About 4 or 5 years ago, I was coming to the realization that my work doesn’t necessarily fit in the quilt world, that there are shows I can get into, but there are also many that I can’t, because the imagery is too challenging or controversial or hell…it has boobs and a vulva and those things aren’t allowed. Because 50% of the population needs to have their parts hidden away? Well it’s not like there’s a bunch of art out there with penises on it, unless it’s the oh-so-acceptable sculptural types from the Renaissance. I was in a few quilt groups that ran on the art side of things, but I was looking for local groups, places where I felt less isolated and out there in the art world. I wasn’t in the San Diego art world at all.

So I started looking, and I found two groups that I’ve been a part of since then, one juried and one not, and between the two of them, I’ve been in about 10 shows in Southern California and beyond (one is traveling to Sweden next year), but more importantly, I’m growing this support group of people who know my work and support me and have no problems with fabric inhabiting the art world. I can have a conversation with almost anyone in either group, and I’m starting to find other opportunities because of belonging…my 2-person show in January absolutely came about because of my membership in one of the groups with the curator. I was just juried into another group and members from both groups voted for me…hence more opportunities to show work.

Being in local shows doesn’t seem like a big deal…I get work into shows all the time and it travels all over the world. But it is a big deal, because the local shows are where I meet people in person who are looking at the work and talking to me…giving me tangible support to keep making. Not that I will stop…not that I know HOW to stop. This drive does not slow down for exhaustion or my job or other obligations. I hear it in the back of my head all the time (Make Make Make). But now I have people I see at shows, people who have my back, people who talk to me about my work, their work, work in general. People who push me to do different work, like the 17-foot woman from last year and the nightstand I’ll be doing this year. This is all good.

We had an artists’ talk for my women’s art group yesterday at our show Feminism Now. Amusingly, someone actually did some mansplaining for us, telling us how the problems we think exist don’t any more. Say what? But it was a good discussion anyway. I got to hear a few artists talk about their work, artists I hadn’t heard from before. As our group grows, I’m finding it hard to make sure I can place name with face (we need to work on that as a group), but I do know the group serves to support female artists in a city that is known for ignoring or even censoring our presence. This discussion of what is a feminist, what is feminism NOW, and especially to us…it’s important and our group isn’t going to let it drop.

Here’s most of the women who were in the show (there’s a chunk of women who weren’t…it’s a big group now).

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Wirework outside the gallery…suspect Spenser Little at work…

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So most of my day was picking up work from being juried and spending time at the gallery for the talk and trying to get better pictures for an official group blogpost of the show…but I did eventually (after grading of course) come back and start tracing again…

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This piece is slow going, but it will be worth it. I’ve got about 3 hours in and I’m only on piece 220. The first 115 pieces were large and kind of convoluted, so they took longer to trace. Now I’m into the tiny pieces mostly, with some background stuff in there.

This is what it looks like from the back when I’m tracing…

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Except the light on the light table is on. But the numbers are all backwards, which takes some getting used to. I did the left thigh last night: a raccoon and some flowers and leaves. I stopped when I got to the owl, because it was 100 pieces (at least) and it was after midnight. I was tired. I stayed up another half hour to let my brain relax…don’t know if it worked, but I zonked out pretty fast. Good sign.

Apparently I have to trace the owl twice…although I think I will redraw him so he has all his parts first…because he’s missing some parts of his tail I think, and part of a wing. I could do that today as well.

I do have two more classes of the last unit to grade today, plus making new seating charts…very exciting stuff. And groceries and laundry. It’s nice to have an extra day for it though. It would have been hard to deal with going back to school today with everything I was trying to get done over the weekend. Trying to keep up with my job and live life and make art…it’s a lot, and I’m totally looking forward to a break in a few weeks with summer vacation (I’ll still be making art…just not trying to juggle the job in the middle of it). I’m looking forward to sitting out on the deck and relaxing with my sketchbook. I’m looking forward to having the time to reconnect with my art brain in a less stressful way. Also eating and peeing when I want…those are pluses. And fewer demands on my patience (only 2 kids instead of 155 and mine are adults, so hopefully that will help).

2 thoughts on “Support

  1. You are so fortunate to have a clear passion. I’m still circling, trying to find my focus. Despite all the obstacles, you do persevere, and certainly do MAKE MAKE MAKE! You work hard, and juggle, and focus, and despair, and frustrate, AND you keep making, and what you want to make is clear to you (even when a stretch) AND you have the skills and vision to do your own particular wonderful making. That is such a GIFT!


  2. Thanks for sharing what a difference it makes to belong to a local group of people and get actual in-person support and feedback. It is something I feel I am missing, and I have been prompted by a few things lately—your post being one of them—to take some concrete steps toward that.


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