Saturday, August 05, 2017

Going to England, France, and The Festival of Quilts

 (Above: Saint Anastasia, crated and ready to go to England!)

I haven't dragged out a suitcase, packed a toothbrush, or looked for my passport.  Steve hasn't gathered our rail passes or the AirBnB reservation or the English Chanel Ferry tickets or the tickets to next week's BBC Proms concert.  (In fact, he's outside cutting the back lawn.)  Yet, we aren't worried.  We're flying to England tomorrow.  We're sailing for France the day after that.  There's still time to pack!

(Above:  Saint Anastasia CLICK HERE to read about this special portrait.)

How can we feel so lackadaisical?  Well, Saint Anastasia is in her crate ready to go.  The rest seems comparatively unimportant! LOL!  We are both very excited to be hand delivering this triptych for Through Our Hands' exhibition at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, England.  Thousands will see this piece.  A plinth (that's a "pedestal" in American art lingo) has been built just for it!  We will see the show on the last day, Sunday, August 13th after sailing to France to see the Bayeux Tapestries.  We will also visit the beaches of Normandy and the La Cambe German War Cemetery where a distant cousin is buried.

So ... why get worried about packing?  As long as we throw a good pair of walking shoes, a map, and our passports into a second bag ... well ... we're good to go!  We both love traveling and this trip will certainly be an adventure.

(Above: Window CXXXVII.  Unframed:  13" x 11".  Framed:  17" x 15".  Polyester stretch velvets on recycled black industrial felt with free-motion embroidery and melting techniques.)

In the meantime, I finished two more small "Window" series pieces.  I need more work of course ... but that will happen after we return from our trip ... and before our trip to Utah later in the month.  Unbelievably, we are headed to see Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park, and the north rim of the Grand Canyon.

(Above: Window CXXXVIII.  Unframed:  13" x 11".  Framed:  17" x 15".  Polyester stretch velvets on recycled black industrial felt with free-motion embroidery and melting techniques.)

I'm not in the least nervous about the minor details of loading a suitcase for a trans-Atlantic trip but I am more than a little apprehensive of spending so much time out of my studio.  I really NEED more artwork for my upcoming commitments.  When I return, I will be busy, busy, busy ... stitching, melting, mounting, framing, and blogging about the new creations that are already churning in my head!


Julie said...

Have a fantastic trip Susan. I hope your travel plans are going well today. I will miss seeing you at FOQ this time, if I go at all it will be on the Saturday. Have a great visit to France.

Kathleen Pitts said...

You will love Utah.

Eva Angel said...

Hi Susan, did you see the pieces in the fine art quiltmaster category?
There was one by Moniak Hulsebos which I thought was your work??? The technique and style was almost identical.

Susan Lenz said...

Eva, I don't know if you will receive this comment or not. I did try to send a message but there is no information on your Google+ profile and I can't seem to find any other contact listing. Yet, I did want to tell you that both my husband Steve and I saw Moniak Hulsebos' work and knew immediately that she followed by free, on-line tutorial. The piece isn't "almost identical", it is exactly the same in both technique and style. Several other people also assumed the work was mine. Yet, there is no copyright for techniques and there's nothing really new about the stylistic arrangement of rectangular elements. When I saw the piece, my gut reaction was "Wow! Someone used my tutorial and got into this 'master art quilt' exhibit!" Half of me was excited for this person (who doesn't seem to have a website, Facebook page or other Internet profile or listing). Half of me was a bit shocked that whoever this person is didn't change much of anything except to mount the work on a store-bought primed canvas. If I were to copy someone else's technique, I certainly would make a conscientious effort to change the style. I'd hate for other people to say, "Look, she made a 'Susan Lenz' piece". But, that's exactly what that work is. It's a "Susan Lenz" piece made by somebody else named Moniak.

All great artists are copied. The really fantastic artists are copied so much that their work changed the course of art history. To be perfectly honest, I never thought anyone would actually copy me, at least not for too long and especially not for entering competitions or for gallery representation. I wrote my free, on-line tutorial back in 2007 because so many bloggers wanted to know how I made my work. I thought it kind to share the tutorial. Over the years, that blog entry made answering emails easy. When asked about my technique, I simply wrote a single sentence with a hyperlink to the tutorial. Along the way, many people followed my instructions and made a few pieces. This year, however, I've noticed a couple of fiber artists selling their creations and now this one is in an international show. I'm sort of proud that my work is appreciated and valued on such a high level. This technique has certainly sent me down a wonderful path and an amazing adventure ... but it might be time for me to remove that blog post, create a PDF and sell it on-line. Sure, people could still share the PDF, copy my work, enter shows with the work using my techniques and even style ... but at least I might make a little money from the tutorial. I'm still thinking about it.

In the meantime, if you know who Moniak Hulsebos is, let me know. I'd send my congratulations. Why? Well, she obviously thought so highly of my work that she entered this piece. Plus, there is no harm in applauding her efforts, especially since my work is now actually better. The work she did actually looks like mine from prior to 2007. Even though the technique and style are recognizably mine, I've evolved and will continue to evolve. In fact, I've often said that if anyone really did try to usurp my technique and style I'd simply have to dream up someone even more impressive, better, and ORIGINAL.

As a professional artist, ORIGINALITY is key. The work Moniak did lacks this key ingredient but she might work her way into a style her own. I'd applaud that too. Like Moniak, I started somewhere with ideas borrowed from many others. After all, nothing in this world is so original as to discount the influences of others. I was influence by Jan Beaney, Jean Littlejohn, and Valerie Campbell-Harding but also by Freienreich Hundretwasser and Gustave Klimt. Mix all this other, that's my work!