Tuesday, 22 February 2005

The Bauhaus Manifesto

I am still thinking about the art of craft....

I found The Bauhaus Manifesto. Hmmm...

Saturday, 19 February 2005

Red Hot Jazz

I have visited the Red Hot Jazz site many times and find it to be a great site in general, (but then you know I love Red Hot Jazz-so how could it not be?) though the music links had never worked for me.

Since I switched to Firefox, they have begun to work (go figure) and I can listen to Fletcher Henderson to my heart's content!! (which requires a lot of Fletcher Henderson.)

I have always felt that if someone were to take total abandoned joy, distill it down to it's purest form, and put it on a record, it would sound like the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra.

Listen to Shanghai Shuffle or Wrappin it Up-any of them! Yeeeeaaaaayyy! This stuff is basically audio-serotonin. You can't help but love it. If you need to do a happy dance, Hotter than Ell/Yeah Man! should be your sound track.

Which is just what I need right now. Don't we all?

Friday, 18 February 2005

The Inner Critic

As of late, I have seen and participated in many discussions where 'the inner critic' came up. This is the little voice that many artists (and non-artists) hear in the back of the mind, picking out of the flaws in their work. The niggling doubt that insists people only compliment your work because they are 'being nice'. You know.

The inner critic can be a genuine problem for many artists, but I do not like the now familiar meme that I have heard in these discussions, which goes something like this: one must banish him, shut him off or ignore him in order to really create great art.

What?!! While I understand the good intention behind it, that is about the last suggestion I would make. It is perhaps the way to create falsely self-satisfying work, but hardly the way to create work that anyone but your mom would like, much less great work. It is not good advice for any artist.

The inner critic is a fabulous tool if you use him right. Nothing can make you push yourself, challenge your cherished notions, get you out of a rut, or make you work until you do achieve your vision like he does. He always reminds you that as well as you may be doing, you could do better. This is not self defeatist, this is aspiring to excellence. The inner critic believes in you like no one else. And if you enter into the creative process with him, he becomes like iron on iron in conjunction with your determination-he hones you into the artist that he insists you can be.

Some may say, 'well I don't want to be well-known, so it doesn't matter what my art looks like. It is just for me.' You are selling yourself short with that argument. You are saying, 'others deserve powerful and insightful art pieces, but I do not'. Why the heck not? Excellence is not about other people or how they perceive you, as many seem to think. It is about what you are saying about yourself, how you perceive yourself. Is putting out a crappy piece of work good enough for you? It isn't for me, and I can thank the inner critic for pointing that out.

Also, when you make a piece that you are satisfied with, that the inner critic looks at and says 'it's pretty good' (and yes he does do this sometimes!), the feeling of accomplishment is amazing-no outside affirmation can give you that-and in ignoring the inner critic, you never get the feeling of his approval either. It is safer, but I would argue on the whole, much less satisfying.

Having said all that, I do know people whose inner critics have become monsters-nothing they do is right-even beautiful works are judged as garbage. I do not know what the cure for a monster-critic is, and it is very unfortunate situation given all the good the inner critic can do for an artist. As I said earlier, he is a tool, not an end, and certainly should not be the dominant component of your art-making. You might have to 'put him in his place' occasionally.
The thing is-the inner critic should never say-'you'll never be any good'. He should be telling you 'I know you can do better than that'. Then you know you are enjoying a healthy relationship with your inner critic.

This whole 'aspiring to excellence' idea is of course very dear to my heart. I don't want to just say 'ah-good enough'. What's the point of that? This is perhaps the craftsperson's aesthetic that I love so much- it has also earned me a reputation as a bit of an 'art nazi'. But I suppose that is not that far off. Yes my work is judged ruthlessly by me. Then other people's objections come as no surprise.
So says the iron-clad armadillo.

Thursday, 10 February 2005

Hmm the story of my life right now...


Monday, 7 February 2005

On a UFO mission...

No I am not hunting down creepy little alien thingers.
I am pulling out several Un-Finished Objects and getting them a little closer to completion. I don't have the means (White fabric!!) to get into any of my newer projects going, so I'm looking to make my 'to-do' pile a little smaller.

I pulled out bluesman today and worked on the left hand. That's my oldest UFO (soon to be four years old) and I will get it done someday. Yes it is an indeterminant point in the future, but it will come. I am going to have to paint it a little as the dyes are migating in the darkest (#6) fabric and it is now the same value as the #4 fabric-and purple. But I am not giving up! It will be done, oh yes, it will be done.

As previously mentioned I have actually gotten the fishy quilt to the binding stage.

I finally got over my annoyance with my glorious DWR and have it in the hoop. I quilt on it when mom and I watch Coronation Street (damn her for getting me addicted to that show! She has watched it for years and years.) This quilt is seriously the reason I started quilting-I wanted a traditional Double Wedding Ring, in the scrappy 30's colourways. I always wanted one. So when we finally got a working sewing machine I started with the quilts. It only took me 5 years to start on it-oh and another year and a half of languishing in the UFO pile. I might have it done by spring.

And there are others. I am such a 'starter'. I know many artists are. You become enamoured of an idea and it is the center of the artistic universe-until the next epiphany comes along. Hopefully the first inspired work is done by that time. If not, it may just find a home in the purgatory of the UFO pile-until such time as you are again inspired-this time to go on a UFO mission.

Friday, 4 February 2005

Bead Buy!!!

A few people on N'ness got together and bought a whole whack of beads from Fire Mountain Gems. My share arrived in the mail today. All I can say is I'm in bead heaven! I am enjoying myself just looking at these babies. Am I the only one gets art-supply induced euphoria?
Sometimes just admiring and handleing my fabrics, yarns, ribbons, fibers and beads is enough. I therefore also love to shop for supplies, even when I'm too broke to buy anything.

With this buy, I finally got to get my hands on those eye beads that I have been coveting for Spirits of the Living Creatures. They are quite small and irregular, not as turquoise as they appeared in the pictures (or in the one below as a matter of fact) , but absolutely perfect for that piece. Now I guess I'll have to actually make it. ahem.
I really need to buy a large piece of dyeing fabric. I only have 5 or 6 pieces that depend on it. This is the problem when you have too many good ideas, you get about as much done as when you don't have any. Well and self induced poverty due to overspending on beads doesn't help either.

Here are the beads!

Eye beads-beaauuttifuull.

I am prioritizing in artistic endevours, believe it or not-I'm concentrating on getting the materials together for the Haus Eines Kunstfreundes quilt. Though this of course is strictly craft and the term 'art' would be an insult to it. I am supposed to be finished it in two months...good thing it's small. Eeeps!