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Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes!

Change is coming. It’s in the air. Can you feel it? I can for sure, but not in the way you might imagine!

I have been fighting with these two pieces for quite some time. They are about fraternal twins for the Wisdom Gatherers series. Why are these two works troubling me so? One thing I learned early on in this series, is I far more enjoyed interviewing the women over 80, than I did telling their stories; which is why I stopped at six women interviewed!  So that is one factor.

Then there was the woman who hated the work I designed about her life and had absolutely no qualms whatsoever, telling me so, which further dampened my sails. I did, however, easily complete the most recent piece about my beloved aunt, which was easy to do as I treasure her so. It was my tribute piece to her. So after my last works, two strong political pieces, I decided to “cleanse my palette” with another ‘wisdom gatherer’ piece, or two actually; after which I would have only one more to do!

compilation of disasters

I resisted getting started; and resisted and resisted. Finally, just before our road trip I pieced the backgrounds & had the text for the screens prepared so I could get right on it when we got back!
Every day my intention was to go downstairs to print, but I didn’t.  I seemed to always find something else to do or not to do, anything but go downstairs & screen print that cloth. Finally still dragging my feet I MADE myself go downstairs and start. In quick order I managed to mess up 5 screens…something I have never done in over 20 years of thermo-fax printing!  And this with the mesh no longer available, I ruined five pieces of mesh screen material!
Then I waited another day to screen-print, just to chase the bad mojo away yet proceeded to leave paint blotches all over the fabric! WTH? How long have I been screen-printing? I KNEW this was a message about ignoring my own inner voice; and yet I pressed on!  We artists call those things that we will likely cover up “design elements.”  Yet how many design elements can there be in one piece?! Maybe an entire work comprised of design elements? Hey I may be on to something!!! I digress.
Again, it occurred to me that I am pushing myself do something that does not inspire me; and thus the troubles.  Later I heat-set the paint, brought the pieces back upstairs, pinned to the design wall, from which they stare at me each time I walk into the studio! I keep thinking I should do something with them but nothing happens. How many photographs do I have to cover the blotches? Can I make these smaller? Do all the Wisdom Gatherers pieces have to be the same size? The wheels turn, or rather grind but with no resolution.
And then this morning, out of the blue, while reading a magazine unrelated to art & eating my oatmeal it came to me, that I set the rules, I can change the rules. I can change this up! Why does it have to be two pieces? Weren’t they in utero together? Why can it not be one piece?! And that excites me!!! That old cut and paste really rings my bell. Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding.
So I photographed the two individually and sent the images to the printer. Next I will cut and paste the paper images and see where I want to go with this. Now I am excited!
I guess that either says more about my determination or stubbornness than I care to admit. Or maybe it is just one thing I can try to control in this time of endless lack of control. Living with a person with a debilitating illness and all that entails is nothing I can control. It is as if I just want one thing to go smoothly. I simply don’t need to be making art that is a struggle. And yet I seem to want to figure it out! It seems I am gathering my own wisdom on this one.

2 Responses to “Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes!”

  1. Your inspired resolution to being able to move forward actually says a lot about letting the issue relax from your conscious thinking and let your mind work on the solution while you enjoy your oatmeal! I know that the same thing happens for you (and me) in the shower — at the time when we are ‘safe’ and alone and our brain is able to let the solution float to the top.
    Congratulations! Enjoy the process now!

  2. Melissa Ward says:

    Thank you for sharing your struggles and process. Many paths to inspiration.

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