Mining the Past, Creating in the Present

Earlier this month, I spent a whirlwind weekend in the SF Bay Area, combining art exhibits, a film, and meetings. Although all different, they stimulated thoughts about originality, an issue that often arises in artistic circles: If I use cloth that someone else dyed or wove or embroidered, is my textile art not original? If the artist "copies" someone else's work but gives it a slightly different twist, is that plagiarism? Whose art is it anyway?

Jim Jarmusch. Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wcUwxcbhtdQ

Jim Jarmusch. Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wcUwxcbhtdQ

This all started with the film "Paterson." Curious about what was behind the story--the daily life of a bus driver who's also a poet--I decided to do an internet search. In the process of reading about the filmmaker, Jim Jarmusch, I came across something he said in an interview:

Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic.

Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don't bother concealing your thievery--celebrate it if you like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: "It's not where you take things from, it's where you take them to."

Godard's quote has stayed with me: What we do with what we've "taken," where we go with it, is what counts. After all, is there any subject matter for art that doesn't already exist? When it comes to what inspires us to create something new, we turn to the past and to perennial sources--nature, emotions, people, animals, ideas, beliefs, geometry, and so on. In a sense, it's like playing a piano. In an address presented on the occasion of his 2014 exhibition "Let the Games Begin," Gerhardt Knodel, fiber artist and former director at Cranbrook Academy of Art, said:

A piano offers eighty-eight keys to be played. Which ones to choose? Endless combinations have been explored, realms of melodies and harmonies and rhythms have been uncovered in that field of eighty-eight keys, but the appetite for pursuing the potential is not spoiled by what has been done before.

On the contrary, we mine from the past what captures our attention and fuels our creativity in the present.

Screened Icosahedral Lamp (2013), by Phil Webster; 3D-printed plaster composite with LED light.

Screened Icosahedral Lamp (2013), by Phil Webster; 3D-printed plaster composite with LED light.

Coincidental to my going to the movies, earlier in the day, I viewed "Reverberating Echoes: Contemporary Art Inspired by Traditional Islamic Art," curated by Carol Bier, at the Doug Adams Gallery in Berkeley. In the show's title, notice the word "Inspired by" rather than "Designs Stolen from." The seven artists of diverse backgrounds draw upon an Islamic visual heritage, one which is not necessarily inherent in each one's personal history. Does that mean that they're appropriating from another culture, that they're copying the patterns of anonymous artists and artisans from the past? Or can we see their artwork as appreciation? The old adage, "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery," comes to mind. Two examples from the show follow.

Born in Michigan, conceptual artist Nazanin Hedayat Munroe has studied Persian art history. In the work below, she combines textiles that recall "the sheen, drapery, and translucency of silk, long cherished in the visual arts of Iran." She also references the poetry of Nizami (d. 1209) and Hafez (d. 1389). But clearly she has originated her own expression.

"100 Destinies, 2015," by Nazanin Hedayat Munroe. Textile and mixedmedia installation: hand-painted silk gown, dressmaker's form, thread, map pins, and poems of Hafez on cardstock.

"100 Destinies, 2015," by Nazanin Hedayat Munroe. Textile and mixedmedia installation: hand-painted silk gown, dressmaker's form, thread, map pins, and poems of Hafez on cardstock.

Detail of "100 Destinies, 2015," by Nazanin Hedayat Munroe.

Detail of "100 Destinies, 2015," by Nazanin Hedayat Munroe.

Chris Palmer, born in Pennsylvania, studied origami with Japanese masters and also visited the Alhambra (Moorish palace and fortress complex) in Spain. Using mathematical formulas, he explores the two distinct and ancient cultural traditions of tilings and tessellations by folding handmade paper and undyed silk to create lines and geometric patterns.

"Shadowfold Whirlspools" (1997), folded and pleated silk, uncut and undyed, by Chris Palmer.

"Shadowfold Whirlspools" (1997), folded and pleated silk, uncut and undyed, by Chris Palmer.

"Shadowfold Zillij Dodecagrams" (2010) and "Shadowfold Zillij Octagrams" (1997), folded and pleated silk, uncut and undyed, by Chris Palmer.

"Shadowfold Zillij Dodecagrams" (2010) and "Shadowfold Zillij Octagrams" (1997), folded and pleated silk, uncut and undyed, by Chris Palmer.

Folded and pleated silk, uncut and undyed, (detail), by Chris Palmer.

Folded and pleated silk, uncut and undyed, (detail), by Chris Palmer.

Folded and pleated silk, uncut and undyed, (detail), by Chris Palmer.

Folded and pleated silk, uncut and undyed, (detail), by Chris Palmer.

[If you can get to Berkeley to see these works up close as well as those of the other artists, the exhibit runs until May 26.]

Then the latest member magazine from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SF MOMA) came in the mail and, once again, the question of inspiration and originality popped up. This time, it concerns two celebrated artists, one French, the other American. Richard Diebenkorn (1922-1993) first became obsessed with the art of Henri Matisse (1869-1954) when he was a student at Stanford University. As he put it, "Right there I made contact with Matisse, and it has just stuck with me all the way." Over time, Diebenkorn incorporated elements--both the how and the what to paint--that drew him to the French painter's oeuvre. The upcoming exhibition at SF MOMA includes about 100 paintings and drawings by both artists. When you look at two below, do you doubt originality? 

"View of Notre Dame" (1914), by Henri Matisse. Museum of Modern Art, NY.  Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/View_of_Notre-Dame

"View of Notre Dame" (1914), by Henri Matisse. Museum of Modern Art, NY. 
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/View_of_Notre-Dame

"Ocean Park #79 (1975), by Richard Diebenkorn. Museum of Modern Art, Fort Worth, Texas. ©The Estate of Richard Diebenkorn. Source: http://www.themodern.org/ocean-park-79

"Ocean Park #79 (1975), by Richard Diebenkorn. Museum of Modern Art, Fort Worth, Texas. ©The Estate of Richard Diebenkorn. Source: http://www.themodern.org/ocean-park-79

There are countless instances in which artists become enchanted and engaged with the art of another culture or a particular painter, sculptor, weaver, or ceramist. And why not? As American painter Lee Krasner (1908-1984) once said, "We are all influenced by other artists. Art brings about art." We come across things that others have made: We like the way they patterned the fabric. We're drawn to the mark-making or the combination of gems and metals or the thick brush strokes. We're dazzled by the geometrical pattern in a mosaic floor. If we then create something using those inspirations, is our work still original?
[see also 17 August 2014 post: exploringtheheartofit.weebly.com/blog/whats-original]

I look for understanding about this issue through a bit of etymology. The word "origin" is derived from the Latin oriri, to rise, and defined as "the point at which something begins or rises...something that creates, causes, or gives rise to another." By the 14th century, "original" meant "not secondary, derivative, or imitative" but "inventive; new." Since 1942, "originality" is construed as "freshness of aspect, design, or style; the power of independent thought or constructive imagination." Perhaps "constructive imagination" is the answer. Using what we chance upon, are drawn to, or find interesting, we use our imagination to construct something new, something that authentically originates from ourselves.

Questions and Comments:
What does originality mean to you?
If you find yourself wanting to use something from another artist, how do you make it your own?
What examples of blatant imitation, copying, or plagiarism come to mind? 

*Note: To view the conversation that was started on the former Weebly site of this blog and add your comment, click here or to start a new conversation, click "Comment" below.

Quitting Art?

I've not been able to post these last few weeks because I was intensely involved in activities in South Korea. I am part of a team of four women (Lissa Miner, an American woman living in Seoul; Youngmin Lee, a Korean woman living and teaching bojagi in California; Misik Kim, a Korean woman living and teaching in Seoul; and myself in California) working on two projects. Three of us are bringing a Korean fiber art exhibit to art centers in Northern California next year. And three of us are organizing a 10-day culture/fiber art tour to South Korea next October. I flew over to deal with important details for both.

I was also invited to give a presentation on creativity and facilitate a workshop on "Composing in Small Spaces: Textile Cards." (Many thanks to Misik Kim for the invitation.) The day-long event took place on the green campus of a former university in Suwon, just outside of Seoul. It has been turned into a center for art, craft, and design, called Smart Republic of Korea. It includes studios, classrooms, and galleries. My group met on the ground level in a large area with high ceilings, where we enjoyed a lovely breeze coming in from the open doors.

The following images are from the textile art workshop upstairs where Misik Kim teaches in addition to her classes at Sookmyung Women's University in Seoul.

Ordinarily, I wouldn't write about my workshop experience, but focus instead on the inspiring artwork I viewed in private and national museums and galleries as well as the patterns and shapes that captured my attention wherever I looked. (For example, in and around Seoul there are such interesting bridges that I'd love to do a whole series of wall hangings based on them.) But I have decided to share my day in Suwon first because of how one student in particular responded. I think it's relevant to anyone pursuing a passion and wondering whether it's really the right track to be on.

Before we started the workshop part of the day, I shared my philosophy about creativity, which includes spontaneity and improvisation but not perfectionism and formulas. We don't have to know ahead of time exactly what we're going to wind up with. I also told them that I wasn't there to teach a technique. Rather, my intention was to convey an open-minded attitude toward art-making. I encouraged them to "sing" with their own unique voice, to bring forth what only they could express. I was able to do this thanks to Mihe Shin, a photographer/artist, who generously translated for me the entire day.

Then I gave a simple demonstration and general instructions for creating a small textile card that fits inside a photo frame card, which in turn fits inside a deckle envelope. It can be sent, gifted, framed, or become part of a larger project. This exercise is a way to prime the pump, cut through blocks, spark ideas, try them out, and invite surprises. My emphasis is on letting the class time be fun. I urge participants to feel free to experiment and play, with no agenda in mind, thus allowing something new and different to arise.

I set out a pile of fabric scraps and design samples, some papers, beads of many colors, and other items for embellishment. The women also brought their own stuff to work with. Everyone was given already-cut pieces of flexible but solid material to serve as the foundation, along with a fusible and a cropping frame. They could do any kind of stitching, by hand and/or machine. No limits, except for size.

As I walked around the "mess" on every work table, I watched as each woman did something entirely different from the woman next to her. One braided strips of white slinky fabric as part of her background. Another cut out the circles in a fabric's pattern so that aspects of a second fabric underneath could appear through the holes. Yet another layered small pieces of organza. Everyone did some hand-stitching. I was glad they jumped into it right away. It was as though all I had to do was give them permission not to follow someone else's pattern but to originate their own design. By the end of the short workshop, some people had made at least two cards. 

I had the whole group display their cards on tables at the front. Although they'd all received the same guidelines, the creative diversity was fascinating. Also, I never said they should stay within the frame or expand beyond it, yet some of the women clearly moved out of the box. Though I had lined up some of my own cards on the ledge of the blackboard, I was gratified to see that no one had made anything like mine. Each card was truly an original work. And several gave me some new ideas.

In the end, it was not the resulting card that mattered but the process they'd gone through--how they felt and what they learned. Since there was no formula to follow and nothing to copy, I wanted to know how the exercise affected them. Because I'd not seen anything these women created in the past, I couldn't assess whether what I saw was a big departure from their usual expression. 

At first, the women were shy to voice their feelings. Then, gradually, I heard how much freer and looser and more spontaneous they were in engaging with the materials, maybe trying something different since there were no strict rules, no test, and no judging, for I had encouraged them to remember what it was like to be in kindergarten. 

Then one woman was brave enough to step forward and reveal her heart. She had been conflicted about attending the workshop, for it meant skipping a class. At the last minute, she'd decided to come. She expressed how it was exactly what she needed, for she had reached a crossroads where she was torn about what to do. She shared with us that she has felt lonely, that her artwork isn't cherished by others, yet that of her studio mate is. Her doubts had grown to the point where she found herself on the verge of forsaking art altogether. Now, she knew she wouldn't give up.

How the workshop experience and my words flipped a switch inside her, I certainly can't explain. But when we shift our attitude, when we let go and simply move inside the process rather than fixate on some outside measurement, something happens--things get clear and we know that we have to follow our passion, regardless of the circumstances, however we can.

I told the young woman that Van Gogh, among so many other artists, had to paint, even though no one supported his art except his brother Theo. Yes, it definitely feels wonderful when we receive kudos for our artwork, be it dance, music, weaving, or writing. But perhaps the difference between being an artist and not being one is not whether someone praises what we make, publicly displays it, or purchases it, but whether we have to keep creating anyway. 

Questions & Comments:
Have you ever been at a point where you wanted to give up making art?
How did you overcome it, if you did?
What would you advise others at the brink of forsaking their passion?

*Note: To view the conversation that was started on the former Weebly site of this blog and add your comment, click here or to start a new conversation, click "Comment" below.

Freedom to Create Art

Recently, my husband emailed me a link to an article in the New York Times. While he often alerts me to stories about art, this one was about women and bicycles in the Islamic Middle East, and whether they had permission from father/husband/etc. to ride. When two women, covered from head to toe, pedaled their clunkers up Salahuddin Road in Gaza, they caused quite a stir. The reporter wrote, "The sight of women on two wheels was so unusual that Alaa, 11, who was grazing sheep on the grassy median, assumed they were foreigners and shouted out his limited English vocabulary: 'Hello! One, two, three!'"

1897 advertisement in "The Graphic" for Elliman's Universal Embrocation (manufactured in Slough, England). Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org

1897 advertisement in "The Graphic" for Elliman's Universal Embrocation
(manufactured in Slough, England). Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org

In Western countries as well, women riding bicycles were a strange apparition at first. In this British advertisement from 1897, why did the man fall off his bicycle? Was he shocked at seeing a woman dressed in a bloomers outfit or at her having a bicycle? What, you might wonder, does all this have to do with art?

The Times article made me reflect on the freedoms and advantages we too easily take for granted. Had I been born 200 years ago, even 100 years ago, I highly doubt I would have had the opportunity to make the choices I've been fortunate to make and follow my heart's desires. I've never had to ask anyone for permission to ride a bicycle, get an education, write articles and books, create textile art, or travel.

Indirectly, the article also led me to the fact that March is Women's History Month, at least in the U.S., and that's where art enters the picture. 

Source: www.pittsfordschools.org

Source: www.pittsfordschools.org

Like a woman cyclist in the Middle East today, a woman artist was also once an anomaly. I still remember my university art history class (1968?): not one female artist appeared in H.W. Janson's text, History of Art. (I understand that the latest editions do include women.) It's not that women artists were non-existent; rather, Janson didn't deign to consider them worthy of being in his history of art.

National Museum of Women in the Arts, 1250 New York Ave. NW, Washington, DC. Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org

National Museum of Women in the Arts, 1250 New York Ave. NW, Washington, DC. Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org

I realize now that, in this regard, nothing during my student years had changed since 1944, when Wilhelmina Cole Holladay graduated Elmira College with a degree in art history. She hadn't encountered women artists in her texts either. But a trip to Europe made her aware of this gross omission when she and her husband Wallace came across paintings by 17th-century Dutch still-life artist Clara Peeters. Since they had never heard of Peeters or other women artists whose work they soon admired, the Holladays began to specialize in collecting, exhibiting, and researching women artists of all nationalities and time periods in order to highlight their accomplishments.

"Still Life with Cheeses, Artichoke, and Cherries" (1612-1618), by Clara Peeters. Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org

"Still Life with Cheeses, Artichoke, and Cherries" (1612-1618), by Clara Peeters. Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org

In 1981, the Holladays incorporated the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) and opened its doors in Washington, D.C., in 1987. It is dedicated to celebrating women’s achievements in the visual, performing, and literary arts. Toward that end, it has acquired more than 4,500 paintings, sculptures, works on paper, and decorative arts from as early as the 1500s. While some women artists might object to being ghettoized in this way, the museum demonstrates in a big way that art has not been confined to one gender.

"The Earth" (1984), by Kimsooja. Source: http://nmwa.org/works/earth

"The Earth" (1984), by Kimsooja. Source: http://nmwa.org/works/earth

It's also not confined to the historical limitations of the term "fine arts." This textile piece by South Korean artist Kimsooja originates from a childhood of sewing traditional bed covers with her mother and grandmother. She constructs contemporary collages from bits of old materials family members give her, then embellishes with thick embroidery thread, and adds thinned paint over the satiny jacquard fabrics for texture.

Women in the Arts, 2015. National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C. Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org

Women in the Arts, 2015. National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C. Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org

Over the years, Wilhelmina created individual committees of more than 1,000 volunteers from 27 states and 7 countries, to provide educational opportunities to children through schools and such groups as the Girl Scouts, as well as offer opportunities for adults to participate in and encourage art in local communities around the world.

Because of the Holladays' efforts, I have learned about such artists as Lavinia Fontana (1552-1614), considered the first woman artist, outside of a court or convent, to work within the same sphere as her male counterparts. She was also the first to paint female nudes, and she did it all while being the principal breadwinner for the 13 members of her family.

"Self-portrait at the Clavichord with a Servant" (1576), by Lavinia Fontana. Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org

"Self-portrait at the Clavichord with a Servant" (1576), by Lavinia Fontana. Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org

Tewa artist Margaret Tafoya, New Mexico. Source: http://nmwa.org/

Tewa artist Margaret Tafoya, New Mexico.
Source: http://nmwa.org/

There are so many more that are new to me, from centuries ago as well as in contemporary times. I'm gratified to learn that they've all successfully risen to the challenge of creating art, whatever their conditions and circumstances.

During Women's History Month, I acknowledge not only famous women artists, but also those who are creatively engaged and expressive everywhere, in particular, those who struggle against the kinds of restraints women encounter in something as basic--at least to me--as riding a bicycle.

For her 2008 documentary "Unveiled Views: Muslim Women Artists Speak Out," Spanish filmmaker Alba Sotorra hitchhiked from Barcelona to Pakistan to meet five women she finds extraordinary. Three of them pursue their creative passions despite the obstacles: filmmaker Rakshan Bani-Ehmad pushes Iran's censorship rules to the stretching point; Afghan poet Moshagan Saadat survived the Taliban; and dancer Nahid Siddiqui is forced by politics to practice her art outside her native Pakistan. You can see them in this trailer.

Pakistani dancer Nahid Siddiqui in "Unveiled Views." Source: diasporafilmfest.com

Pakistani dancer Nahid Siddiqui in "Unveiled Views." Source: diasporafilmfest.com

These and so many other women (men too, of course, but this is Women's History Month) inspire us to test and go beyond limitations, whether we impose them on ourselves or they're imposed on us by others. These women also demonstrate that expressing one's art can be as vital as eating and drinking.

Questions and Comments:
What woman or women in your own life or in history have inspired you to be an artist or to appreciate others' art?

How are you inspiring others to feel free to express themselves artistically--to write, to sing, to play an instrument, to compose music, to garden, to paint, to sew, to sculpt...?

*Note: To view the conversation that was started on the former Weebly site of this blog and add your comment, click here or to start a new conversation, click "Comment" below.

Being True to Your Art

As the new year began, two well known but divergent artists made their final farewell: Pierre Boulez (1925-2016), French composer and conductor, on January 5; David Bowie (1947-2016), English singer, songwriter, musician, and record producer, on January 10. Though they lived in radically different realms of music, they shared some similar opinions about creativity.

Pierre Boulez at the Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, Belgium (2004).  Photo by Franganillo. Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org

Pierre Boulez at the Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, Belgium (2004). 
Photo by Franganillo. Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org

n a recent email, one of my readers cites Boulez for his influence on her determination to stay true to the art she wants to make, not the art that anyone else might expect or the art that captures the latest market trends. In an interview, Boulez said:  You must not think really of reaching an audience. You must think first to express yourself.
That means creating anew, rather than relying on the same old familiar things that have become comfortable and garner public appreciation, not bothering to change. Because of his constant experimentation, Boulez often met with criticism and was called an enfant terrible. That never stopped him.

Bowie was a master of shapeshifting, embodying multiple musical styles and personae, even becoming a painter and an art collector. His philosophy about creativity? He liked to shake things up: 

Every time I’ve made a radical change it’s helped me feel buoyant as an artist.

David Bowie at Rock am Ring Park Music Festival, Germany (1987). Photo by Jo Atmon. Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org

David Bowie at Rock am Ring Park Music Festival, Germany (1987). Photo by Jo Atmon. Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org

The emails I received about the passing of these musical stars coincided with an email from another reader. Her anecdote resonates with the statements they made. As one of the only fiber artists in a show, she learned that, in the gallery's guest book, one visitor left the following comment: ""Why is there fiber? It is not art." A lively debate ensued. The upshot was that, afterward, the person who wrote the comment conceded that he was starting to understand, like the galleries themselves, that fiber art, in its many forms, is ART.

The people engaged in fiber art could bypass the barriers and rejections as well as the lack of understanding and simply take up watercolor or oil painting, long considered fine art. But, as Boulez remarked, first we need to express ourselves--in the medium and ways in which we want to express ourselves. People have to catch up with us, rather than we have to follow their dictates.

From Wassily Kandinsky (1913). Rückblicke. Berlin: Sturm Verlag. Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/

From Wassily Kandinsky (1913).
Rückblicke. Berlin: Sturm Verlag.
Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/

When Russian painter and art theorist Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944) disappointed the critics with an exhibition in Berlin in which he didn't present what he'd done before (the explosive colors of his Munich period), he reacted against them with these words:

They barricade themselves against anything new. But this is precisely where the artist's task lies: to fight, to paint against the commonplace. Art must push forward. Mere explosions in art are ultimately boring.

It's not surprising that all these quotes came to me in this past week. Before 2015 ended, I knew of at least five fiber art shows in the Greater San Francisco Bay Area, though there were probably more. I had a chance to visit four of them (and had two of my own works in one of them). Given the person's negative reaction to fiber as not being art, it was extraordinary to have all these exhibitions running simultaneously--two in museums, two in arts centers, and one in a community foundation building. To me, this is an indication that people, museums, and galleries are finally catching up with what others have known for a long time: You can be as artistic with fiber as you can be with clay, oils, watercolors, ink, or marble, maybe even more so.

What follows is a mere handful of images (there are hundreds) from these shows demonstrating the vast variety of fiber artists being true to expressing themselves, whether there's an audience or not. It turns out there is one, and it's growing.

"Puku, Puku, Puchi, Puchi," by Yoko Kataoka (Tokyo). "Best of Show" at Fiber Arts VII (2015), Sebastopol Center for the Arts, Sebastopol, CA.

"Puku, Puku, Puchi, Puchi," by Yoko Kataoka (Tokyo). "Best of Show" at Fiber Arts VII (2015), Sebastopol Center for the Arts, Sebastopol, CA.

Detail of "Puku, Puku, Puchi, Puchi" (stainless mesh, paper, yarn, indigo, pencil), by Yoko Kataoka (Tokyo).  "Best of Show" at Fiber Arts VII (2015), Sebastopol Center for the Arts, Sebastopol, CA.

Detail of "Puku, Puku, Puchi, Puchi" (stainless mesh, paper, yarn, indigo, pencil), by Yoko Kataoka (Tokyo). 
"Best of Show" at Fiber Arts VII (2015), Sebastopol Center for the Arts, Sebastopol, CA.

"Collecting Shadows" (flax, sewing yarn), by Raija Jokinen (Helsinki). Fiber Arts VII, Sebastopol Center for the Arts, Sebastopol, CA.

"Collecting Shadows" (flax, sewing yarn), by Raija Jokinen (Helsinki). Fiber Arts VII, Sebastopol Center for
the Arts, Sebastopol, CA.

"Parallel Dimensions" (recycled wool, wool blends, cotton)), by Maureen Whalen Cole. STRATA, SAQA  Northern California/Northern Nevada, Harrington Gallery, Firehouse Arts Center, Pleasanton CA.

"Parallel Dimensions" (recycled wool, wool blends, cotton)), by Maureen Whalen Cole. STRATA, SAQA
Northern California/Northern Nevada, Harrington Gallery, Firehouse Arts Center, Pleasanton CA.

"Grey Funnel" (continuous grey ribbon), by Sabine Reckewell. The Sculpted Fiber, The Art Museum of Sonoma County, Santa Rosa, CA.

"Grey Funnel" (continuous grey ribbon), by Sabine Reckewell. The Sculpted Fiber, The Art Museum of Sonoma County, Santa Rosa, CA.

"Annie Creek" (textiles, weaving), by George-Ann Bowers. FiberSHED, The Marin Community Foundation, Novato, CA.

"Annie Creek" (textiles, weaving), by George-Ann Bowers. FiberSHED, The Marin Community Foundation, Novato, CA.

"Bridge 4" (merino wool, yak, silk, mixed media), by Jenne Giles. FiberSHED, The Marin Community Foundation, Novato, CA.

"Bridge 4" (merino wool, yak, silk, mixed media), by Jenne Giles. FiberSHED, The Marin Community Foundation,
Novato, CA.

Questions and Comments:
What does it take to be true to your creative vision, regardless of what's currently popular?
What holds you back from taking the next leap in your artwork and not caring what anyone else thinks?
Does it disturb you when an artist takes a different direction from his/her work that you love? If so, why?

*Note: To view the conversation that was started on the former Weebly site of this blog and add your comment, click here or to start a new conversation, click "Comment" below.