Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Kinda Back...

Scrumptious Orange Coconut Coffeecake for Easter Morning
So I deserted you for awhile to work on my taxes, and I am relieved to say I wrapped them up over the weekend. They actually went together more quickly than last year which was a pleasant surprise, but just like when a quilt is suddenly finished quicker than I expect, I am thrown slightly off and worry that I've done something wrong or forgotten something. But with today's software programs doing much of the work, I'm sure everything is fine. So if they went together swiftly, what else I have been doing? Well, I spent extra time in the kitchen, whipping up traditional Easter recipes and a curry dinner with all the sides that take more time to prepare than my usual fare. I have a ton of leftovers in the freezer that will allow me to stay in the studio pretty much right up to dinner time for quite awhile.

Experimenting with matting

I also spent an afternoon pulling all the framing and mounting materials out of the closet and corners of the studio to do a full inventory. With a couple of small pieces in the works for ArtWalk, I discovered I had no frames for the mats I had on hand and couldn't find what I wanted locally. I also discovered that while I had the size of stretched canvases I would need, I did not have the floater frames I like to put them in. I don't know how I got so off-kilter, especially with the matching up of floater frames and canvases, but what did match up were not the size I need. Of course. So now I have a list of sizes and types and numbers of frames, mats, and canvases, and have received my order to fill in the gaps (placed while I could take advantage of some sale prices and dollar shipping). I'm having trouble tracking down the size of floater frame I need, but I may have found a source of something I can live with - was holding back placing the order until I had more time to do more checking, like now. I just want to be able to work on my little pieces, and when done have everything I need to get them ready for hanging.

Frames and a canvas have arrived
There have also been longer walks in a beautiful run of spring weather and new titles from the library for recreational reading. And of course, plenty of on-line reading as well. So many good things to read and watch and I often let them pile up a bit. Then it's a bit of binge reading and watching followed by a bit of thinking sometimes. Here's one thing I saved to share with you, from one of my favorite sources - Austin Kleon's Tumblr. It is on callings, and does a bit to refute the famous Joseph Campbell quotation “Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls.” Probably goes without saying that Jessa Crispin's response is very much in line with my own thinking on the matter but also gave me some new things to think about as to why I can't totally buy into the idea that the universe will provide. Added emphases are mine.

"I think one of the dumbest things in our culture right now is Joseph Campbell’s insistence that once you find yourself on the right path, the universe will “open doors” for you, it will help you become the person you are meant to be. . . Respect to Joseph Campbell and all that, but no. This affects how we think and talk about genius. . . .Nothing was ever going to stand in their way, the universe needed them to exist, and so facilitated their ascension.

This does a few interesting things. For starters, it discounts all of their hard work, and the anxiety and fear they all had to overcome, as well as discounting the work of their mentors, collaborators, managers, advisers, etc. It also lets us ignore the societal structures in place that allowed these particular people to rise and also kept other people from rising. Such as, the welfare state that allowed Bowie to be on the dole and not work while he experimented. Or, the patriarchal structure that assisted Henry James in getting good paid work as he apprenticed as a writer, something not as available for women. But it’s also the comfort of a Calvinist worldview: we’re either saved or we’re damned. If we’re saved, we’re blessed, everything we do is golden and fated and does not need to be questioned. If we’re damned, we’re excused from trying."
Perhaps this last thought from Crispin matches my feelings most closely:
"I believe in callings. They come as Aces, like the clouds parting, the gift bestowed from above. But I also believe that callings require you to reorient your life and cut away anything extraneous. They are burdens as much as they are gifts."
So now it's time to pick up my burden again (something I do gladly) and put my gifts to work in the studio. ArtWalk beckons on the horizon. . .



Sherrie Spangler said...

Mmmm, curry dinner sounds wonderful! I, too, always thought that "follow your bliss" ignored practicalities and reality.

The Inside Stori said...

What a great post…….I just wish buyers of fiber art could have a better understanding of how much effort/cost/time goes into a finished piece. Pricing our work often does not allow us to be compensated for all the tasks involved outside of creating the design in fiber.

Lucia Sasaki said...

Dear Sheila thanks a lot for your post.
I like when you quote authors, some of them I know only because of you.
I read some Joseph Campbell but I didn't know Jessa Crispin.
When it will be Artwalk?
For me it is so inspiring to see how you got your spot in Fiber Art Scenery and that it can be local.

The Idaho Beauty said...

Oh, glad you all got something out of this. It occurs to me that I should acknowledge that there are times when the muse and I get on the same page and it almost becomes an out of body experience the way the artwork comes together - as if indeed the universe has opened some doors. But I also know that those times would never happen if I hadn't been in the studio doing the work, honing the necessary skills, and paying attention. But to the outsider, I'm sure it all looks like it just happens and aren't we lucky to be so talented. Well, as you all know, it doesn't just happen and there are so many things to consider, decisions to make and details to attend to before our art is ready to go out in the world. You really need to love what you do to stick with it!

Austin frequently tells budding writers and artists, don't quit your day job. That is his answer to this notion of the universe taking care of us once we get on our path. I also liked this take I heard on a podcast (no idea anymore who was being interviewed) about how to have a successful career. He noted that it is not enough to be passionate about what you want to do. All the passion in the world won't guarantee your success if there's no demand for what you have to offer. But if you do think there's a need for it, then you need to become very good at it. Passion/Bliss alone does not guarantee success - at least not monetary success! Hope that doesn't depress you. :-)

The Idaho Beauty said...

Lucia, ArtWalk applications are due next Friday. The exhibits don't go up until the end of June and then stay up til September. I only need pictures of a couple of pieces to submit with my application (mostly to help them decide which location to assign me to) and then I have a couple of months to finish a few more pieces for the actual exhibit. You are so right - I AM lucky to have these local exhibits want to display my work.

Unknown said...

I'm curious about how you put a stretched canvas in a floater frame. I thought that maybe a stretched canvas would be too thick.Always enjoy your blog, both the philosophical and art. gjeneve@gmail.com

The Idaho Beauty said...

Thanks for your kind words about my blog and also the question. Floater frames come in different depths to accommodate either a 3/4" deep canvas or a deeper one. I sometimes use the deeper floater frames with the 3/4" canvases to create a sort of shadowbox effect. This is especially helpful if I've embellished my work with things like beads that sit up from the surface.

Take a look at this post where I explain how I mount my own work over the stretched canvas and insert it into the floater frames. If I've misunderstood your question or something is still unclear, don't hesitate to ask for more clarification.


Michele Matucheski said...

Thanks for the prompt about the canvases. I have a couple of fabric portraits hanging around my quilt studio. I just can't get used to the idea of quilting all over someone's face -- like railroad tracks. And it occurs to me that I could just stretch these on canvas or frame them. They won't be washed, but I also wouldn't want the fusible to let loose some day either. I do love Joseph Campbell, and have lived by that Follow Your Bliss quote since I heard it. In my own life, jobs in bookstores and Libraries have presented themselves. Many of the early ones were : You wanna work here? And I said Yes! Oh-Library School was work and effort, and I enjoyed most of it. Even after getting professional work -- I mostly landed the jobs I applied for. Now, the company I work for is going through yet another re-organization. I've survived for 17 years, watching so many people around me get down-sized. I don't know that I'll survive this round ... yet I have to believe that The Universe has some other path for me to make a living, maybe somewhere else. Maybe I've outgrown the place, too? I know I have a place for worthwhile and purposeful work ... I suspect that may be changing in the near future. I knew I was on my path because doors opened for me. I guess I need to look and see where the new door is opening ...
I don't think Bliss discounts the fear and anxiety of getting there. Some of that is helpful to get you where you want to go, and out of a not so good situation. I wonder if Austin Kleon took that Joseph Campbell Bliss quote out of context? He never intended things would be easy. As I recall the conversation with Bill Moyers from The Power of Myth, the sentiment was more like, "If you have to toil to make a living, why NOT spend that time doing something you love? You'll be so much happier for it. He was also talking about choosing your own path in life, not being pushed to do what someone else wants you to do. I remember him saying, "Other people have plans for you." Now I want to go back and watch that whole series again. I do understand many people have many more obstacles to overcome to get to bliss than others. But I don't think Mr. Kleon took the statement as it was intended. At least, I got something very different and inspiring from it, and I've seen it at work in my own life.