01 November 2010

starting with intention

Sometimes I feel like my artwork is like the jewelry they show on the home shopping networks. It looks all grand and big on the screen so you order it and dream about how impressive you'll look strutting around with it. Then you get it and its this little thing that fits neatly in the palm of your hand and all you can think is "What the hell?"

This has happened several times when people first see my website and then see my work in person. (Never mind that the dimensions are listed, I'm guilty too of not really paying attention to those things either.)

on the line 2
7" square art quilt on 8" square canvas

I make no apologies for working small. Its been a matter of much debate to many fiber artists and I'll be honest, it irritates the hell out of me. Ever see the Mona Lisa in person? (And no, I'm not comparing myself to Da Vinci.) Its only 30" x 21" yet when I saw it at the Louvre when I was in Paris, the crowd was twenty people deep. I couldn't get near it. And I don't recall anyone saying, "Boy, that Da Vinci was one lazy painter. If he was a real artist, he would have made that bigger."

Small work. Big impact. Get the point?

I've made specific efforts to keep my work from looking like pot holders. I don't bind it. That screams quilt to me and since, for me, stitching is not a structural part of my work (its just there for looks), I abandoned the idea of binding a long time ago. I also like the little bit of fraying that happens around the edges. The rawness speaks to the nature of fabric and I dig that.

Lately I've been placing my pieces on canvas. I love how it looks (and will be posting a tutorial on how I do it, I've had a few questions about it) and I think it elevates the work. You can use the canvas as an additional design element and it makes hanging the work so much easier. Not to mention it gives it a solid presence on the wall since it mimics a frame.

Now, with all the being said, I'm going to completely contradict myself. Part of me has always longed to make a grand work that could cover the wall of my bedroom.

Something just for me, no show deadline, massive in size. Just to see if I can, just to see how it would effect my work flow, just to see if my style could stand up to being blown up so large.

Some of the factors that have kept me from taking the plunge are:

1. I hand stitch my work. I don't plan to alter that. Not only because my sewing machine can be the spawn of the devil, but because machine stitching doesn't feel like my style. The crooked uneven hand stitches are me.

2. Work space. I'm beginning to think that if I hang the work on my design board, I can stitch on it that way. (Can you feel the crazy already creeping in?)

3. I work abstract. I always have a focal point in my work but larger works demand more. This could be tricky.

Still, I'm curious to see if it could work. I look at Kathy Nida and Linda Colsh (two of my favorite artists) and the grandness of what they produce is so inspiring.

I've got a hunk of black felt that measures 36" high x 48" wide tacked up on my design board right now. (I don't use traditional batting, I use felt for my middle layer.) It seems massive. The largest thing I've ever made to date is 20" x 24".

I don't have a subject yet, I don't have any idea what fabric I want to use. I think I want to print some new stuff for this one. Maybe do some deconstructed printing.

But I have intention and here's hoping that's enough to figure out the rest.

Game on Behemoth, you and I are going to duke it out.


Yarnhog said...

I'll be watching eagerly. :)

Gerrie said...

I have intentionally started working larger and find it quite rewarding.

elle said...

This is interesting. One day someone commented on my kids' handwriting. They all write very small. I never made them write larger. It was them. But challenges are good. Think large! ;)

Approachable Art said...

Game on, girlie!

bj parady said...

You can do it! But I do like the intimacy of small works...but one of the reasons I make them small is the speed of gratification--much quicker with small pieces. And I've hand stitched pieces the size you're talking about in less than a month--just do a little every day.