I made this quilt called "cross roads" a few years back as a special commission. It is symbolic of many things, but today am I using it as a lead-in for this post since I am truly pondering which way to head next.
My career as an artist has evolved over the years (as it should). I started out as a textile designer, making household goods and accessories, selling them successfully in markets like etsy. This lead to wholesale production, which soon left me worn out and disillusioned, mainly because there still was just one set of hands in the assembly line...
Then I discovered eco printing and natural dyes through classes I took with India Flint and Rowland Ricketts, and a whole new world of artistic expressions and inspirations opened up. I love the process and the results from these print and dye techniques, and I have tried to figure out how to incorporate them into my work ever since. How do I borrow from an art form, developed by others before me, and make it into something that is my own?
The way I approached it was to distill the process, striving to get a simpler and clearer outcome. I often use just use one plant type at a time, and make deliberate arrangements to ensure that each leaf truly shine. But what I have come to realize is that the true artistic expression, may have more to do with how the impressions are used. What the final piece becomes and how that is perceived.
Another realization is that I make art for the sake of beauty. Although issues like sustainability, environmental consciousness, and climate change motivates my processes as well as my way of life, I have no strong convictions or topics that propel my art. I just love to make beautiful things. I admire delicate shapes, muted colors, textures, repetitions, and patterns. But I often wonder if that is enough to make convincing art. Is there another voice missing?
I am thinking that my artistic expression needs to come to a full circle. Instead of focusing on art pieces, maybe I need to return to functional craft. Maybe the jewel-like qualities of these eco prints need to be incorporated into something that could be touched, used, and cherished, rather than hanging on a wall? This may still be considered art for the sake of beauty, but it could also be perceived as art with a purpose.