Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Art & Life, Intertwined

I have a horrible memory. I am one of those people who loses names a second after they are spoken. I forget doctor's appointments and birthdays unless they are programmed into my cellphone. I keep an art business notebook on my desk where I record each packet sent to curators, summaries of phone conversations, deadlines, etc. to keep my career together.

Yet, I can remember what was happening in my life when I was making each work of art. I recall what I was thinking about when I made specific brush strokes, even on paintings that are over a decade old. I know who I was dating when I made The Fertilization Dress, embroidering three sperm an hour for days on end, thinking about that someone I was with who never wanted to have children. I worried about the fate of my brother through the entire process of making The Initiate. Blessed Art Thou was completed over Christmas, when I was hosting a house full of family... I planned what cookies to make while painting the figures below.

There is something about the nature of working with fiber that seems to "tie in" the life experiences in a more intricate way than painting. Hard to know if it is something about the activity itself, or the way time passes. Perhaps the repetitive nature allows the mind to wander into real life a bit more while working.

In my real life today, it is pouring rain, the tail end of Hurricane Fay passing over NC. I am propped up on the couch in the den with blankets around me and candles lit, embroidering. My husband is on his way to Kansas City for an interview, because exactly one week after we spent an ungodly amount of money on IVF, he was laid off, along with about 50 other people, in the annual corporate cutback. Our insurance ended the next day, so we are shelling $800 a month out of pocket. We are supposed to be getting our house ready to put on the market, but things are not going well with the pregnancy, so I am confined to bed rest and cannot help.

I met my husband when I was 41, after a long, fun, free & crazy single life that I always assumed would go on forever. (My shrink once asked me what my love life theme song was, and I replied, "that's easy... Ain't Nothin' Gonna Break My Stride".) It blows my mind when I think about where I am in the universe right now, sitting on this couch, gestating, trying to be still and peaceful. At this moment, I am quietly concentrating on the two jobs before me:
1) making the work, and
2) being a safe vessel (denying every programmed fiber in my being that tells me to go, go, go and to push, push, push)

I, like many artists, have said that making work is like a prayer, but it has never been more true than it is today. Because no matter what happens, forever, the stitches in my ice/guardian angel painting and the new hair embroidery will be stitches that attempted to "sew in" and secure this life inside of me, while thinking with each stitch, "Stay. Stay. Hang on, little peanut..."

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Blogger Lorna said...

All the best!

1:57 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

Thanks, Lorna...

8:19 PM  
Blogger ec said...

That's one lucky peanut you have
with such a calm and caring parent
Whatever the outcome something great will result from all this nuttiness
Hang in there.

9:46 AM  
Blogger JC Bravo said...

hi kate! gongratulations on the baby!!! once the newborn is in your hands all things will be better and life will have a new meaning. my life is so great with my daughter, all other concerns seem trivial. one smile from her is such a joy. you will see! a child teaches you about ones capacity to love unconditionally and fuels you with hope =]

9:12 AM  
Blogger libby said...

crossing my fingers for the little peanut.

4:08 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

Thanks everyone for your good wishes. Fingers crossed, so far they are working.

7:17 PM  
Blogger kelbutt said...

More good wishes from way out west!

fingers and toes crossed---

9:39 PM  
Anonymous Anabel Ll. said...

Hi, Kate!
It's been 5 years when I was in Thesis II.
I read that you are pregnant. Congratulations, and all my wishes that everything goes well.
I'm living in KansasCity right now :@ so, if you ever move, I could help you getting settle.
All the best, and take care.

2:16 AM  

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