 but no longer! The Wall of Keys is the only thing left ... all those lovely possibilities! The Key to Happiness, The Key to Inspiration, The Key to Success, The Key to Respect, The Key to the World, The Key to Quietness, The Key to CHANGE! Click on image to enlarge.)

Part of my desire for change comes after reading a blog post by Arlee called "Rethinks = Clean Slate". I want something "new" so creating a "clean slate" seemed logical, smart, simply ... without distraction or over stimulation. Already my studio feels new.

I went to the extreme of taking down all the Spirit Tokens that have been suspended above my studio since our house fire in 2004. I don't know what I'll do with them ... likely put them in a box, into storage. They served their purpose well. Now it is time for something new to take their place. What? Who knows!

Already the space seems ripe for change. All I've got to do is "keep working". Whatever is coming will arrive in its due time. Part of the equation, however, has to do with a Chuck Close quotation that I found on-line today when checking out an artist (Sarah Hempel) who lives near my mother:

"The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who'll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you're sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that's almost never the case."
-Chuck Close.

I've also been having some fun ... including going to the Ohio State vs. USC (University of South Carolina) basketball game. It was supposed to be a Gamecock home game but their only "home field" advantage seemed to be the fact that they controlled the loud speaker and continued to interrupt our wild cheering with an obnoxious rooster crow. Their band, cheerleaders, and dancing squad couldn't overpower the Buckeyes. As proof, I made a little video ... showing the Scarlet and Grey four-sided cheer O - H - I - O around the arena. It is HERE.

We had no idea that my cousin Joann and her family would venture down from Virginia for the game. Jamie graduated from USC last spring ... and wore garnet and black. It didn't help! Go Bucks!

By the way, I thank EVERYONE who contributed a title for my last piece. My list now fills and entire page. Many of the potential titles seem to suggest new work ... yes, change is in the air. I haven't yet selected a piece though ... still thinking ... but still stitching on two different art quilts and also working on a 3D mixed media piece.


Roberta said...

I love that Chuck Close quote. It is so true. All about the they say 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration.

Traci Johnson said...

This was just the post I needed to read today, especially the Chuck Close quote. I don't make New Year's resolutions but I do have a theme for 2012 and it's "Begin Again". All of my plans, thoughts and goals got completely lost for 2011 so 2012 will be all about beginning again (and again and again), reminding myself that sometimes life gets in the way. We have to give ourselves permission to take the time we need, for ourselves and our family, and when the difficult times pass, we can “begin again”.

Anonymous said...

It is a superb quote. I've always treated the creative process as any other job and it's good to hear that way of thinking validated. Looking forward to seeing where your goals for 2012 lead you. :o)

Els said...

Ha! Great when you set yourself goals ... ánd achieve them!
It's so funny to hear you say that your mind is blank ( ...yet) and to see the newly painted white wall ... Coincidence ??
Well Susan, I'm sure you will find the words to announce your new goals with !
Until then : Happy Holidays with fun, warm feelings and lots of friends!

lynda Howells said...

I missed this post because my laptop was in the "hospital". I just LOVE your spirit tokens...if you ever decide to sell them..please let me know l would love one. The history and the beautiful blue feather just makes me drool!!!and l would love a piece of your amazing Art!xx Happy Christrmas and a Very happy New Yearxxxxxlynda


In college, one night when we were in a rut and blank with ideas for new creations we came up with the idea to make something as someone else (yes, this idea came to us after a late night Sheetz run and too much coffee) and it was an interesting thing. Basically we pretended we were various TV characters and then we had to make something as if we were that character....some how I ended up being The Fonz...but it was an interesting practice. In the end, we learned more about each other and our individual approaches to The Fonz I just threw it together and "Ayyyyy" it was done (something I normally would never do, you know, I always pre-prepped and planned), and my friend that was some guy from Fame, danced and painted..leaping toward the canvas, and he wasn't much of a mover and certainly no dancer! I guess we learned to let go of ourselves. I doubt your mind is blank (I know it's full of amazing creations yet to be expressed and created) and I'm so excited for what your future holds! You influenced my life when you told me once when I was lost and confused about what I wanted to be "I know I have something to say, I just haven't found my language yet." This was back before you moved to South Carolina! Well, you found your language! Clearly you are fluent in it, but perhaps there are new words to be made. I'm glad you put up photos of your cleared studio space ...otherwise I wouldn't have been able to imagine it!'s sooooooo PLAIN and it looks so BIG! Thanks for a great Christmas....all the best in the New Year!