Monday, February 18, 2013

Where There's a Void, Fill It

Well, that only took about 6 years. When I moved to Sandpoint that long ago, I was looking forward to joining a Fiber Art group, or any art group for that matter, that would provide peer review, networking, information exchange and a social outlet with like minded people. As artsy as Sandpoint is, with art exhibits and galleries galour, it never occurred to me that there would not be such a group; the only thing I could readily find was a traditional quilt guild and a FiberArt Guild focusing primarily on spinning, weaving and knitting - not really what I was looking for. The only time artists seemed to rub shoulders was at the POAC exhibit opening receptions. Even after I joined POAC's Visual Arts Committee, I failed to find the sort of monthly group I had in mind, even though it seemed to be something a lot of the area artists longed to be a part of.

Meg & her Lightning Creek Exhibit entry
Then Meg found me a couple of years ago, new to the area and looking for the same sort of thing. The timing wasn't right for us to start such a group then, but we never forgot that this was something we wanted to do. We collected names & bided our time, waiting for our lives to settle and make room for such a commitment. Finally, that time has arrived!

Donna shares her travel journal sketchbook
We sent out e-mails inviting a select group of area artists to our first meeting last month. There are only 4 of us at the moment, but it is not numbers that count with a group like this. It is being of like mind in what we want from the group, and a commitment to attend regularly, share, push, and build trust that encourages honesty. Each of us is at a different point in our creative journeys and that makes for exciting and interesting interaction. Three of us live minutes from each other, but our fourth member, Donna, drives fifty-some miles to join us (her artsy town appears to be lacking in such a group as well).

Because we chose the third Monday of the month for our meeting date, it has twice fallen on a holiday observed by the public schools. Meg's daughter, Adelle, has been able to lurk around the edges of our meetings, and she has been a delight. Today, while we were flapping our jaws in "serious" artistic discussion, Adelle was actually getting some art made. Not interested in the working with fiber herself, she draws instead and has started posting some of her work at her own art blog:

I meant to take pictures last month, but as so often happens with a group like this, we got so engrossed in showing our work, asking questions and offering suggestions that I totally forgot. This month I had extra incentive to remember as one of our members, Robin, has flown south for a few months and we promised to keep her in the loop as much as we could. I'm already reaping the benefits of such a group - had I not had the meeting today, I don't think I would have pushed myself to get my latest bubble creation to this point. As you can see, the bubbles are showing up much better. My question for the group was about color choice for the arms. In the studio, I thought the fabric used in the narrow border too dark for them, but the group gave me good reasons for going with it, reasons that made sense.

Sketchbooks was a common theme this month. I shared the one I'm doing my Zentangles in, mostly because I wanted to share the tangle that I'll be using as the background quilting for the bubble piece. Donna shared sketchbooks using pen and watercolors and subjects not necessarily related to her quilting (although we all should know by now that drawing and sketching are exercises that make our design work better). Her current in process piece is large and not at a point where it can come off the design wall, so she brought a picture of it instead (on the left in the photo above).

And Meg had recently gotten back this little piece from a POAC exhibit themed "Journeys", the journey being from sketchbook drawing to fabric.
We lingered a long time today, finding so much to talk about. We know this will slow as we get to know each other better, but it is obvious we are savoring this time together to talk about our art. 

So, where there is a void, don't whine about the void existing...fill it! 


Marjorie H said...

I enjoyed the post... I have a fiber art quilt group that I love, we've met for four years and we are seeing some wonderful work coming from our members. I too am a native Idahoan, transplanted to Wa.

The Idaho Beauty said...

Hi, Marjorie - thanks for your comment. Where in WA are you these days and what part of Idaho do you hail from? I lived in WA for many years but that was before this quilting thing really took off. There's so much good stuff going on in that state now. Would love to hear more about your fiber group - any links you can share?

Marjorie Horton said...

I grew up in Boise but also lived a while in Lewiston. I've lived in rural Thurston county for years, near a small town called Rainier. I'd love to move back but not to Boise, it's too big and the air is so awful. Our art quilt group meets in a quilt shop classroom and our numbers flex a lot but we have a very dedicated core group. The first year we did monthly challenges which encouraged those who had lots of desire but were low on confidence. One project we did was to take a large line drawing which was designed to break up into 6" sq., we worked it up in paper collages using black and white papet and then we did it again with fabric but everyone used a little bit of a particular black fabric. It was assembled and is really pretty interesting. We've been invited by an Olympia library to display some of our work as a group later this year. I don't have any links for the group, another member handles sending out regular links. I have a neglected blog which I hope to revive now that I've retired from teaching quilt stuff to do my own thing and have a chance to explore ideas. I worked with Welsh quilts for years and learned a great deal about composition and balance from them. My blog is and I plan to get back to it soon. I really enjoyed your post, it's always interesting to see how other people do things. I'll be looking forward to following your group. Marjorie

Lucia Sasaki said...

My name is Lucia, I am a nippo-brazillian librarian. I liked your blog very much, although nowadays my creative journey makes by bookbinding rather than patchworking. I think that both crafts need cut mats, measuring, fabrics and to sort colors. Indeed, I found your blog because I wanted images that combined fabrics and bookbinding.
What I loved about this post in particular is your phrase "... where is a void, don't whine about the void existing... Fill it"
Know that you inspired me today, I was sort of tired of living and sad and reading your efforts to building a little art community helped me a lot to keep going.
Thanks a lot!!


The Idaho Beauty said...

Thanks, Marjory, for the additional info. I used to live in Westport and Tacoma and have a longtime friend who lives in Olympia so sort of know your area. Took a quick look at your blog and hope you do get back to it. Welsh quilts...oh I am in love with them and had the opportunity to attend a Jen Jones lecture and trunk show. Yes, a lot to be learned from those quilts.

The Idaho Beauty said...

Welcome Lucia! I'd taken a quick look at your blog when I noticed you were following mine - wish I knew your native tongue but got the idea that you were into bookbinding. I have played just a little bit with it and would like to explore it more.

Your comment means so much to me. Sometimes I wonder if I'm just talking to myself here. Nice to know that you found some encouragement in my post.

Marjorie Horton said...

Westport is one of my favorite places on the coast, not so built-up... no casino. If you get back this way, you're welcome to come see my antique Welsh and English quilts, it isn't a huge collection but I have some interesting pieces. I live out, east of Rainier which is about 20 miles from Oly/Tumwater or 25 miles from Spanaway. Thanks for the encouragement regarding the blog. The biggest challenge for me is having my husband retired and home most the time because I have a difficult time focusing when anothet person is present... just another life challenge to leatn from.

I enjoyed your newer posts... keep up the good work. Must go sew a 4" sleeve on my art quilt discharge challenge piece... Rubystreet Quiltworks is going to hang some of the groups work this week and then do a reception sort of a thing during our meeting next week.

And for Lucia... WELCOME