Wednesday, July 15, 2015

It takes a village . . .

. . . to make an artist.   There's a persistent myth out there of the solitary (starving) artist up in a garret, slaving away in solitude, a mad genius, alone and misunderstood.  This myth goes back to the Romantic era in art, literature and music, which glorified the unique vision of the individual artist who challenged conventional ways of seeing the world.  But the truth is that most artists rely very much on the moral (and financial) support of the communities they find along the way.  We need to see if what we do truly communicates, truly reaches anyone.  We need feedback.  We need to share in order to grow.  It takes a village to make an artist. 

Photo by Alice Muson-Wood
I saw this again over the weekend at the opening reception for my husband Sam's photography show, LatticeWork.  We are so grateful for the incredible support we have both enjoyed from the friends and family who show up to our shows, buy our work, and just generally show an interest in our efforts.  It means so much to have someone else's eyes on your work, telling you what they see, asking questions, and encouraging you to keep going. 

I had lunch yesterday with Ann, one of the weavers who first taught me how to weave at the Chattahoochee Handweavers Guild (CHG).  This time she was sharing her tips and tricks on using the Fiberworks PCW, the weave drafting software I bought not long ago.  She opened up a whole new world of design possibilities for me as she unpacked the mysteries of the Tool and Tieup tabs!  I was happy when in return I was able to share a tip about weaving with a clasped weft.  (Put the second weft in a shuttle on the floor, and treat it as a floating selvedge, looping the primary weft around it on each pick, and pulling the clasped wefts to the desired spot along the fell.  I find it easier than juggling two shuttles.  See the photos below.  Of course I didn't invent this technique--I picked it up from another weaver here.)
I've been attending two study groups lately connected to the CHG.  The Tapestry Study Group was very helpful last week in looking at some of the collages I've been doing in preparation for weaving my next tapestry.  Amazingly there seemed to be a consensus that one was clearly the strongest, so I've been moving ahead on that front.  Thank you, fellow tapestry weavers!

The other study group is for those of us interested in sewing clothing.  Carmen does a fabulous job of gathering and sharing lots of resources on clothing design and construction.  I am learning so much from my fellow artists and sewists in this group.  (You can learn more about these groups at CHG's blog here--scroll down to posts from April 24 and May 7.)

There are several other local and national groups I belong to, each one a vital resource for sharing information, experience, and opportunities for shows, sales, and education.  Here's the list of links on my website:

American Tapestry Alliance
Chattahoochee Handweavers Guild
Handweavers Guild of America

SouthEast Fiber Arts Alliance
Surface Design Association
 Tapestry Weavers South
Artists Who Teach

If you're an artist and don't belong to at least one supportive study group, guild, class or club--go find one!  If you're not a practicing artist but love to support your friends who are--THANK YOU!  We appreciate your patronage. 

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