Wednesday, March 12, 2008

To every thing there is a season

There was a time in my life when I was ambitious. I wanted recognition. I wanted a career as an artist/designer. I wanted to be published and if not famous, at least to have a certain reputation within a certain circle. I designed patterns that didn't sell very well. (Oh my. They were so complicated) I submitted proposals to magazines that fell on deaf ears. I entered shows and was occasionally accepted. I agonized and swallowed rejection like the bitter pill that it can be. I did not want a hobby, I wanted a career. But my art and my fabric stuff remained in the hobby (now that's a word I really dislike. It sounds so trivial) realm and my careers became raising children and managing shops and studying design and designing publications and being married (yes, that is a career!) and finally finding myself at a place where earning a living was no longer the incentive and I could do pretty much what I wanted to do.
And just lately, things I once pursued longingly, seem to be dropping into my lap unbidden. I have been asked to contribute to a book. I have been asked to write magazine articles. I have been invited to participate in a terrific show of art quilts. I was asked to contribute to a respected online auction (see the post above) and today the piece I donated sold for a nice amount. I am happy, but a little confused by this turn of events and I've been thinking about this quite a lot. If I was once competitive, I don't think I am much anymore. I don't enter many shows. I enjoy making what I make. I enjoy selling it and I enjoy giving it away sometimes.

For a long time I tried so many ways to turn my artmaking into a way to earn money, and that just didn't happen in the way that would have made it a viable job. Maybe if the internet had existed back then. Or if I had been more aggressive, which is probably closer to the truth. But maybe if it had become a job it would have been less enjoyable, less fulfilling—or maybe more. Who knows? I do know that while I was frustrated I was not deterred and here I am still fooling around and making stuff. I don't have any regrets.

But I can't deny that there is a little thrill associated with those little events that recognize that what I do may have some value to someone else. Today's sale of my donation to the Fiber Art for a Cause auction, that supports cancer research, is one such event. Won't you join me, for just a minute, in a big Woo Hoo!
Whew. That felt good! The younger, more ambitious me would have been pretty excited.

This is the quilt that I donated to Virginia Spiegel's Fiberart For a Cause Fundraiser. It sold today for a $675 donation to the American Cancer Society.


  1. Cream rises.
    Your time is now.

  2. congratulations Terry. You deserve recognition. Your message today really spoke to me on several levels. I'm so happy for you and how wonderful to have someone appreciate your work with the spending of the green! Woot!!

  3. Yeah for you. Well, it sure is easier these days to publicize what one does. But that also means lots of competition. And more stimulation and more encouragement from others. Yeah, technology.

  4. Terry,
    Your work is exquisite. Conratulation!
    The times they are a changin'. Our faster, mechanized culture has created a new desire for art and items touched by human hands and hearts.
    I have a big gripe with magazine and book editors is the craft arena. I like a complicated, challenging project and to be able to learn something new. I think the editors prefer work at the lowest common denominator. Must be able to be completed in two hours by someone who has never crafted. When was the last time you were able to buy a craft book that contained information you didn't already know?
    Onward in our second lives ;-)

  5. In my mind's eye you have always been an accomplished artist. Perhaps not famous by your definition but at the top of the list for me. I found one of your patterns in my stash a few months ago and it brought back wonderful memories when we had young families and enjoyed laughs together.

    I know that competitive urge in the gut and like you have seen recognition when least expected. Congratulations!!!

  6. Woo Hoo!
    I love your work!
    You can still be excited...

  7. your work is beautiful and this post really hit me hard as I've been wondering lately if I really care anymore or not about being "known" in the art world...I make what I make and love doing it, but it's been difficult watching my sales dry slowly up these past 8 years...

  8. Anonymous11:19 AM

    Terry - A lovely post. It has been such a joy having you as an Invitational Reverse Auction artist and I am never happier than when I see a piece of artwork go to a patron who really appreciates its merits. Well said, well made, well done!

    Warm regards and sincere thanks,

  9. It's your time. Your voice is strong and unique. I'm only surprised that it's taken the world so long to hear it.

    Bask away, girlfriend!

  10. You deserve every success. Beautiful recollection of your past and present. Sounds like you're coming full circle. Enjoy! Your work is unique.

  11. Anonymous7:38 AM

    I think when you transform something you do for enjoyment into something you do for pay, it's known as "work." As in job. And a lot of the pleasure flies out the window.

    Maybe your late-blooming success comes from creating just for the pleasure of it. The spontaneity and joy must be evident, and that's the difference. And I swear maturity plays a part too. Couldn't happen to a nicer (mature) artist!!

  12. Terry, the quilt is beautiful. What a wonderful donation.

  13. I'll join with the others to say "Woo Hoo!" Thanks for sharing your work, your life and your thoughts with everyone out in Blogland. Yours is the only one of the auction pieces that I lusted for - it is wonderful. Did you send a picture to Jane Sassaman? I'm sure she would enjoy seeing it.

  14. Woo Hoo! It is beautiful and well deserved.

  15. yes a big WOOOO HOOOO! Well done. Our paths have run parallel in so many ways, the interior design career, and now the freedom to produce art for the sake of it, and perhaps with that freedom comes more authentic work, done from the soul and not as a commercial product...... I don't know, but it seems to be working! You know how you sometimes come across someone who wants so badly to get married and have kids, that they end up chasing all potential partners away, and then when they are reconciled to being alone, and comfortable in their own skin, along comes the love of their life? I wonder if it is a similar dynamic operating here? Or maybe we must just accept there is no explanation other than that we are really lucky and just enjoy it! But I bet your parents would be very proud of the work you are doing, of who you have become, and of your generous heart!