Saturday, April 18, 2009

rewarding preoccupation

A question posed this week through an award given to me by the very talented yet insufficiently well known writer, Utah Savage, was to describe why I love blogging. The fact I post on a reasonably regular basis should indicate my interest in the pastime but I don't think I can honestly say I love doing it. There have been any number of posts in the past six months that could have heralded the final one.

I stay because of the connections I've made with all of you. Rather than putting my paintings in a portfolio never to be seen by anyone other than my husband and a few close friends I'm able to post them up here where you're kind enough to come by and say you like them. That means a lot to me. I don't think paintings are any more important than baking a nice cake but they're a different way of feeding people and no creative effort is done in vain.

It's the same with the scarves, little bags and jewelry. I have enough stuff around to stock a small corner on Etsy but that concept makes me very nervous. My reaction to being rejected by the formal arts community has always been to go back to my job on Monday morning where I'm appreciated for my ability to put in a good day's work and for my occasionally droll sense of humor. The regular paycheck has always been enough to fund the necessary supplies. That time will draw to a natural conclusion in the next year or two so I wonder about selling things I make (other than the paintings which I won't sell at all) but I can't be a factory.

Although I'm usually working on something I'm inconsistent about what I feel like doing on any given day. The purple scarf at the top was started last winter but was so time consuming I got bored and put it away for four months, only finishing it when I was home recuperating for a week. You can't very well have a business that way: 'Where's my scarf?' 'Well, I got bored and decided to paint two pictures instead.'

The other problem is not having a real workspace for the projects. Our apartment is a decent size but having a nine foot stretcher frame and all the accoutrements set up in the living room is noticeable. Fabric arts are like that and the only worse occupation I can imagine in that regard is weaving. If you weave you need a house and that's all there is to it. Watercolor supplies don't take up much space and I've spent more years working at a kitchen table than I ever have in what could be termed a formal studio. You just need some good lights.

I do appreciate the award, Utah, but won't be passing it on since my blog roll is so small. I enjoy visiting your site and a few others but I'm no natural at electronic communication and don't go round visiting linked blogs very much. I tend to be a bit reclusive and jealous of my free time (of which we all have a limited and diminishing amount).

I did finish the turquoise and olive scarf which now looks like this. It's next to impossible to photograph a doubled over and sewn 8.5 foot long piece but it is pretty.

PS: Crow says he's very glad I have a blog because his last bid for a tv show was rejected by Fox :-)


Liberality said...

I think in the springtime a lot of people get outside and away from their computers. Which is a good thing I think! Your artwork is yours to share as you wish. Glad you show us your creative talent too.

Utah Savage said...

Thank you for writing this revealing post. I now want both "scarves" shown here. I know it must be hard to part with them and maybe you aren't really sure you do. But I thought you mentioned a price for the one in progress a few posts back. I'm good with that. We should email, so I can make arragnements to pay you. I'm mad for it. Do you think it's too long for a scarf? I'm going to Jordan in December this year. I'd like to be properly attired and this scarf looks perfect for a trip to the Middle East. My eldest informally adopted daughter goes home every December for a couple of weeks. She has invited me many times, but I was not yet ready to travel. I am now. I'd also like to take a gift for Manal's mother.

lindsaylobe said...

Hi Susan
Maybe when you cut bcak further on work or semi retire you could also consider indexing your stories and some of the articles and photos into a self published book for family and close friends which would be of ongoing interest. Otherwise they may become ultimately lost on the blogosphere?
Best wishes

susan said...

liberality - That's a good thing indeed. There are some up here, you included, who write well but that's not my forte.

utah - I used to attend Sufi Zhikrs quite often on the east coast where I wore the scarves as turbans to the great amusement of the Sheikh. I'll send you an email.

lindsay - That's something mentioned by my husband on more than one occasion particularly since he's been online long enough not to have complete faith in servers. The Adventures are backed up and I'm planning on writing a few others to share.

Thanks for the reminder. It's much appreciated.

gfid said...

i agree. it's the people.

Lover of Life said...

I appreciate learning about things that I know very little about. I enjoy your blog for so many reasons, but the art, and the time you take to explain it, is very interesting. I think we all have a talent, and one of yours is your art. Having some space and time to spend on it could be lucrative, if you needed it to be. I adore the same scarf as Utah, btw. What about a little rented space, or a shared space, for a studio?

Seraphine said...

everyone needs affirmation and love, and you are very generous with your gifts. you give at least as good as you get, which is a special treat for your readers.

susan said...

gfid - Yes, just a taste of knowing a few people you'd never otherwise meet is gratifying on a larger level.

lol - It's funny you should mention renting a space or sharing one both of which I've done in times past. In the rented space I didn't feel like doing anything and in the shared one I helped with other projects. Working here isn't so bad and the environment relaxes me.

There will be more scarves in the coming months but they're best appreciated physically rather than visually. I'm glad you like them.

sera - It's true that everyone needs affirmation and love. Happy we are who are free to give and and receive those gifts.

okjimm said...

I have declared today “National Say “Hello” Day!


Mary Ellen said...

Your work is so beautiful and I have no doubt that your would NOT be "rejected by the formal arts community". I imagine if you had more space to work, it might be more enjoyable for you. Is there a chance that you will be able to move to a bigger place with an extra bedroom to spare sometime?

Again...your work is magnificent. I especially love the turquoise and olive scarf! Gorgeous!

La Belette Rouge said...

I keep blogging because of the people, the connections and the real friendships I have made blogging. I, as others, would hate it if you went it away. Please stay.

And, le sigh, that scarf!! Soooooo beautiful.

Lisa said...

I'm so glad you share your art with us. All of it. Because of our lifestyle and family commitments, I don't have time or resources to go to galleries and museums like I assumed I would when I became an adult. I appreciate the exposure to both the art and the artist.

susan said...

okjimm - Helloooooooo! There seems to be an echo in here.

me - All right, that's it. You going back on my blog roll again just in case you've been up there posting as well :-)

We do have an extra bedroom for guests, our movie watching and game machines. Maybe I need an extra, extra room but they do fill up fast, don't they? I'm glad you like the scarf and there will be more even if they're a temporary traffic hazard. Makes it more fun.

belette - Of course I'll be staying or how else would I see you or have an excuse for visiting? I'm glad of my friends who have many visitors because I can read them as they comment.

lisa - Well, you might get a somewhat higher level of artistic accomplishment if you went to galleries but you wouldn't get nearly so many rude and funny comments.

Seraphine said...

even doubles over, the turquoise and olive is pretty. you make the most amazing blues. blue is a common theme in your art. blue means that you are available.

Randal Graves said...

People have to do what they dig, on whatever level that dig-ness is found, whether it's 752 posts a day, or painting when a scarf was expected. Too often we don't and thus feel unrewarded. Damn you, The Man.

Pagan Sphinx said...

I think Lindsay has a good idea...


It means a lot to me to come here and be treated to whatever you choose to share of yourself and your work. Every bit is a delight or a revelation; full of love and sincerity.

you wrote:

Where's my scarf?' 'Well, I got bored and decided to paint two pictures instead.'

This made me smile and understand where you are coming from all the more. And appreciate you and your beautiful works all the more.

I gave you an award, but if you read the post, it's really more about wanting to introduce some of my other blogging friends to your world. No obligation.

Thank you for your kind thoughts throughout the ordeal of the loss of my friend Alice.

All the love,

marja-leena said...

Lovely silks! It's common for many artists not to want to get active in selling. It's the part I don't fancy either.

susan said...

sera - and it might just indicate I'm calm.. or remote, or wise, or faithful, or serious, or maybe none. of them. Available's good.

randal - 752 posts a day? Goodness, I haven't managed that many in my entire blog-life but do as I like sounds okay to me.

pagan - I'm delighted I got to know you too and that we share so many interests and beliefs. I'm glad you're feeling better.

marja-leena - It's a subject I've described before and will again. It can be painful.

Odd Chick said...

these scarves are absolutely beautiful- they made my mouth water!