Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Changing things

Today I painted this fabric to use in my tree piece. I think it's really pretty and I hope it works well for the tree. I have some ideas for doing things a little differently than I have been doing. I usually use commercial print fabrics, and I love them, but I am also fascinated with the processes for making my own fabrics. I struggle with this. It is hard not to see what other people are doing and want to do that, but it also feels very important and truthful to me to do things my own way.

Rayna wrote something on her blog tonight that really struck me. She was quoting T.D. Max,the author of an article about the late writer, David Foster Wallace, who was struggling to change his writing style. Max said "style runs so deep, you think you can change how you write. But to change how you write, you really have to change how you think. ..." Rayna commented that the same thing probably applies to visual art as well.

I have tried, in the past, to emulate other fabric artists that I admired and it just doesn't work. I go back to what I do, because that is what I do. It used to be frustrating, but I am resigned that my style comes from my way of thinking, which would be pretty hard to change in a big way, but should constantly change in small ways. Otherwise you are just repeating yourself endlessly. So I am working with my own painted fabrics, but I haven't lost my love of pattern and a kind of graphic line work. It may be a mess, but you are invited to watch over my shoulder. I'll tell you the truth and show you the mess, if that's what happens!


  1. I'll watch! I suspect that no matter what enticing techniques you use (changing how you write), they will ultimately still reflect much of your style (not changing how you think).

  2. Your interpretation (?) about changing styles really rang a bell with me - I'll be thinking about what you've said and will start a discussion about this with my quilt group.

    It's amazing how when I walk into a meeting after everyone's pulled out their show-and-tell I can point to each new quilt and be able to tell who's done what.

    Some of our members try to force themselves to think out of their "box" just for the sake of doing it - I'm looking forward to discussing 'style' with my group.

    Thanks for the thought stir.

  3. Anonymous11:40 AM

    CHANGE is good I think!
    I wrote about my change on my blog and I agreed with you Terry, we try to be like other people but in the end we go back to our own ways and change in small ways.
    Small change is good!!!

  4. Your conundrum, Terry, is one we all face. How to change without simply falling into someone else's traps -- how to be true to one's one vision and yet change.

    Your vision is terrific. I think it's healthy to think about change and play with ideas, but I also think you are wise to know your strengths and not lose them. But then I like your strengths -- they are so different from mine, maybe I should change and try to be more graphic --snort --

    Speaking of health, I'm glad to see you are blogging -- this probably means you don't have pneumonia or whatever else comes with the ghastly stuff you've been suffering from. Take care of yourself.

    By the way, the article on David Foster Wallace is in the New Yorker -- I have a link to it. It's long, but fascinating -- even more so than Rayna's excerpt from the interviewer.

    Take care.

  5. So what does it mean when you don't really have a style? I feel like I have yet to find mine and think it is great that your style shows through in what you do. Personally, I like your style and would be disappointed if it started looking like someone else's.