Monday, June 01, 2020

Keeping the Flow Going

(Above:  The Lay of the Land, photographed at an angle in order to better show the textural surface.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

Businesses and non-profits are starting to open up all over the country, but COVID-19 is still wrecking havoc with my calendar. Last week my art residency at Guadalupe Mountains National Park got postponed for a second time. I'm now "penciled in" for July 1 - 31th.  Today, a workshop and lecture I was scheduled to conduct in September was cancelled.  The quilt guild is worried that the pandemic will return.  It doesn't matter that there are out-of-town, non-members willing to come. They are scared. Like many artists, I find these problems more than a little depressing. 

(Above:  The Lay of the Land, 12 1/2" x 15 1/2" mounted on mat board with 16" x 20" dimensions.  Assorted handmade paper with free-motion stitching, hand embroidery and beading.  $100.)

Unlike some artists, my solution to feelings of isolation and sadness is to MAKE MORE ART.  Sheltering in place has only provided me with more studio time. So this year, I went from "productive" to "super productive".  This led to a request for an on-line article called Do You Ever Sleep?  (CLICK HERE to read this article written for the Georgia/South Carolina Regional SAQA/Studio Art Quilt Associates' newsletter.)

(Above:  Remains of Nike's Advice.  9 3/4" x 5" unframed; 14 3/4" x 10" framed.  Scraps cut away when trimming recently finished artwork ... zigzag stitched together and framed.  $100.)

One of the paragraphs/tips in that article reads:

Have one or more other, smaller projects going while working on something major. We all benefit from the "high" of starting something new and the "high" of finishing something. Major projects can get bogged down because we haven't felt the exhilaration that keeps us moving forward. I generally have a small project on which to work just before bedtime or for the first ten to fifteen minutes when returning to my studio. It jump-starts the session. Starting and/or finishing something small gives me a “high” of accomplishment that keeps the major work going.

(Above:  Looking at Hudson Yards, digital image printed on fabric with free-motion and hand stitching.  11" x 19".  $175.)

So this blog post is to share three pieces that fall under the category of "small things to keep the flow going"!  The first piece was simply a creation made from some handmade paper that came into my stash.  Three pieces were machine stitched into one ground for a few simple embroidery stitches and beads.  The center circle was just sitting on my table.  Once upon a time, I demonstrated how I start one of my fiber vessels.  It was just a "sample" but it looked good on the paper.

(Above:  Detail of Looking at Hudson Yards.)

The second piece was the result of zigzag stitching strips of painted and stitched canvas that were trimmed away from my recently finished works under epoxy.  I put the strips together to fit into a mat and frame I already had on hand.  They looked good in that presentation. 

(Above:  Looking at Hudson Yards, reverse.)

Even this third piece, Looking at Hudson Yards, wasn't something "major".  It has been my hand-stitching for evenings in front of the television.  None of these pieces really required a great deal of thought.  They were fun, easy, and came together quickly.  They provided the momentary "high" of starting something and finishing something.  These are the works that keep my mind and hands engaged.  They keep the flow going. 


Jo said...

I've decided that my small projects are part of a sketchbook where I try out ideas, scratch an itch, or use up bits left over from other projects that I can't bear to discard. I usually finish them to the point of dealing with the edges. Some I decide not to quilt because I am over them and have more engrossing projects to hand. One benefit of small projects is they don't take up much storage space.

Susan Lenz said...

Jo ... Storage space is a real issue for me ... and you are totally right, the small pieces take up a lot less room! Thanks for reading!

Catherine - Mixed Media Artist said...

Got a bit behind with looking at your posts...and I've a couple artist friends like you "who are never sleeping". I'm not relying my output to get a-float, either. But I've been making quite a few small things, experimenting with different mediums and so forth.

Yesterday I had the freedom to go to actual Art Store in City which has reopened...and I was keen to try out Yupo paper. Pretty pleased with first attempt with some old "we've lost our colour labels" alcohol inks....