|Designer Alexander Girard's textile organization system|
Here are some things I've been saving to share with you. Grab a cup of tea or coffee, settle in and get ready to follow some links. Let's begin with this fabric storage method used by designer Alexander Girard. I have to admit that putting swatches on the front of a storage bin so you know exactly what's in it is better than my longstanding method of trusting my memory to steer me to the right bin, box, cabinet or drawer. But even for an organizer and neat freak like me, this struck me as obsessive. No, probably just smart for his purposes. If you follow this link to Austin Kleon's blog post where I found this, there will be more links about Girard to follow.
Next up, one of my favorite artists who is not only a master bookbinder, but creates intriguing multi-media pieces with found objects and is a poet as well. Kaija at Paperiaarre recently recounted some unexpected successes and recognition she'd received, and how in the doing, she had struggled a bit with direction. In the end, she decided to trust herself and feels that was the key to success. The very last line of that post, Lost & Found & Forgotten & Found, really struck a familiar chord with me:
I’m glad I dare to do me in all I do.
Upon reading this, I realized how many years I did not dare to do me in my artwork, at least not with any real confidence, but that these days I have found myself proceeding more with ears and eyes shut against a world that would tell me I'm going about it all wrong or that my vision doesn't fit the current trends. I find it a comfortable place and hope that I remain here, just doing me in all I do. I hope you will read the entire post or at the least the final paragraph, beautifully written, with pictures of her work and one of Kaija herself. You can also see her work for sale in her Etsy shop.
I subscribe to The Painter's Keys which offers good overall advice to would-be artists on a variety of subjects that more than just painters can benefit from. Here are two I felt worthy of sharing. The first, The Five Minute Rule, deals with the bane of us all, procrastination. You've perhaps heard of this trick, to tell yourself you are going to do something for just 5 minutes (some have you set a timer for 15), which almost always turns into staying at whatever task for longer than that initial short period of time; things in motion stay in motion according to Isaac Newton and it tends to be true. But here's something else to remember too:
Now that you’re on the dance floor, understand that the path to proficiency is long — it rambles over dunes of ugliness, stumbles among boulder-sized re-dos, and falls into perfectionist back-eddies. The pain of doing it poorly is part of the activity of learning. The elation of doing it well is the hard-won result of beginning this activity in the first place. Begin now. “If you wait,” said Mario Andretti, “all that happens is that you get older.”
Now that you've got your procrastination issues solved, move on to the second Painter's Keys I found of interest, Golden Day. The idea here is to take a full day to just work on your art, morning to night undistracted.
You set aside a clear and uncluttered day to work and love your craft. Start early; end late. You put your head down and push yourself from one thing to another. It’s a day where everything comes out of the end of the brush (or pen, or chisel), a luxury day where all that counts is the universe of your creation. After, on your weary way to bed, you can give yourself a badge.
I think most of us would agree this sounds like a wonderful luxury. If you've ever been on a quilt or artist retreat, you have a sense of what this would be like and what you could accomplish. It's certainly worth considering if one could manage a full day without turning on the computer or tv or answering the phone, telling any spouses or children to pretend you are not home. Among other things, the writer says, "Before long you’re pushing into bonus territory and you may startle yourself." I miss being startled by what I find myself doing, achieving. Haven't had that feeling for awhile and no doubt because I haven't been spending the sort of time in the studio I once did. It's a thought.
And now because you've been so patient with me and my words without pictures, here's a little slideshow of some interesting art quilts by Judith Beaver.