Defining Oneself

There comes a time in everyone’s life where it becomes easier and easier to define oneself. You grow and experience more, you change as time changes you, and you learn to define yourself by your terms, not someone else’s ideas. Today was a day of clarity for me in defining myself.

I am an artist. Yes, I made that acknowledgement quite a while ago. I have an artistic soul, and I think like an artist. I’ve worked in several mediums, and lately I am determining which of those mediums I prefer. And WHY. And therein lies the defining moment. (kind of like when I finally accepted that I am a blue jeans kind of gal and got rid of every dressy dress in my closet, although I still own a denim jumper or two)

Today FAB met, and we had a great meeting. We’re working on an art cloth collaborative project. The first step was dyeing the fabric, the second step was overdyeing, the third step is surface design and making our individual pieces which will come together to form one collaborative piece. I’ve enjoyed every step of this project, and have learned so much about myself.

I like to dye fabrics, I enjoy overdyeing fabrics with certain techniques, but not others. Today we played with surface design techniques and here’s what I learned about me. I like Shiva paintsticks, BUT ONLY when I use them with a brush to paint with. I don’t like making rubbings with them. I do like using my rubbing plates with a brayer and textile paints though AND with my Caran D’Ache watercolor crayons. Which I never would have learned had I not purchased the rubbing plates to use with the Shiva paintsticks.

I do not like rusting fabrics, I don’t like the smell, I don’t like the mess, and honestly, I’m not sure I like the end resulting look. (or maybe I just don’t like the end resulting look of MY rust dyes!) Yep, in today’s world of surface design and complex cloth and techniques, I am defining myself by what I do and don’t like.

What do I like? I love to draw in pencil and ink and watercolor pencil, but not charcoal or pastels, I love to paint in acrylic, but not oil. I absolutely love to paint on fabric, I love colors, I love realism or recognizable abstraction. What don’t I like, I don’t like pure abstraction with multiple layers of colors. To me that is a jumble, and then the shapes seem so crowded my eye has no where to rest. I don’t like complex cloths…..nope, not for me, they are too much visually and it upsets my senses. Which may be why I am struggling so hard with collage.

Part of this journey over the last few years has been just to find this out. What do I and don’t I like? What speaks to me artistically and what doesn’t. Where does my soul sing and where does it cringe. One of the best things about being in a group like FAB is that there are times when I am pushed to go beyond my boundaries and comfort zones. Sometimes I grow and decide to use that technique or perception farther in my work. Sometimes I learn that the technique or perception just doesn’t fit my heart and soul. At which point I go back and try to decide what did or didn’t work for me and why.

And for that reason alone, I am grateful to be part of a group of fiber artists who encourage each other to remain individuals and still to explore and grow as a group. So thanks gals for the day today………..but I still don’t care for complex visual stimulations and using Shiva’s for rubbings and I still prefer realism in my work.

4 thoughts on “Defining Oneself

  1. Isn’t it wonderful to be able to have a choice? To not have to fit your 2 1/8″ round peg into a 2″ round hole? Yessirree …… part of being an American. A BIG part of being an American. The freedom of choice extends to ALL things we can do.

    You go, you realist you!

  2. I LOVE realism. I just am not very good at it. On the other hand, abstract work appeals to me in certain respects. However, most of it becomes rather without any emotional direction. I like emotion most of all.
    Learning how to do what what we love and what we love to do is a huge challenge in itself. There are so darn many choices!!!!
    Enjoy the journey!

  3. FABS has been the same sort of process for me. I’m willing to try about anything, but I have my favorite activities and those I truly wouldn’t miss if I never did them again! 🙂 I love finding that when I don’t fit in the hole I’m “expected” to fit in, if I wallow around long enough, the hole expands to fit me! 🙂

  4. I am happy for you that you have such a good group. And jealous that I dont.

    Good for you for learning more as you continue down this winding path.

    Gayle

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