Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Learning Curve

Kristin here. Wouldn't it be great if each time we had an idea we were able to execute it perfectly; just as imagined? Yeah, it doesn't usually work that way, especially if the process is not with one's usual medium.
I was recently invited to participate in a group show at the art center to which I belong. All the works are to be in paper. The artist who invited me was inspired by my Army Wife show, so i thought it would be a good idea to continue somewhat in that vein. Everyone there "knows" me for my aprons, so I wanted to make a paper apron. In my head it's an apron woven out of security envelopes in a businessy type of pattern (houndstooth in this case). More paper would be used to make a lace-like border and accordion folded and fanned ties. It looks great in my head! But after hours and hours and days and days of cutting strips, glueing, and weaving, I realized that I had made many mistakes in the weaving, and each time I tried to fix one, it exacerbated another. Also, the weaving was not lying as flat and clean as I wanted.

These are problems that could be fixed by starting over. If I made several pieces I could work out the kinks. Practice makes perfect. However, this has a deadline, and it is not the only project I'm working on. Nor is it the only one with a deadline. I realized that I was spinning my wheels trying to make this work straight out of the gate. My time would be better spent saying no to this particular invitation, and getting back to my usual work.

It's frustrating to turn my back on something, but I hope to return to it when I have more time to trouble shoot and refine my process. I'm afraid it's also easy to stay with what one knows in order to avoid just this conundrum. How easy it is to stick with the nice safe process and materials we are already familiar with. I'm excited about my cloth projects though. I don't want them to suffer because I spent too much time trying something new. So it's a delicate balance between staying on the path we know and finding the place and time to branch out. When I've finished the art quilts in progress now, I will return to this paper idea. Plastic bags are calling to me as well. I'll miss this paper deadline, but I'll make some other art quilt ones. All in due time.


Liz Kettle said...

Oh my gosh Kristin, I have been in that same place too! We all probably have. It seems so clear and easy to execute in my head. I always say that we artists have to be part engineer to work out the construction problems.

Natalya Aikens said...

I am looking forward to the day you return to this and work it out for all of us to see!