Friday, March 04, 2005

You think you choose your craft...

I have been thinking a lot about color. I used to think about color when I was designing web pages and decorating my house. I told my artist friend Helen Klebesadel that I was always looking at color in the world, and that I could "see" it, and she said "You're an artist." I was an artist without a craft.

The problem with my stitching is that it isn't that creative in terms of design. It takes a lot of skill and time, but the designs come from other people, and that has frustrated me. I have toyed with creating my own designs, but so far haven't been able to find the right software. I did some of my own designs back in 2000 I think it was. I did it on graph paper. I have a picture of St. Francis that I designed, with a Celtic knotwork border.

Back then, I heard an artist being interviewed on TV, and he said, "We think we choose our craft, but the craft is choosing us." I think there is something mystical about art. I took that sentence and wrote it out in calligraphy, with an illuminated letter and some trees. I still have it.

Now that I have started with quilting classes and am learning about making scrapbooks, I am suddenly interested in color again. The fabric I chose for my quilt was very different than the fabric other people in the class were using. They were using conventional quilting fabric with bright colors. Mine is an Africa theme, browns, sepias and some green. I didn't pick it up in the quilting section. Of course this doesn't mean I am competent at quilting (quite the contrary, I was the slowest one in the class).

The scrapbooking folks tend to use color wheels. I don't need a color wheel -- I can see it. But I got interested in color wheels recently and did a lot of reading on the internet. I decided to buy myself a fairly elaborate color wheel, which I found on eBay new for $.50.

When I was growing up, I was more interested in art than in anything else. My parents gave me no support for it though. They didn't think it was important. Then one day, in junior high school, the art teacher told my mother that I was talented but wasn't working hard enough. True, I wasn't completing a lot of the things I started because I took so much time doing them. But one of my paintings was hanging in the school office (I still have it!). My mother got all over me about that. Still, no opportunity to gather skills. I was forced to play the flute instead.

So here I am, decades later, still looking for a craft.

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