Monday, July 13, 2015

Act On Your Ideas

Stonewall - Terry Jarrard-Dimond
hand painted fabric with stitching

I ended my last article in this series with the admonition that you must Act On Your Ideas.  This is so important.  Over and over I hear creative people share this idea.  You must act and if you aren't in a position to get to your studio when you have a great idea you must note it somewhere.  Just today I heard an interview with a singer-songwriter and he related that if he gets an idea in the middle to the night he gets up and records his inspiration whether it is a complete thought or not.  

Creative inspirations can be very fickle and fleeting if not made real.  Ideas have their own time schedule.  This idea doesn't apply only to art, it applies to all creative endeavors.  Napoleon Hill was a famous inspirational/self-help writer.  One of his catch phrases which lots of other people now use is JUST TAKE ACTION.  (Does this sound familiar....Just do it!)  Two of Hill's most  famous works are Think and Grow Rich and The Laws of Attraction.  Hill gathered the material for his work by interviewing the most famous men of his time. (I am confident were he doing his interviews today there would be women included.)  From these giants of industry and letters he found certain elements and ways of doing things that were common to them.  Taking action was one of those elements.

You don't have to be fully formed to get started on your work.  If that were true no one would ever start anything. But we live in a society were everyone wants to be a superstar and often find it difficult to be a beginner.  Think of all the great people and of their amazing journeys to reach the tops of their profession.  They were beginners who took action.

Next:  Where do ideas come from?

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Studio 24-7 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Quilts 20/20 Traditional Works/Contemporary Art

I was really pleased to be invited to be a part of Quilts 20/20 Traditional Works/Contemporary Art at the Susquehanna Art Museum.  The museum is in Harrisburg, Pa. and the show opened June 19 and will run through August 31.

Pat Pauley was the guest Curator and this is her Curator's Notes as presented in the catalog.

"I often straddle the two camps of traditional quilters and art quilters.  In shaping this exhibition, I drew twenty glorious quilts from historical collections and twenty throughout-provoking works from contemporary artists.  This is an open discussion on both the stylistic changes in the quilt genre, and the new work that has transformed the term "quilt."

The contemporary artists have not made direct replies to the historical works in any way - this was not a "call and response" challenge.  Even so, the dialogues between works speaks a universal design language of line, form, color, movement, and composition.  This is what I find exciting.

I see the effect through modern eyes: three centuries of artistic effort meet and, by virtue of proximity, the works reflect light from one to another, spanning the decades."

The artists represented in the exhibition are:

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Studio Twenty-Four Seven

Monday, June 8, 2015

What Happens In the Studio

X-Ray Vision - Terry Jarrard-Dimond

When I enter the studio with the intention of beginning new work I am as nervous as a cat.  I'm anxious to get started and hoping something great will reveal itself.  I often have an idea that began to form during the making of a previous piece and that idea is swirling around in my head.  It doesn't mean I'm going to do this specifically but it is a seed of an idea that gets me going.

Most artist have some routine they must go through in order to get started.  It might be sitting and reading, drinking a cup of coffee or clearing the clutter.  This routine is helping them get centered and ready to settle into working.  My routine is often all of these things.  It is a quiet time.

Working with fabric often means rummaging through containers of fabric, sorting and resorting, then pinning things on the design wall until you begin to see something happening.  The process is one decision after another and works will often stay in the part of the process for many days until you get that special Happy Feeling that means you have answered the questions you have set forth for yourself for this piece.  The work is then stitched together and the finishing begins.

One of the most important parts of the studio experience is that you learn to ACT ON YOUR IDEAS.
That will be my next topic.

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Studio 24-7.

Monday, May 18, 2015

What Do I Need to Make Art

Work area in my new small studio.

It sounds simple.....The number one thing I need to work on my art is a place to work.  A studio.  As many of you know I lived in an old house for many years and it had many rooms that provided great studio spaces for both Tom and me.  In addition we build a shared studio to our for wet messy work.  During this same time we also had a studio in the mountains where we retreated on weekends.  In our new home we each a much smaller space and we are almost finished with our new shared space....I can't wait.

I tell you this because the studio is the place where things happen.  It is the place where you can explore and delve into your ideas.  You can make a mess with a purpose.  It's where you bring your ideas into the world.  If you have not found a way to make space for yourself to work where you don't have to clear the decks every time you serve a meal you are missing out on a great experience.

Design wall in my new small studio.

In addition to just having a space, I have to have a certain amount of order.  I'm not even close to be a "neat-freak" but I find it difficult to work if I have to move a bunch of stuff every time I want to work.  Junk can become a hurdle for me so I try to stay ahead of the curve.  Do I always achieve a clean space?  No.  But I try to stay on top of the mess.

I also need a design wall, a good chair, good light (that's something that needs work in my new space), and a sense of privacy.  I have worked in spaces that were very public but that isn't the best situation.  I like to explore and develop my work in my own way without always having an audience.

What else makes for a happy studio experience?  Music or silence on any given day.  Books and other materials to stimulate my thinking and support my ideas.  The internet as long as it isn't IN my space. It's too distracting.  And lets not forget whatever materials and equipment required to work in the way I want to work.

Making your space the best it can be will pay off in more productivity and a happier working experience.  I think I'll go clean something ;-)

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Studio 24-7!

Monday, May 11, 2015


Confronting the Moon - 2006
45"x 44.75"

I was invited to speak at the recent gathering of the members of the Art Quilt Network.  I was not able to attend the meeting due to the death of my mother but I sent the program to Eleanor McCain who presented the material for me.  Thank you Eleanor.

The topic of the talk was My Personal Studio Practice.  Preparing this talk was a very interesting experience for me as my thinking of what should be included developed over time.  I wrote and rewrote and added and subtracted material right up to the time I shipped the talk to Eleanor.  \\

The original form of the talk was more focused around the actual physical things I did but it became more and more clear to me that these activities were the result of all the other things you have done in your life.  I will be taking about some of my thoughts on studio practice during the next few weeks.

I majored in art in undergraduate school but did not really begin to develop a studio practice until I entered graduate school at Clemson University.  Graduate pushes you to get your thinking, your heart and your skills in line and learn what you need to learn.  One way to get these things together is to learn to be accountable to yourself for what you need to do, learn or perhaps put aside.

As students we are often driven by assignments and deadlines.  As adults we can also be driven by shows or other commitments to "show" our work which usually comes with deadlines.  These types of pressures can be good and help you get into your studio but I think the most important type of accountability is where you are true to yourself.  This type of accountability is looking at what you have done in relation to your personal dreams and desires.  Other people may not appreciate what you want to accomplish.  They may not think you are reaching high enough or perhaps think you are over-rearching.  It doesn't matter.  The important thing is how you are meeting your personal goals.

Of course the first step is to have some goals.  


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Studio 24-7.