Ever since I switched from designing ‘pretty’ quilts to narrative work, I have attracted people who want to advise me on subject matter! One of the reasons I now make narrative work is it allows me to express my voice, and opinion without physically marching in the streets. For as my body has aged, my desire to actively protest has subsided. Instead I let my work speak for me. And it seems I have a lot to say. I have a file of ideas, longing to come to fruition.
So when I recently shared on social media that my new Black Lives Matter work titled Somebody’s Child was juried into an important exhibit, someone told me I should make work about the thousands of lives lost to opioid addiction. My immediate reaction was this person, also an artist, had lost someone dear to her to addiction.
I encouraged her to make such a piece. She responded that she couldn’t, it would be too large. When I showed another work on gun violence, an acquaintance suggested I make work about abortion. She, being a devout Catholic, obviously is very passionate about the subject. It really struck me then just how badly people want their voice heard, but seemingly do not want to ‘risk’ putting it out there themselves.
I simply cannot make work that does not speak to me! What is the point? Am I just an art factory? I think not. Instead I encourage people with a cause to find their own constructive way to express it. You only live once!
I follow a funny account on Instagram called CanYouSewThisForMe? My daughter turned me on to it. She has two degrees in fashion design and while she does not work in the field, she sews and knits most of her own personal wardrobe. She is always being asked if she will sew something for somebody? Or worse yet being told, she could sell that for everything she makes. The woman knows that. She knows she could sell it. She does not want to. Not everything in life has a price!
So back to CanYouSewThisForMe?...the postings are mostly hilarious. A lot of people want a knockoff designer wedding gown, in 3 days for less than $50, because they don’t have much money. Uh, why are you having a fancy wedding if you have no money? I definitely need to add my ‘new work’ idea suggestions!
My mother’s voice just came to me… These folks mean well, or this is a compliment. Yeah I know that. As do I. I mean well when I suggest they find their own voice, speak up, demonstrate, protest, write letters, campaign, make art, whatever.
You do you, and I’ll do me.
Martha Ginn says
I’m glad there are people like you who are able to voice their beliefs and call attention to injustices using this medium that we love. The fact that some people don’t get that these expressions have to come from deep within means that too few people think seriously about what is happening in our world. Carry on, warrior!
Thanks Martha! Took me long enough to get to the warrior stage of my life!
Belinda Hart says
I love your work, of course. I first became acquainted with you via your Tall Girl series, so I have always known that your work is a product of your need to express your feelings. I think that’s the reason your wrk is so powerful. But count me among those who have been asked if I could “make them one of those, but larger, sideways and in blues!”
Thanks B…YES! oh and you could make a quilt of that…said every time we show a fantastic photo!
Pat Bishop says
SO well said. “Oh, you like to sew? You would enjoy making me a garment bag.” NOT.
So true! 😂
Franki Kohler says
As always, your clear vision comes through in your work and in your words. Thank you for saying so clearly what many of feel! Keep it up girlfriend!