Wednesday, September 01, 2021

ready to leave some things behind and move on to new mischief

 I did some things today that I might not have imagined myself doing a few years ago.

First, I put in my application for a booth at the Arts Center's Holiday Market. I'm going to make paper earrings, an idea for which I have all the supplies and the concept, but no prototype. That is a project for next week as I need to get my studio cleaned up and organized before I start making things. But it's all there! Everything I need...even the display and the pieces necessary for that. How did I manage to pull this together? It's some kind of miracle!

The other thing is my really big stretch. Our regional arts council offers grants for beginning artists. They offer $1500 for whatever you space, supplies, books, a class. I have been pondering it for a while but just couldn't get it to come together in my head. (See previous paragraph.) It seemed like so much money for one of my projects.

Then, one day I looked at three books I own.

For a long time, I've loved fiber but I only collected it. I never made anything with it. For a long time, I have loved Moy Mackay's beautiful felted landscapes but I never seriously considered making one myself. Well I did try twice, but they were pretty dismal. Nothing like this.

 And suddenly, there it was. My inspiration, my purpose, my new adventure. I checked out Moy's website and she offers a felted landscape class online (from Scotland) in October and November. There's my project for the grant. The class, the supplies, travel to photograph, again, the landscape of Southwestern Minnesota. Mom says every time we pass a wind turbine, I have to stop and take a picture. It's true.

The application was long and arduous, made more so because it was last minute. I didn't have an "artistic" resume or a budget or an artist's statement but I figured it out over 6 grueling hours yesterday and a few more today.

Here's my artist's statement.

"I grew up in Southwestern Minnesota and have always loved the horizontal grandeur of its landscape. As an older beginning artist, it’s been surprising to me how the landscape of my early years creeps into so many of my artistic pursuits. I have been a writer all my life and have documented the beauty of the land through poetry and essays, and as I’ve begun to study drawing, painting, photography, and now wool felting, there it is again. The beauty of Southwestern Minnesota.

Wool felting feels like such a natural way for me, as an artist, to capture the colors of the summer harvests piled up in front of grain elevators in every small town or the endless wind turbines that dot the border between Minnesota and South Dakota. That the rolling hills of Blue Mounds State Park with its pure bison herd can be created in wool is a cause for joy.

Fibers can be carded together to make a picture that might be difficult to create in any other medium. Those fibers, that might have come from a bison or a local sheep, are directly connected to the land by the animal, its food, its people. 

Life is a big circle. Making art this way makes this very true for me."


It's probably not the best but for a first effort in a pinch, I'm ok with it. I also did some research on the artist's resume and wrote what I thought was a decent one.


A note re: wool. I'm searching for local bison wool. I can buy bison roving online but I'd love some local stuff. 


I'm not letting myself even be a little bit hopeful but it's given me a new energy that feels good. I thought this week that I am ready to be done with the grief the last president and the pandemic have brought me. I'm ready to be done feeling cynical and bitter so much of the time. 


Onward and upward, my friends. 

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