Missing my arty side

I miss creativity I think. I make do lately. Writing is one way, but I am quite capable of being creative with my hands. I have skills in sewing, stitchery, fiber arts amongst other things. It’s kind of a former life. I’ve actually made a living that way. I was a working artist. I was part of a vibrant group of women artists in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin and surrounding area back in the late 1970’s and we showed our work in galleries such as Mount Mary College and Alverno College and we sold our work at Art Fairs, etc. I was quite good actually. I used to have quite a gift for construction and 3 dimensional work. Secret and hidden things intrigued me along with things that aren’t always as they seem.
I’ve been thinking lately about my former life. There was good and bad, some better left unremembered even. Life happened mostly. We moved and suffered disconnect with our old lives. New skills and talents bloomed, new directions realized, growth happened. But a couple of blasts from the past pushed some old stuff forward in my head. An old friend, my teacher, found her way to me one day. The phone rang and I picked it up and there she was. Jane Febock (Mihas when I knew her) and now Bathelemy. I learned a lot from her. I learned to experiment fearlessly. I learned to let go, to stitch outside the lines. I also learned about design problems and how individuals solve the same problem and the effect that has on the potential in the solutions. I also spent some time in my workroom or what I used to call my studio back in the day, but now we call the computer room for the obvious reason. Our technology now occupies the main function of the room. But I have a wonderful closet of hidden treasures just waiting to be created into something. I began to miss the days of gathering fabrics, threads, buttons and beads and other findings into a basket then just letting something or someone take shape. I made creatures and people besides surface designed stuff too. By the time they were completed I had stitched a life, however imaginary into each of them.
After our first move from Wisconsin, I kept my creativity up by working with my sisters. Each of us would do a part or a start of potential somethings then they would ship them off to me in California and I would finish them. Our target and lucrative market was country primative shops. Production work can be rather boring but our things had individuality so it was more fun to do than not. Contemporary fiber art took a back seat at that point because making money was our goal. Then we moved again. Since moving to Texas I lost track of my fiber arts roots and church world has taken over. The most creative I have gotten to be in the last few years is laying out newsletter pages. My fabrics and threads have been dorment, stacked on shelves serving as old friends sitting close by as a sort of comfort I was unwilling to give up. The only thing I never felt bad about giving up was the pressure of working on deadline, producing quality work without ripping out, and hearing criticsm, or the worst, having ideas and work stolen to be used by someone else. (Yes, it has happened to me.)
I am afraid my new friends, my coworkers probably wouldn’t even know what contemporary fiber art is really all about or that I might have interest to say nothing of a desire to get my hands busy. I haven’t even tried to expose them or nurture interest. Creativity is not what I am about at all. More, I have to live logical, process and procedure focused, and tightly wound as an administrator. I could really use a little free spriited creativity! Today I was twirling around the Internet and came across the San Antonio Fiber Arts group and I got very excited and interested in what’s going on here. My mom and I have been to some of their shows but I didn’t really take the time to wonder how active the group was. I actually didn’t think fiber art was something that is "done" in San Antonio. Silly me. Today I felt a twinge of long lost excitement to dig in, pull fabric, thread needles, poke holes, stuff and shape, even bleed a little. It felt great!

About Robin Arnold

Reader, writer, gardener, geek, maker of homes in several states, now settled in Virginia with husband Bob, and Hazel and Wilson the tabby cats.
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