27 June 2011

should it have a purpose?

Instead of me waxing poetic today about my own thoughts, I'd love to know your's:

Should art have a purpose?

If you make it, should you intend to exhibit it, sell it, give it away - is it enough to just make it?

If no one ever saw what you make, would you continue to create?

26 June 2011

where i stand sunday

I've found a new way to see things. The mundane has become fascinating, something as simple as a broken paint line on black asphalt holds a new kind of interest as the camera lens brings out textures and tones in a way that my eye could never assemble.

Where I Stand is an ongoing photo essay examining the different places I spend my life standing. Too often we take for granted the everyday places we spend our lives walking on. The ground we tread on has its own stories to tell.

22 June 2011

leaving the umbrella behind...

I did a stupid thing.

I was acting like I was solely in charge of my art making. I tried to push my creative self to the side, let my brain take over and rule the roost.

I'm not sure at what point I made this error. This realization has come after a long pause (which is why the blog has been kind of sleepy lately). I've been taking the time to step back and examine the relationship I have with my creative self. I think I have a pretty good one but she's been unhappy and I needed to figure out why.

I couldn't figure out what the problem was, really. All I knew was that I had to stop. Stop chasing things for a moment and examine where the holes were, how did they get there, why are they here, do I mind having them punctuating the things I thought were solid...

Reflection is an odd beast. Its humbling and empowering all at the same time. One thing I have managed to pull forward is that I'm not making enough art. Art that's just for the sake of art.

I need to give it the due respect it deserves, offer it a more prominent place in my schedule.

I feel as if I've lost a little bit of the spiritual connection with my creative self. I've not been giving her a fair shake lately. And this understanding makes me feel cruel somehow.

Because its my responsibility to make sure that part of myself is protected, given the freedom to roam as much as it is able. I don't want to put my art making on a schedule, that seems like that would defeat the purpose. But I do have to manage it somehow, make it fit into the limited free time I have so that it can continue to grow.

Today when I was driving home from work there were thunderstorms rolling across the state. I love them, they are so full of passion and change and everything feels new when its done. That's kind of what making art is like, isn't it? You start out with a simple thought and slowly roll your way into the storm and if you're lucky, it pours.

I've finally realized that the real trick is learning how to stand in the storm without an umbrella and really let yourself go.

19 June 2011

where i stand sunday

I am forever fascinated by shadow, the careless way it paints itself across any surface - inking dumbed down versions of reality. I study it constantly, watching as it shifts without regard for keeping track. Its a flexibility I envy and crave, an ability I wish was a basic human component.

Where I Stand is an ongoing photo essay examining the different places I spend my life standing. Too often we take for granted the everyday places we spend our lives walking on. The ground we tread on has its own stories to tell.

18 June 2011

remnants fabric collage class - join me!

remnants collage 1
Lynn Krawczyk

One of the things that's been much on my mind this year is the topic of classes. I get asked frequently if I teach and my answer is always yes - and no.

I do teach. I'm happy to teach but my schedule is a beast and I can't always fit everything in that I'd like to. But I've been wanting to figure out a way to make it work so I'm taking steps toward that.

I'm really really really (I mean, really) excited to announce that I'll be teaching a new class called Remnant Fabric Collage. What in the world is that? So glad you asked - here's the info:

When: Sunday October 16, 2011

Where: The Hyatt Place (located in Livonia, MI - follow the link for complete directions)

Time: 9am-6pm

Class fee: $85 (includes a box lunch and some class supplies)

Class description: Do you have bits of fabric you can't bare to throw away? How about an unfinished quilt project or one you just aren't feeling the love for anymore?

Use up your leftovers and give your unfinished and old projects new life by creating a fabric collage of them. In this class you will create a collage on a 10" canvas. You'll learn to create your background, take the plunge and cut up your unfinished or old quilt and add in embellishments. You can also use paper with this technique!

We'll explore the addition of surface design through screen printing and various ways that hand stitching can add texture and interest to your work.

This is a fabulous way to create freely and put all those remnants from your sewing room to work!

remnants collage 2
Lynn Krawczyk

There's a couple of reasons its being held on a Sunday. (1) Because my full time day job keeps me pretty well occupied during the week and (2) I don't think there are enough art classes available to working folks on the weekends.

So there you have it. I know its a bit ahead into the future but it'll be here in no time at all. If you are interested in attending, you can contact me at FibraArtysta@earthlink.net

Hope to see you there!

12 June 2011

where i stand sunday

We've had days of summer snow, dandelion fluffs floating in slow motion across the yards and sticking to everything in a lazy sweep. The quiet weather days offer a chance to explore the doings of the plants and animals I share a space with. A gift of apples for the family of deer that live near us provide a punch of color amongst the plethora of green.

Where I Stand is an ongoing photo essay examining the different places I spend my life standing. Too often we take for granted the everyday places we spend our lives walking on. The ground we tread on has its own stories to tell.

11 June 2011

on the subject of small artwork

I read a lot of blogs. Which means I come across a lot of different opinions about what art is and what it isn't and what it should be.

And this is all fine.

But this past week I've noticed that there were several posts that were fairly opinionated about small format artwork. In fact, a couple were pretty scathing. I really believe that everyone is entitled to your opinion but it stuck in my head for several days and I just can't seem to dislodge the idea from my head that some people think a piece of artwork can't be art if its small.

I work small. Always have. I most likely always will. While I sometimes make larger pieces, its not the general rule for me.

So according to some people in the fiber art world, that means I'm not a serious artist.

Hmmm...I must have missed the memo.

"Collage 1"
Lynn Krawczyk
12" fiber collage on canvas

If you don't like my work because you think the colors are tacky or the composition is weak or in your opinion its just plain ugly - I can live with that. But because its small? Really? That one I'd debate emphatically...

"On the Wire 2"
Lynn Krawczyk
10" art quilt on 12" canvas
available through SAQA auction

There was a time when this debate would majorly upset me. But not anymore. I've grown into my art and I'm comfortable where I am with it. The fact that I reach for a 12" canvas or an 8" canvas or constrain my compositions to smaller spaces doesn't mean I get to slack on design or colors or any other aspect of the work.

"Sunset Daydreams"
Lynn Krawczyk
6" art quilt on 8" canvas
published in Quilting Arts magazine Feb/March 2011 issue

Making art is an intensely personal experience. That means what works for you might not work for someone else. And my practices might make you want to run screaming in the other direction.

But isn't that what makes moving in the art world exciting? Why would we all want to be the same?

"Ginkgo Imprint"
Lynn Krawczyk
6" art quilt on 8" canvas

I can't say that I will always work small. I'm not even entirely sure of all the reasons why I choose it. Lack of larger spaces, lack of time...could be part of it. But I watch other artists with limited space and time make mammoth pieces so its certainly doable if you really want to work larger.

I guess that means I don't. I like a compact space, I like they hyper focus attention to detail it demands of me. Its like a strange enticing romance that I'm not willing to give up yet.

"Dream Time Graffiti 3"
Lynn Krawczyk
deconstructed screen printing fabric collage on 8" canvas

In the end, you have to do what you love. And my main purpose for this post really is to dissuade anyone from feeling like they need to alter their art making practices just because someone else has attacked them. I've seen it happens many times...a new artist reads a strong opinion from a well known artist and suddenly they think they are wrong for doing the things they way they want to.

Not so.

Make the art that pleases you. Be it small, godzilla size or anywhere in between.

08 June 2011

the season of pause

Summer has officially arrived. And that means I'm slowing down. My process nearly demands this of me, its something that I've noticed has grown into a habit over the past few years.

Summer is for planning and experimenting. Summer is for daydreaming and a meandering pace in the studio.

I think its because so many years of school has ingrained in me that this is truly the end of the year. There should be a break here but my adult self no longer gets to indulge in that. So I do a sort of substitution, I let my creative self off the leash to stomp around for a few weeks.

Today when I got home from work (to the tune of 100 degree weather for the second day in a row), I was greeted with these:

I'm not a gardener. My idea of gardening is that the plant has to meet two criteria: (1) I only have to plant it once and (2) I don't want to have to dump three gallons of water on it every day during the hot parts of the season. Surprisingly, my peonies are happy with this arrangement and are thriving.

Today my list making began with I my "Anything Goes List." And that's just what its all about - I make a list of everything I've ever wanted to do art wise - no matter how big or small. It gets pretty out of control pretty quickly but its really freeing. Its playing, its the ultimate daydream, its a nothing-is-too-outrageous kind of deal.

Its something I'll spend probably about a week on, adding to it here and there. And then over the rest of the summer I'll poke at it and see what's in there that I think I want to tackle. That list will end up forming the frame for my autumn and winter project lists.

In between all that I'll putter and play. I've felt this lethargic time coming for a couple of weeks now. I've wanted my studio to be different, I've wanted to let my mind wander and not focus. Its something I need to do and will. The only time I break this ritual is if something irresistible comes along.

So summer is here, my season of pause. Its a welcome old friend.

07 June 2011

i don't do it alone

I get a lot of questions about how I go about setting up my etsy shop or how to do publicity or even about blogging.

The biggest secret to it all is that I don't do it alone. No one does. Everyone goes somewhere for their sources or information and ideas and inspiration so today I thought I'd share my favorite spots with you. :)

Now let me caution you, its super easy to get overwhelmed with the amount of information out there. When I first began studying different marketing techniques and such, I subscribed to every list I could. And then I whittled it down to the ones that are the most relevant to what I do and even those don't always apply.

The important thing to remember is that these are idea sparkers, not the end all be all absolute truth of the only way to do things. So keeping that in mind, click away and have fun! :)

05 June 2011

where i stand sunday

Today I'm sitting. An early morning rising has cleared my schedule of to-do's and the day feels like the summer vacation that I miss from school days, the times when the clock didn't matter and passing the hours in a slow lazy pace was a requirement.

Where I Stand is an ongoing photo essay examining the different places I spend my life standing. Too often we take for granted the everyday places we spend our lives walking on. The ground we tread on has its own stories to tell.

03 June 2011

would it be different if i....?

I've had an idea knocking around in my brain for a while, one of those things that I thought maybe would work out but would have to wait for a free moment because it wasn't really necessary when deadlines were looming.

I was handed a free day off work today (they are upgrading software, I work on the computer so no computer = no work). We've actually had sun lately so the time to experiment finally arrived.

Add to the unexpected time off that I have soda ash soaked fabric from a previous dyeing session and leftover dye from earlier this year and really - how much more of a hint do I need?

The majority of my artwork now is comprised of backgrounds made from torn strips of fabric. I got to wondering if I tore fabric into strips prior to dyeing if I would get a different look from it instead of tearing them from a single yard.

So I set about my work in early afternoon right before the hottest part of the day. I only tore one yard of fabric since I didn't really have all that much dye to work with.

I dumped dye:

I left them to batch while I went about my day (blacktop driveways during summer make excellent dye cookers):

I should mention that since I frequently make mud colored fabric when I dye, the above photo did not panic me in the least. It looks like everything will be one solid color of dark but that rarely seems to happen. The variations show up after the wash out, trust me (check out the next photo if you still don't believe me).

I rinsed and rinsed and rinsed:

I'm coming clean with the fact that I'm super lazy when it comes to properly washing out my hand dyed fabric. I basically just rinse it to within an inch of its life and call it good. Is this the correct way to do it? Nope, not at all and I don't endorse it if you ever plan to wash anything you make with your hand dyes. All of my hand dyes will bleed horribly if I ever washed them again, they frequently let go of dye when I do other surface design treatments that require a washout. I'm okay with this, doesn't bother me in the least. (Its also the reason I don't sell my fabric. I've been asked frequently about that and that's honestly the real reason why.)

Why am I mentioning this? Because - putting torn strips through a washing machine for a proper wash out would be quite a bear. I'm sure I'd have to use a lingerie bag and say a little prayer so if you decide to do this, just keep it in mind.

I accidentally dyed the dog a little bit:

Since he's white, it really shows too. Poor westie.

I decided to take advantage of our warm windy day and very loosely tied the strips to a drying wrack so they could flop around at will:

And here are the results:

I'm. in. love.

They have a totally different vibe to them then I'd get from tearing from a yard piece. Each one seems to have more of a pulse. I think I'll be doing much more dyeing this way from now on.

This could be a productive summer in the dyeing department...