Thursday, March 20, 2008

Artist as Marathon Runner

The last few weeks have been extremely difficult for me..... this hair embroidery is taking so long, and I am very anxious to start some new work. In addition, working on the lips, though they are slightly different than any of the lips before, were not "breaking enough new ground" for me. I rarely do series, unless I am exploring something different enough in each piece to justify spending my time on it. Today I started the challenging part of this piece.

I have often described artmaking as being a process similar to athletic training. You get excited when you run a mile, but then you try to run two, then three, etc. When I did my first hair embroidery, I found it difficult and frustrating.
I honestly didn't know if it was going to work, which was part of the appeal, I am sure. But I learned so much in the process of making it that when I finished, I thought, "I can do better than that, now that I know these tricks". In Oubliette I,
I learned even more about how the nuances are influenced by the order of the colors in cross hatching, where to put long stitches and where to use short ones, how to minimize pull on the crosshatching. And with this piece, Oubliette II, I am confident that the interior image will be even more subtle.

Today while working, I was remembering how I have always been most fascinated by art when I can't figure out how it was made. This process of making one's work stronger is the part that is missing from work made to specs in a factory. It is only when working over and over with a material that you can discover its potential, and push to its limits.

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