Sunday, July 08, 2007

compared to what the viewer sees...

This picture still proves that I am terrible with a camera. It is called African Textiles and one of my studio mates had a copy she had taken out of her library. As soon as I saw it, I needed to OWN a copy. It arrived yesterday and I haven't had a minute to read it. How annoying is that? On another subject: there is a discussion at the moment on the QuiltArt list (one of the more intelligent discussions, unfortunately all too rare) about whether the meaning in your art (ed. note: assuming there IS meaning) is deliberate or emerges as you work on a piece you started without intent. There was also conversation back and forth about whether it matters what your intent was; whether you care how the viewer interprets your work, or whether the only important thing is what YOU see. There are a lot of people who start with an idea of what they want to say with their work and as many who see the meaning emerge as they work or, in fact, after the piece is done. For the most part, I fall into the latter category. Tonight, as I was scrolling through some old posts looking for something, I came across a post from early 2006 that seemed à propos.I had put up a picture of something I was almost finished making, along with this comment, which still holds true for me. This is a piece I have needed to make for 8 or 9 years and I haven't been able to make it work. But this time, without thinking about it or trying to execute the idea I have had in my head for so long, there it is. I started with the fabrics and no idea of where it was going...It doesn't matter to me what YOU see, it is what I know it is about that makes the difference. How do you feel about the subject?

7 comments:

Gerrie said...

This happens to me all the time. I work very intuitively - well, you have seen me work in a workshop - so you know. I just start with some fabric or a loose idea of where I want to go, but the fabric, the color, certain shapes or motifs, will take me off in a whole other place. I rarely do a sketch and follow it to a tee.

Rayna said...

Do a sketch? Horrors!

Shirley Goodwin said...

I also work intuitively, and go where the design takes me. I don't expect anyone else to "see" what I do.

Errr.....sketch???????

Linda Branch Dunn said...

I work with the fabrics - dyeing, painting, printing - without any plans. Then they come home and co-mingle until some arrangement achieves critical mass. The finished piece often bears little resemblance to the idea that gave it birth. Things deepen and change. Also small off-shoots take root, and I have to prune back until the strongest ones have room to breathe.

Sharon said...

I know, I know, I will be in the minority here, but I NEED, WANT and MUST work from a theme or beginning thought. Where it goes from there is anybody's guess, but that's how my mind works, I guess. Not that I've finished much creatively, but still. I gotta tell you though, there's rare sketching though:) I can't remember who it was though who said something like: "let the viewer determine what you meant, and not spend too much time telling them. You will narrow down the possibilities too much if you do."

Rayna said...

Sharon, I think you are lucky to be able to work from a beginning thought. sometimes I do, too - but it is often so buried that I can't see what it was till it comes out in my work. Other times, yes, I have an idea in mind. That's when it is really hard for me.

shannon said...

I work both ways -- in fact every possible way! -- depends on the idea. Sometimes I work from a feeling, other times I sketch obsessively, and there are things I "just do". It's all wonderful, even the "mistakes" -- how else do we learn?