Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Seeking Meaning

I'm always reading that an artist uses their art to express something or make a statement and that good art has meaning.  It might not mean the same thing to everyone but the artist is supposed to have something they are trying to say with the art.

I've never been a deep thinker and I'm a veteran fencesitter when it comes to taking a stand on issues.  Usually I feel I can never know enough about an issue or a political agenda or even a politician to make an absolute case one way or the other.  I guess it is the ultimate open-mindedness but also a bit wishy washy!  I do have my personal causes but they aren't the big global ones that everyone talks about or that you hear in the news.

There are things that touch my heart and probably come out in my art, but it isn't by a conscious decision to make a statement.  My art flows from inspiration and feeling. I feel purple today and I'm going to make something that is deeply colored and curvy with a touch of gold. Or today I feel a little wild and I'm going to mix it up with batik scraps in many colors and shapes and try to make it all come together with stitching and beading.  Or I want to use that beautiful piece of raw silk I bought recently and combine it with some suede and intricate stitching.  The process is fun for me, and fun translates into creativity and art.

When I don't find what I am doing fun, it tends to stifle the creative process--or at least slow it down to a tedious pace.  It doesn't have to be laugh out loud jump for joy fun, but it does need to be enjoyable and have a natural momentum that keeps spurring me into the next step in the process.  When I work I always just go with that natural flow and let the pieces emerge as they will.  No plan, no perceived outcome, no intentional message.  I combine color, shape, line and texture to make something beautiful.  Hopefully it speaks about the beauty of nature and the natural world and how much joy it gives me.  I guess that is my message however simplistic and trite that is.

Nature moves me.  Nature is color and movement and wonderful texture.  The geometry of trees and the asymmetry of a landscape.  The variation in the color of leaves in the early spring and of course in autumn.  The blush of an apple, the shape of a poppy seed pod, the wings of a bird.  Just thinking of those things gives me a good feeling.  They help make life enjoyable.  And if you notice them--maybe through my art--hopefully they make your life enjoyable for a moment or two.

I recently had an article published in Machine Quilting Unlimited Magazine (Sept-Oct 2017) called "Abstracting Nature".  I use the feelings I have about nature to create fiber art that is abstract but clearly influenced and reflective of nature.  My trees are not always a particular species and my flowers might be highly stylized but they are trees and flowers.  Even when I do a piece that has no recognizable natural forms or elements in it, you can usually see some influence of nature in the stitching or beadwork that brings it back to the muse.

Now, I might be totally biased here, but I think my work is very pleasant to live with.  If I lived in the city I would love having a piece on the wall to remind me of my childhood adventures or family vacation or the park where I go to feed the birds.  And if I lived in a more rural area (which I do!) I would enjoy the daily reminder that nature is so vital to our existence and helps us find the joy in life.  Even when the skies are filled with smoke from forest fires, as they were for weeks this past summer, or just cloudy and gray, I look at my wall and have a window to the world.  So I guess that is what I am saying with my art.  Appreciate and enjoy the beauty of the world.  There is plenty of ugliness you can see on the news and in the newspapers every day, but decorate your walls with beauty!!


Robbie said...

I would truly love having your work on my walls!! And I have stated so often....I can't get deep in my work so my artist statements are always so boring! "I just liked that shade of red!"/etc. Similar to your post. I've stood at some major quilt shows reading some of the statements and to be honest, I could't see what the artist thought in their work. BUT I still enjoyed their work. We don't have to all be 'deep'...just enjoy what we do. Oh, you should see the walls in my art work is hung in every room!!! EVERY room..even bathrooms! HA HA

Arja said...

Heidi, I think your art truly speaks of a beautiful world and we really need that these days. It's Ok if our art doesn't make a political or other statement. Sometimes we just need beauty.

Anonymous said...

I like your thinking!! And your message is easy to see in your art. Thanks for speaking so eloquently.

Heidi Zielinski said...

Thank you for the kind words Arja and Robbie! I appreciate that you are reading and love hearing what you have to say! Sorry I did not see your comments--somehow I wasn't getting any notifications on my blog for a while!

Stuffed Turkey Thigh/Legs

Disclaimer: This is a cooking post not an art post!  But I will say that there is an art to boning, stuffing and baking this recipe--and it ...