Today is our anniversary. Jim and I have been married 48 years. I can't quite believe it. Somehow getting so close to the 50-year milestone hit me harder than my 70th birthday a couple of weeks ago. I think I'm still influenced by my impressions from growing up that people who had been married 50 years were really old. But it's hard to figure out where that really comes from. My parents hit 50 years and I don't remember thinking of them as really old at that time.
Reality is though, that once the initial shock wore off I was right back to my usual up-beat, still-feeling-young self. Truly, my life is good. Sometimes I think where did all that time go??? Then I think, it went by one day at a time, putting one foot in front of the other. So I'll keep doing that and not stewing over what's past - or coming.
In my last post I was doing a bit of stewing over the future of my art specifically. That post apparently hit a chord with quite a few of my readers and I received several thoughtful, encouraging emails in response. They gave me more to think about for which I am very grateful. Thank you.
My dilemma was where to focus my artistic efforts between decorative and wearable art. Based on two recent shows, I'd worried that I was putting more effort into my wearable art than I should. Then at the next show, one of my jackets sold. That allayed some of my fears, but they were still lingering at the back of my mind - until an epiphany a couple of days ago.
I realized I was drawing conclusions from too few data-points. To really understand my light-bulb moment, you have to know that I am a data person. I spent nearly all my career analyzing data as a market researcher. That experience finally woke me to the fact that results from two shows or even three don't make a trend. I also realized that I have detailed records of what I've sold in all my venues over the last couple of years. So once I got over feeling stupid that I hadn't thought of this earlier, I pulled the data together and actually looked at it. Net result is I'll continue doing what I've been doing, spreading my efforts between decorative and wearable art as the spirit moves me.
So here are some pictures of how that spirit is working.
I've continued to work with my latest batch of gelatin prints. I finished "Floral Fantasy" a couple of weeks ago. I layered two of my gelatin prints over a commercial batik. added leaf motifs cut from "clean" parts of the fabrics I'd printed on, and then went to town with embroidery. I had fun musing about flowers as I worked and thinking of comments and flower types to put into the background. Needless to say, it's available on Etsy.
Here are two artworks currently in progress. Both use more of my gelatin prints, this time layered over pieced Maria Testa scraps. I've begun stitching on the one on the left. The one on the right still needs basting in preparation for embroidery.
Many of Maria's fabrics are sheer so I had to think hard about the underneath fabric. Usually I like flannel as the "batting' in these art quilts, but I didn't want that to show through the sheer parts. My solution was to put flannel only under the circles and using a batik as backing. I chose a batik that color-coordinated and had a pattern that would subtly show through the sheer sections adding another dimension to the design. That's probably what I will do with the one on the right as well.
Finally, I also have a new jacket in the works. I spent a couple of days auditioning fabric combinations. Here's what I've decided to work with - a beautiful set of hand-woven cottons and a hand print. They are all wonderfully soft for a nice lightweight jacket.
And so I keep putting one foot in front of the other.
Mother & daughter, Ann Lee & Sonja Lee-Austin share their joys and struggles in their art and lives.