Sunday, April 3, 2011

Do I Actually Have Something to Say?

I’m in quite a quandary, and I guess I’m trying to work my way through a period of self-doubt. I’m at a point in my “artistic” endeavors that I want to do something different—something more personally meaningful. After many, many years of making quilt tops and machine and hand quilting quilts, I can pretty much make any quilt I want to--from a pattern. (I have a WHOLE LOT more trouble coming up with something on my own.) It is really difficult (and scary) for me to branch out and make something that it truly original. Maybe I'm afraid of what I will find if I'm "quiet" enough to get in touch with that something deeper within myself. Maybe it is that I’m scared I wont find anything I "need" to say—maybe I just don’t have it in me.

Since I’ve started trying to “do my own thing,” I haven’t gotten much done. I have completed only one project. Maybe I’m overthinking it…maybe I’m putting too much pressure on myself to make something “meaningful.” Everyone says, “Just do it.” I AM TRYING! It just seems like it is taking me forever even to get an idea for a project to work on—much less to actually complete a project.

With that said, I feel like I need to grow—to step outside my comfort zone. To that end, I have signed up to work with a group of serious and focused fiber and textile artists in an Independent Study format class with Jane Dunnewold. I’M TERRIFIED! That is all I’ve thought about since I signed up. I let Jane know how I was feeling before I actually signed up for the class. She was kind enough to reassure me with these words, “I think it is mainly about attitude. If you want to move from playing to more thoughtful work, you can do it and I think within the group.” She has been so encouraging…to the point where I feel like I might actually be able to do this. She sent me exercises from her Personal Imagery class to help me get started because I don’t have a “body of work” to critique (which is part of the class). She said “you could share where you were in that process of seeking out the visual language part of your future body of work. And that would be completely in keeping with the tenor of the Independent Study - I don't expect everyone to be in exactly the same place. I just expect everyone to have a commitment to regular working and moving forward.” Thank you Jane!

I am hopeful this independent study work will put me on the road to finding my artistic voice. I’ll be sharing this experience with you all. I’m hoping I don’t find that I’m so far inside the box that I can’t work my way out!

8 comments:

kathy loomis said...

Good for you, Beth! I agree that you're at a point where you are capable of doing new things. I bet you will make great progress with Jane as your mentor. Good luck.

Laura said...

What an opportunity -- you're probably at the perfect point to take a class like this. Don't be scared, easy for me to say, but you'll do fantastic.

Karoda said...

Art is all process and commitment! Good for you Beth for going through it, or should I say going through the fire :)

K. Crane: Big Fat Art Cloth said...

Great post Beth. I support you! Sometimes when I do art therapy with people who think they can't make art I tell them to pick their favorite color and then try to make the ugliest thing they've ever done. For some reason it gets them off the hook and they end up making something meaningful and awesome. Take the leap. The road will rise to meet you.

Lis said...

Good luck Beth. I do wonder if we fret too much about making progress, being outside our comfort zone etc etc. I did an online course (with Jude Hill) which was just that for me. It was interesting because I was struggling while working through the course with raw edges, impulsive stuff etc but have found some of her techniques creeping into work I'm doing now and not causing me so much pain! Enjoy our craft don't worry about it. I read a lovely story on another blog that I'd like to share with you:
'I love the story about an art professor who was going off to work. His 4 year-old daughter asked where he was going and he said he was going to teach people to draw. The child, in amazement, asked, "you, mean they forgot how?!"'

June Calender said...

Giving up control is the scary part, it feels like you will be totally lost. You won't be. You've chosen a route with a mentor who apparently understands. We cannot learn without making mistakes and having failures. I am a hobby quilter and a playwright by profession -- it is profession of rejection [as is acting], it is a profession of giving up control. Failures and rejections are stepping stones, or more appropriately stair steps, each taking us up toward our goal. You're saying you are ready to climb but daunted. It's a cliche but it's one step at a time. Go, girl!

Karoda said...

Hi Beth, I just read the Complex cloth digest about the study group Jane is doing here...is this what you've signed up for? I just emailed Jane to ask for the details.

Quilt or Dye said...

Oh, what an opportunity you have grabbed by the horns! I am so excited for you!!! I can't wait to see all the fabulous stuff you do.