Did anyone miss me? Actually, no one knew I was gone. In a ghetto neighborhood, like the one I live in, you don’t tell anyone you are leaving home for a few days because you might not have anything left when you return. Blog readers may have wondered why I didn’t post for several days and I have several emails to answer but no one in the neighborhood or online really knew.
It’s been years since I was gone from home for more than a few hours. My daughter came every morning before work to open curtains and returned in the evening to close them again. Oh, and she fed my furry kid Dylan too. A couple of neighbors may have wondered why they hadn’t seen me for a few days. Mostly no one actually notices me either way. I’m easy to forget.
Well anyway, I went to a Hollis Chatelain class at LouCon. Let me tell ya, there are probably very few quilters who don’t know the work of Hollis Chatelain. I asked her to say her last name for me so I could pronounce it right. Uh, duh! It’s a French name. I’d never be able to say it even after hearing it. Not with the accent I have. I simply said thank you and walked on.
Well anyway, quilters everywhere know her quilts by sight. She wins ribbons and big prizes at the major quilt shows. Click on her name link to see examples of her work. She is a fantastic artist. Umm, while you are looking at her art check out the prices on some of her quilts.
I expected to see high prices but ghee whiz some of her wall size quilts are priced at more than my house and everything inside it cost me. Including the Gammill. But, her pieces do sell so why shouldn’t she ask a big price for them? I would do the very same thing if I thought someone would actually buy my art. To quote Hollis about pricing art work, “If your art sells faster than it took to make it, double the price.” Yeah, I like that one. I don’t think I’ll forget it. I never got a chance to ask if she would do the reverse if something did not sell for a long time. All her work sells so she probably wouldn’t know about that.
So let me tell you about Loucon . Loucon is a Church based summer camp for kids about 50 or 60 miles from my house. It’s out in the country, of course. What kids summer camp isn’t someplace in a rural area? The kids are back in school now so the camp rents cabins as a retreat center. The Kentucky Heritage Quilt Society booked a 3 day class and I just barely squeaked into it. I was told I was the last remaining person on the waiting list. I held out little hope of getting into the class. I actually didn’t know about the class until last month but other people had booked spaces about a year ago.
I was put onto a waiting list of one, hoping against hope I would get to go. I didn’t know how I would pay for it. (No money) I didn’t know how I would get there. (No car) I didn’t know if I was even qualified to be in one of her classes. (No formal art degree) All I knew was that this very famous person was going to be in Kentucky just a short distance away and I wanted to meet Hollis the person, not just Hollis the famous artist. What? Why?
I’ll explain. She does beautiful paintings and I know her classes are way out of my league. I truly didn’t expect to take one class and come home ready to create masterpieces. Ok, yeah I did have hopes but one class does not make an expert. Next to her art my art is like a kinder gardener competing with a college professor who has lots of letters behind the name. Names like Mr/Ms so-n-so, phd, md, cme, or whatever. I spent a lifetime living in a ghetto and she’s been all over the world. She sells small art pieces for many thousands of dollars. I usually earn around one dollar an hour for my work. My art quilts have been given away free and I usually teach free. In other words, our worlds are on opposite ends of each other. Ghetto vs affluent. But, we have one thing in common that I was hoping to get a chance to talk with her about. Her art is sort of controversial or tree hugger style or something like that. Geeze, my mind can’t seem to find the right word to describe it. Anyway, I really want to do some of that type art without offending anyone.
I want to convey my lifetime of living in poverty without people thinking that I’m just prejudiced. I want my art to say “Hey, I live here in the ghetto too so why shouldn’t I create art from what I see everyday?” and not cause a riot. For example, the little man quilt that I entered into the fair. Yes, I did mean for it to make people laugh. But, laugh at the absurdity of pants worn so low, not at the person who wore them. Gosh, this really is extremely hard to explain.
Hollis did speak to me a minute after seeing the little man quilt. What she said has helped me start putting into words how I want the public to see me as an artist and my art. It will need a whole lot of polishing and for that I’ll probably ask the neighbors to help. Here goes,
I am an old
white Caucasian woman lady, living in a predominately young black African American neighborhood. I am a liberal democrat living in a conservative republican state. Although I do have very tightfisted frugal habits which makes me more like a conservative liberal? Would that be a Re-pud-ocrat or a De-mol-ican? Ha! Figure that one out. My friends and neighbors all know that when we laugh, we are laughing together, not at or about each other. I laugh with them, not at them.
Hey, by golly, I just started writing an artist resume. Imagine that! Yeah, ok, I know it sounds ridiculous right now but it’s my blog and I can write what I want to write. Don’t like it? Stop reading it. If I make fun art why not have a fun resume to go with it?
I have never seen people in terms of skin tones. To me, people are just people. Maybe that’s why I have so much trouble drawing realistic images. I can’t figure out which crayon to use. So many colors from which to choose. My neighbors often laugh when I say something and then I realize why they are laughing. Uh duh! I forgot my skin is light and talked just like one of them. Yeah, they laugh when I forget I’m a senior instead of a first grader too. I’m the neighborhood Nannie so everyone knows I would never intentionally do anything to cause hurt feelings. I am trusted with house keys, pet feeding, children rescuing, money holding, and dependable for food when hungry.
I thank Hollis for helping me to start putting into words who I am and what I want to do. Seriously though, my resume should reflect why my art includes so much of the neighborhood. I’ll work on it. The painting class? Ok, painting fabric is really not my thing. I have to be honest about that. I may want to paint fabric sometime in the future but not now. Maybe when I’m comfortable drawing I’ll want to branch out into other mediums.
I understand about drawing lines. Regardless of how a line is created it’s still just a line. Only the instrument of drawing a line changes. A thread line is no different from a pencil line or a paintbrush line or a crayon line. It’s the combination of directions of lines, thickness of lines, and the negative space in between the lines that
create art. Create images? Create realistic? What-ev-ah. I guess my next step should be to learn about creating lines and their combinations?
I do plan to write more posts about my trip. I don’t want to put everything into one post because I’d be here for days just type talking. It takes me a long time to write a post because I type, read, edit, and repeat time after time. Even then I find myself hesitating to click the publish button.