Things are getting more and more eccentric at Casa de la Swain. Changing styles in my textile work, falling in love again with painting and photography...and then there is the ever illusive quest for continuing creativity through working with Eric Maisel. Still on the road teaching, posting now at the Ragged Cloth Cafe and taking the pledge to keep handmaiden up to date.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Working Through the New Gabrielle

Things are going along well in the studio. However, there is no sewing being done...but what fun to be designing new works. My "big plan" is to design as many pieces as I can....until I get sick of the process and need to sew. Today I finished one design completely, have another ready to fine tune and another to enlarge with my overhead. For a hand applique, hand quilt freak this could be enough work for the rest of my life...heh, heh.
I am being a bad blogger not sending each of you emails in thanks for the responses to the transitions post and my last self portrait, but please know they mean the world to me to hear from you. I take everything into know me and thinking....but the urge, compulsion to work has me in its grips. So please accept this blanket " Thank you so much for your encouragement and comments."
With that aside, I am going off on another tangent with you, dear readers. You know I cannot be trusted to keep these thoughts to myself. Sweet Ronnie always asks with some trepidation, "You talk to these ladies about this stuff?" He is used to my eccentric behavior but is concerned that you might think I am suffering from a small madness. Isn't that sweet?
Okay that being babbled here is the tangent. In my transitions post, I mentioned that I did not think art had to be political or social to be relevant. I still hold to that position. There is nothing wrong with sheer beauty...gorgeous colorwork, excellent composition, etc. However, I realized after some thought that there is an political side to my work...yours also.
Here goes: The fact that we have decided to create art in a craft media is a political statement.
We are not working in the accepted fields of the art world...painting, sculpture....we are working in what has been traditionally considered women's domestic work. We have moved outside of the "dead white men" construct to create in a medium that speaks to us for a variety of reasons.
So with this thought in mind, I am eating crow....I do political, social work because I create art outside of the accepted venues.....and ya know what, I am going to keep on doing just that....proudly thumbing my nose at anyone who says this isn't art.
What are your thoughts on my new ramblings? I gotta a million of them....some not as good as others but that never stops me.
Tomorow I will try posting some of the new drawings but they are in black and white so not sure how they will photograph. Plus some look very complicated in the drawing but will be very easy in the construction.......that is if I ever get back to needle and thread.


Coyote said...

"The savage lives within himself, while social man lives constantly outside himself and only knows how to live in the opinion of others, so that he seems to receive the consciousness of his own existence merely from the judgement of others concerning him."--Jean Jacques Rousseau

gabrielle said...

Pardon the dialogue between my linguistically gifted son and his mathmatecially challenged mother.
" Those who live their lives through the reflections seen in other's eye, find only biased, empty subjectivity and a contstant repetition of unanswered questions."---Mom

Coyote said...

"Each has his past shut in him like the leaves of a book known to him by heart and his friends can only read the title"-- Virginia Woolf

"Life is too short to eat bad food, have unfulfilling sex and give a damn what everyone else thinks"---Me

Deb R said...

Hhhmmm...never thought of it as a political or social statement, but I have been known to vocally defend the idea of (some) quilts as art to those who think quilts = blankets, all blankets, and nothing but blankets.

So it looks to me like I agree with you, but I agree in my typical "go with my gut and don't think about it too much" fashion. Does that make sense?

The conversation between you and your son is lovely and lyrical. Is it wrong that it makes me want to post a commet in limerick form?

Notice I resisted the urge. ;-)

Deb R said...

Ok, I stopped resisting. :-)

Making quilts - a political statement?
It seems to be up for debatement.
A battle we've sought?
I don't give it much thought.
I just prefer fabric, not paint-ment!

Teri said...

Hi Gabrielle,
I love your ramblings. I can't come up with a poignant statement at 5:55 am, but I liked what you said about working in what has been traditionally considered women's domestic work. I think that many of our quiltmaking ancestors were artists in their own time. They are the women that created what we now call traditional patterns. We have talked about how you and I consider ourselves 'quiltmakers'. And from what I have seen of some of the 'art' world, I am okay with that. Sometime I will tell you about how security followed my husband and I through the modern art section of the art museum because we were laughing so much.

Valeri said...

No Ronnie...not a 'small' madness; large is the word! Grin! Having said that I agree with you as I see what you are trying to say but you were right the first time also so I agree with DebR too. Life IS too short for lots of things so I don't waste it doing any analysis at all! I'm glad you're having fun!
'The world sees what you present. So think BIG!' Anon

Valeri said...

Wow! Was that your son who did that wonderful Route 66 website? I even emailed him to tell him how amazng it was and how all my teenage dreams were to drive this route! Made my day! Gosh I feel like a groupie! lol

mary m. said...


You raised a very wise coyote. I'm not surprised. I feel that what we do is almost an act of rebellion. And sometimes I think we should boycott the quilt shows. They are making too much money off of us.

Debra said...

Interesting what you're writing today Gabrielle. I'm looking the art center classes for spring, and contemplating taking a class and occasionally bringing fused fabric to work in class instead of paints or pencils. (or do the practice work in class, and bring in the piece in fiber).

I love coyote's quotes... Coyote, you're welcome to visit my blog and "challenge" me with a quote any time.

LoriLaurieLauri said...

First of all: LOVE the Virginia Woolf quote!!!

Now...for years I've been 'seeing in my head', wanting to do and actually doing a couple, little art quilts. But, like someone said, I was one of those who thought "quilt=blanket", and thought I was just fooling around. Along with all the other little things I would do that I'm finding out would be considered "mixed media" art.

And now that I think about it, I think you are right about this area of art being a 'political statement'. In some of my "work", I am actually making a political statement but, yeah, I guess the whole thing is. that I'm reading it, I love your son's Jean Jacques Rousseau quote also. I just may put those on my blog today...give people something to think about!

Love your work, by the way!

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