Thursday, February 28, 2008


Or not...I'm trying but don't seem to be getting anything done. Doing well at avoidance behavior - cleaned up my studio, did the laundry, yada yada. I have something on the design wall that I want to use as the starting point. These are from screens made from a picture of a tree in Paris. They trim all the branches off and the trees get these knobby ends. Then the branches grow out of those knobs. I guess it helps control the size of the trees so they don't get too big. It makes an interesting image. I used the screens to do deconstructed screen printing a la Kerr Grabowski. You can see how the image develops. It looks very wintery to me.

My next step was to make more thermofax screens using the same image but shrinking it down and making multiple tree images on the same screen. Did that and screened some fabric. But when I cut pieces and started putting them on the design wall, nothing happened. That is, nothing aha! happened. It looked like I was just sticking stuff up on the wall. So I've taken it all down and looked for different fabrics and am starting over. Except I can't seem to focus. It's really difficult to make myself stay and work on this, I keep finding other things I "have" to do (like writing this blog). Maybe it's the season.

I can see that Spring is coming - daffodils are up, snowdrops are blooming, the sun is rising earlier and setting later. But for cripes sake, why is Leap Year Day stuck on the end of the worst month - why not put it at the end of June? I know, it doesn't really make any difference, except mentally. I would rather it be March than February. March is not all that great a month either, but it's closer to Spring than February. Or maybe I should move to the Southern Hemisphere.

Last week I went to the opening of a show in which I have work. The group is Fiber Artists of Baltimore and it's been in existence for about 7 years. Unfortunately, this show is the farewell tour, so to speak. The group has fallen apart and even getting work for this show was a struggle. Of the 15 members only 4 of us had any work to submit. It made me think about group dynamics and what makes one group flourish and another die on the vine. Large groups have similar problems but there are usually new members coming in who have the energy to keep things going. But in a small group when the people who are doing all the work get tired of doing it and want to pass the baton and nobody else is willing to pick it up, that's pretty much the end of the group. The original premise of the group was to have it be a professional organization with the intent of promoting our work and having shows. We had two levels of membership - the professional (had to have slides of work, resume, artist statement, etc.) and the associate (just had to pay the dues). That worked for a while but then even some of the "professionals" had difficulty in meeting the requirements, particularly of having good slides of their work.

So then we thought, well, let's abandon what's not working well and continue with what is - everybody enjoyed and got a lot out of the critique sessions. Let's abandon the formal structure (officers, etc) and just go with meeting monthly and discussing our work. Except no one was willing to even make sure there was a meeting leader and remind people of the next meeting. I had just been co-chair for the previous 3 years and felt I had done my share. With no one else stepping in the group just faded away.

So what is it that keeps a group going? Everybody wanted the benefit of the group and nobody wanted to put out any effort. And the final blow was that there were personality conflicts. It's not necessary to like everybody in a small group, but if there are people who drive you nuts, it's difficult to enjoy the meeting.


Lisa said...

Sorry to hear about your group.

My take on groups: Good food helps.

The best part of my artist support group is the potluck lunch. We talk about our lives as artists and how it fits into the rest of our lives while eating excellent food. Everything else is just a bonus on top of this most important piece.

And we always talk about chocolate on fiberC - hm...

teri springer said...

Can't help you with the groups, I have been trying to get one going during the winter here in Michigan with no luck but it looks like our group in Nova Scotia might be a go.

Re: the trees: interesting image. That's called pollarding and some people consider it defacing the trees but, if done properly, I think the effect can be very interesting.