On the morning of September 10th, 2018 I found myself with some very unexpected free time on my hands. My previous commitments had been put on hold indefinitely and I suddenly had the space freed in my mind to bring myself back to thoughts of me.
I'd been so wrapped up all summer taking care of business (so to speak), I hadn't had time to think about me; what did I need? I had been balancing work and volunteering for so long that I was surprised at how cathartic it was to sit down and take some time to really consider who I am at this moment in time in my life, in my career and as an artist.
I was reminded of my previous ambitions to apply for funding to create a giant felted map depicting the entire Bay of Fundy and her tidal river fingers. All that old inspiration I'd bottled up while I was tackling Makers and the museum was starting to bubble back to the surface and I immediately had to sit down at the computer, pouring out a self motivational post that I quickly discovered that I wasn't quite brave enough to share with the world just yet.
Later that day and over the next few days I completed three pieces of art, the next week (with Makers still closed) I did the same again, and then, having to adapt quickly to change I found myself with the opportunity to share my series of recent works, Piece by Piece, as a part of Culture Days, with a pop up show at the Bread Gallery in Brooklyn.
|How I envision Option C for the highway 101 upgrade.|
|Option C and Option D for the highway 101 upgrade.|
Heather Desveaux from the Valley Harvester, who believe it or not was the person who first introduced me to the community of Avondale, stopped by the gallery to ask me a few question about my recent work. As you can see our familiarity made it easy (maybe a bit too easy) for me to express my passion for her majesty the bay and this beautiful county we live in.
Now that this article has been put out into the world I'm finally ready to share that post that got me fired up and released this recent rushing flow of creativity!
Artist, that is a word I've struggled with. As a child when asked the question "what do you want to be when you grow up?" I answered an artist. I was told that wasn't a real job. That only made me more determined. I took special lessons as a youth and eventually ended up at art college and earned my BFA... but still I wasn't comfortable saying I was an artist. Artistic sure, creative and inspired indeed... but after earning a degree and seeing what it actually takes to make it in this world as a professional artist I still didn't feel entitled to bear that title.
Here I am decades later and I still struggle with living up to what it is to truly be an artist. It's one thing to be able to make pretty pictures and even sell items you've made by hand, but somewhere in the back of my mind I feel like my work needs to really say something or evoke some sort of emotional response from the viewer to be considered real honest art. Honestly, as much as it pains me to say, the majority of my work this last decade has been decorative art. Oh what a dirty word. Decorative. Yes, they are beautiful and may make you feel good, but I'd like to push more.
I must say however that I am incredibly proud of the non-decorative work I've contributed over the last few years and I think going forward, to truly fulfill my need to be a true representative of what I feel most passionate about, I need to focus on telling those stories.
I'm not saying that I'm going to stop felting pretty landscapes and doing portraits of nature's creatures, because I don't think I could ever stop, they are a continual source of love and inspiration and sometimes it feels really good to felt an adorable fox or an elegant Great Blue Heron... but for now I think I'm going to take a wee walk down a more challenging path and felt out all my feelings about the irresponsible acts that are shaping our environment. I need to speak up about what I believe to be a horrible mistakes that needs to be rectified immediately before we start referring to the genocide of much of the aquatic life within the Minas Basin.
Yeah, you can see why I sat on that one a while. Promptly after hitting save draft I went and started making the first in a series of portraits of sturgeons, whales and fish that had recently passed through the blades of the abandoned turbine followed by a series on the Windsor causeway... still continuing with that series to date with a plan for a proper exhibition.