Friday, 27 June 2008

Artist's Block, Motivation and Challenges

I am just blogging today about how I feel about being an artist and what motivates me to create. Well, I am not even sure if that first sentence is going to describe the rest of what I will write here. Never mind, here goes.

People often speak of artist's block, when I was training to be an artist one art teacher said to me two things that I remember. You are only as good as your last piece of work, the other was that you should as an artist create everyday. I don't know whether this has motivated me, it probably has.

I have been wondering what artist's block is really about for me. I don't normally have a shortage of ideas. In fact my problem is that I usually have too many to cope with. I never will have enough time to do all the things that buzz around my head, not if I lived to a century or more. So it's all about choice.

I started to participate with many challenges on the web. I did this as a way of keeping in touch with other artists, this important for me. I live in a rural area and I dont see any other artists at all, I wish I had a friend near by who I could talk to about my passion, someone who is also passionate about textiles in all it's wonderful forms and possibilities. I doubt if that is going to happen, but I live in hope.

Well, thinking about the reason why I joined all these challenges, it's not for the challenge so much as the meeting of people. Ok, I am struggling a little at present keeping up with the challenges, but as I said, it's all about choices. I have decided I am going to have to make some serious choices soon because running a challenge myself aswell all these fingers in pies elsewhere it is going to mean I won't get as much done as I would like to. You try some things and if they don't work for you, you move on.

I wonder what the motivation is for others, I would really like to know. I get a buzz from making for someone in particular. It pleases me to make something for someone else. I don't know why this is. I often think, I am going to make something for me, but it doesn't hold the same motivation for me as it does to make for someone else. I think this is why I enjoy making cards to swap.

So where do I go from here. I need the interaction with other artists, artists often find themselves so isolated. They work long hours to create and this is usually done in isolation. I like to get feedback, but on these challenges and other sites it is feedback which is always far too polite to be really useful to me. What I mean is that I haven't yet had anyone make a neutral comment about my work, let alone a negative one. Having been through art college I was trained to expect criticism. In fact at the end of every week we would have critique which was extremely useful for everone. I miss this honest opinion. I know that my work has changed even since I have been involved online, it has become far too twee for me as it goes. This isn't because of the online community, it's more that I suppose I have been testing out ideas in being commercial. I think I must have been thinking about the tourist industry and wondering what I could take from my surroundings in order to make art. It's become far too chocolate box for me. Well, where do I go from here?

I am thinking about starting another site, but one with a big difference. A site where artists can put there work to get honest useful but polite criticism. I wonder how many people would like to join? Good question. I think I would have to moderate it well. I don't want others to feel that they will be attacked verbally in anyway. I think that I would have to work out some guidelines. I think it would be nice to create this site with someone else to help, two heads are better than one. Well I think I will sleep on this idea for a while and maybe I might just try it.

If anyone out there reads this and feels that they would like to get involved perhaps they would let me know. Tricia

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

The show must go on: One more Postcard safely received

Before I post the next swap that I sent to Karrin in the States I wish to thank everyone who sent kind wishes in response to the last blog which told of our awful trauma of a nasty car accident. My hubby is still in pain with whiplash but he survived the accident and that is the main thing.

We are without a car but the show must go on as they say.

Well here is the card I made for Karrin (this was for the postcard swap on stitching fingers) which she has just received.

this is a view of a Kent Farmhouse near to where I live. 17th Century I believe. I have embellished some tweedy woollen fabric for the brickwork which seemed perfect for the job and the rest is just fleece with a couple of stitches to outline the windows.
Oh well back to work.

Monday, 16 June 2008

Always look on the bright side of life

Ok, who wrote those words, just when I thought things couldn't get any worse this month, it did.
Yesterday, late afternoon, Fathers Day here in the UK. My hubby was going a few miles up the road to the nearest supermarket when someone on the other side of the road came right over his side of the road and put him in hospital.

The worst thing about it was that someone tried to phone me at the scene of the accident and our stupid answer phone kicked in too early as it does, I could hear the people on the other end of the phone and got the gist of what was happening but no one could hear me. I immediately tried to phone out on my mobile but couldn't get a signal. A few minutes later a lovely elderly couple arrived in our drive and announced what had happened. I was already in shock, they took me to the scene and I saw the car first, or what was left of it. Well that was it, I couldn't even see my husband, he was on the floor behind the car. the ambulance arrived before I had really got my head together and carried him off in traction. I was just wobbling around like a zombie/headless chicken. Well, I don't drive and I live in a rural hamlet, no buses on a Sunday. All I could do was keep ringing the hospital. Well, I knew he would be going to xray. A couple of hours later when I rang I was told that they suspected a broken neck!!! They would be doing a CT scan. Well, I didn't wait to phone back later, I rang my very dear ex sister-in-law and her husband took me over to him, I just wasn't functioning by this time. Well, by the time we were about to leave him, a doctor came on the ward and said that he had the all clear and could go home. Some one was looking down on us yesterday. My hubby is in serious shock today, the doctor has given him some sedatives as he couldn't sleep last night at all. At the end of the day, we are without a car but he survived, so I will look on the bright side of life. Things could have been so much worse. He is just so, so lucky!!!

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Adding my swaps

Before I place the cards I have made on here, I am adding a picture of some of the wonderful foxgloves from my garden which I grew from seed. I am putting these flowers here to cheer me up, it's been a terrible week for me in more ways than one but the main reason is that I have lost a very dear cousin who died on Monday. She was in her mid 70's which is no age these days. It came as quite a shock because as far as I knew she wasn't in poor health. It just goes to show that none of us knows what is round the corner. She will be in my memories for a very long time as being someone who would be there for everyone, she would help anyone and always had a good word to say about everyone she spoke of to me. She will be sadly missed by many.

Well as promised here are some of the cards I have recently made for swapping with different people. These have all been posted now, I hope that the recipients like them.

This is a needlefelted landscape I made to swap with Helen on the postcard group of Stitchin fingers.

This next one is winging it's way to Alis from unlimited textiles.

the one below is a small atc that I made for the hand stitch lottery on the textile challenge site run by Carol T. The stitch I was given to use was fly stitch. I have used the stitch on the path as well as the flowers.

This last ATC is on it's way to France for Anne who made me the beautiful cross stitch teddy. In this needlefelted piece I thought that Anne might like to see a scene from where I live. That's why I decided to make a very small scene of two oast houses, these can be seen all over Kent . I hope Anne likes it.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Been very busy

Well, I have just tried to start a blog on Stitchinfingers but I'm afraid I have given up. Not only did I lose it all after pre veiwing but the darned picture thing that keeps stretching all pictures that are above a certain size is really getting on my nerves. So I will be blogging here instead. I did try!

On a good note, I have been oh so busy, what with my new toy (The Embellisher) and all the swaps, I have had to make lots of lists. I'm getting a bit overloaded but I would prefer that to being bored.
Well as I promised everyone, I will add my first big project that I used the embellisher for.

I thought I would make my Grand daughter a little pressie, she is such a clever lass. She is already a British Champion in Acro Gymnastics and she is only 11 years of age. Very shortly she will be going in for the trials for the Worlds Competition and she will be the youngest competitor. She has had a lot of obstacles to overcome to get this far and she never gives up, so she deserves something nice.
My Grand daughter as well as my own 14 year old son have been into Goth fashion of recent years. So when I asked my Daughter what she would like we had a chat and we both decided that a Goth Fashion type bag would be appreciated. Well I couldn't find the material I wanted for the project so I decided to make my own on the felting machine. here is the result:

This is the front of the bag, made with needle felt that has been woven the make the check fabric.
Here is the back, she is so pleased with this especially as it has her name on it, she is Rebekah really but she likes to be called Bex.
Now my teenage son wants a hat, he likes a flat cap he has which he wore when he was younger at one of the Victorian days at his primary school, trouble is this one is brown, so now I have to make a black flat cap, help, I've never done this before. Well, I've made a paper pattern from the one he has, but I won't be using felt. I have some plain black fabric so I'll just be doing a standard flat cap. He doesn't even want any patterns or motifs on it so it shouldn't be too hard. He looks so cool when he wears his flat cap with his shoulder length wavy hair. I can't wait to see him in the new one.
Well, the other reason why I have been so busy is that I have been making lots of swaps. Here are the ones I have received today;
This one is from Helen Miles The photo doesn't do it justice I'm afraid, it's simply beautiful, it really reminds me of the sea and I just want to go down the coast when I look at it. Thank you Helen, your's is in the post, I won't put the picture up until you receive it, I would hate to spoil the surprise.
This next one is from Liz we met on the Unlimited Textiles site and this months challenge is to make and swap a Postcard with the theme of landscape. This is a beautiful piece and it is made with a lot of beautiful silk, how did Liz know I loved Poppies? Thank you Liz.
This last swap is an ATC from Anne in France, we were introduced to do this swap by Doreen in Australia, apparently they have been doing swaps for some time now. Thank you Doreen for introducing us. Thank you Anne for such an exquisite little card, you wouldn't believe folks how small these stitches are. Don't you just want to give her a hug. Your card Anne is in the post too, I hope you like it.
Well that's just about it for now, but I will put my cards here that I have swapped next time. Till then, bye for now. Tricia