Updated: Mar 20
I've been meaning to reach out to all of you, putting it off, thinking about what in the world to write about that isn't a waste of your time to read. It's hard to know what to share, how to engage with you, how to navigate this very loud and ever-changing social media morass! I think it's safe to assume, though, that if you've subscribed to my website that you'd actually enjoy hearing from me on occasion. Forgive me for being lazy about my journaling with you!
Most of you surely already know that I spent several weeks last year doing some live streaming on Facebook in an effort to connect with you while we were all shut up inside our homes, and also to recoup the income loss of all shows/festivals being canceled. Going live also gave me a much faster and easier way to create content to finally start a YouTube channel. This gave me the confidence to speak more fluently about everything I've learned about my medium. I think this is an important aspect to where I'm headed in the future, which I'll talk more about later in this post.
I also spent quite a lot of my marketing hours trying to learn more about how to effectively use Pinterest. I am still flummoxed by how people make money on that platform as I have never tracked a single shopper coming from Pinterest to my website in spite of the buzz I've had around a few of my pins. At some point after several hours of research, video watching, tons of pin creations and even some ad dollar investments over the course of eight months, I threw my hands in the air and let it go. Sometimes I feel like an old lady who failed to keep up with this strange new world of online social shopping.
This spring brought an important confluence of events. The 10th Annual Indiana Artisan Marketplace was canceled yet again, I received another order for creating hand-painted scarves as gifts of state, and I was asked to provide a scarf collection in a small gallery showing at the Garrett Museum of Art. The title for the main gallery show at GMoA was "Requiem for the Divine," and I'd already been doing a ton of research on all sorts of heady topics, such as: our current interface with Artificial Intelligence, Transhumanism, CRISPR, cryptocurrency and blockchain technology advances. I know. It's a lot.
One key phrase kept being used over and over as I researched each of these individual topics: "It will make you question what it means to be human." This phrase ate away at me until I was able to arrive at my own answer to that question, and because my answer is an answer that fewer and fewer people in the world can accept as fact- i.e. that we are made in the image of God created to magnify His glory and to exclusively worship Him- I had an overwhelming desire to see if I could convey for the first time in my life the insides of me simply through dye on silk without ever uttering an audible word. I know. It. Is. Quite. A lot. I've never attempted to fully bare my soul like this. I can feel comfortable giving you pieces of me, but this past 18 months has served to strip me bare, rub me raw, make me no longer care as much if you actually like my work even. Here are a few initial pieces that fell out of me fairly easily once I got going....
I'm calling this my "Meditation on the Creation" series. I've never tried to create a series of work before, never had a real gumption to. Everything has changed for me, and yet in so many ways, I'm simply getting back to where my passion for silk painting began. I learned this medium by painting large scale 2D church banners. The only reason I started painting scarves and making all sorts of other gift items was in an effort to create an online boutique as a means of having a steady income stream to pay for supplies. It's worked out well for me, and I know that at least for the foreseeable future, it is important and enjoyable for me to continue. I truly do love making beautiful one of a kind things for you to have and to give! But make no mistake- in my heart of hearts, I'm more than just "the scarf lady."
To that end, after much encouragement from the husband that I was starting to create my own form language and artistic voice worth being explored and eventually promoted, I took a deep breath and entered my first ever 2D art show this summer by submitting the above three pieces to the jury for the 97th Annual Hoosier Salon Exhibition. Although I felt the first two images were the strongest, one can never predict an individual juror's response. Husband and I attended the opening at the Indiana State Museum where that last photo above was taken, me standing beside the one piece that was accepted into the exhibit.
Just a couple of weeks prior, we attended the opening of the Good 'Ole Summertime exhibit at the Hoosier Salon gallery in New Harmony, Indiana. We weren't sure we would go since it's nearly a four hour drive one way, but when I was informed my piece had won an award, I didn't want to miss the in-person experience. The juror for that show gave my "Batik Genome Map" (below) the first place prize. It was an honor to receive that $300 check!
As an aside, it's worth mentioning that this spring I also learned how to build my own custom frames. I purchased a job site table saw after watching hours of videos on how to use one. I make all of my own frames now and have developed my own method for how I like to see my work presented. I have a fine art painter friend who was kind enough to offer me his two cents about my new work in general, how it should be presented, some very much needed encouragement to make 20 pieces before giving a single thought to marketing, along with the incredibly generous gift of some of his recorded teachings. It's impossible to fully express how grateful I am to have people in my life that share like this! I was kind of kicking myself after we left his house that I'd jumped the gun entering these initial pieces in shows. I'll be holding off on that type of exposure until I have my whole series completed.
Which brings me to the topic of teaching. I've been asked multiple times over the past couple of years if I ever offer workshops or do any tutoring. I have persistently avoided this, always feeling like I don't have enough time to accomplish all the work I want to do as it is. Lately, though, it seems important to make it more of a priority to figure out. I don't know exactly why, but I never ignore these nudges. It's a big reason I started the YouTube channel. I've been researching how other painters handle workshops, prices, venues, supplies, etc. It is a daunting task to take this on, and I've not had the confidence before now to believe that I am even worthy of teaching others. The more I reflect on everything I've learned over the past 15 years, the more I realize I truly could help someone else who's at the beginning of their silk painting journey. Stay tuned for more on that subject, and please do reach out if this is something in which you are personally interested.
If you're following me on Instagram, then you've seen all my latest bag making efforts. It is a complete departure from 2D work, I realize, but I promise I'm not going mad! I'd been planning all along to take a short break from 2D painting in order to stock up for holiday shoppers. I thought I was going to have a holiday marketplace opportunity in November, but that's been canceled now too. Rather than abandon my original plan, I decided to keep the faith that some of you will want to return to my little online store again this Christmas season. I'm in the middle of creating a new line of limited edition handbags, and will continue after that with a new personalized collectible ornament and some fun new Christmas themed night lights. Keep watching for the release of the bags as I intend on giving away the one and only tote sized bag I made as a way to say thank you!
As I've been saying to so many others lately, "You just gotta find a way to keep going!" I now say that to myself daily. There truly is always a reason to have hope, and I'm trusting that somebody out there is happy to have encountered this journal today. I make and pray, pray and make, each day, and just keep going. I hope you are too!