As I shared earlier, I am in Jude Hill’s Magic Diaries online class, which is full of the most amazing ideas and people. This is a Slow class. One of my new goals on this blog is to share my work – beginnings, mistakes, ideas – as well as the finished work or work that looks great. I guess that I am trying to make this point: being an artist does not mean being perfect.

So many people say that they aren’t artists. Well, that’s just not true. Art is how you express yourself. If you don’t express yourself, then you might not be an artist. But is there really anyone out there who does not communicate at all, even just within herself? Therefore, we are all artists. There are many who are harsh judges of their art, some who don’t judge at all, and the middle few.

Anyway, this intro is all about the beginnings, the wispy ideas swirling around this magic cloth. I got excited about the theme of an autobiographical, visual quilted/stitched cloth, maybe starting at the center and radiating out through my life, so it is not finished until I am. There will be lurking in this cloth a lot about change (the Slow Turn theme has always been about change as well as vaudeville) and growth, the “magic” being the change from one thing to another, the basic change of my self growing outward from my soul.

When I found the box of patchwork squares, I was excited. Until I spread them out on the bed. As I lifted each one from the box, I confronted the reality that it was not going to get better at the bottom. Truth be known, I like maybe one of these squares – the one near the top left. The rest of them are pretty ugly.

patchwork from 30 years ago

These are not my colors. I don’t like shiny. I don’t like pink. But if there is one good thing to come out of this, it causes me to reflect on what was going on at the time when I made these squares. I didn’t like pink or shiny then either. But I was trash-picking for cloth (some from the theater costume shop) and I was flat broke. I had a compulsion, and still do to some degree, to use things up, to not waste anything. So these combinations are pretty hideous. I think that I was so unhappy that I was churning out crap to give my hands something to do and my brain something to rest upon. I was also drunk most of the time and had a very low self esteem. I didn’t know how to be kind or true to myself.

So, in a way, these squares are the perfect reflection of who I was then. That’s valuable, but I still don’t want to look at these colors or be reminded of this unhappiness. I put this out to my classmates and got a lot of great ideas of how to incorporate or alter them. I want to share the beginning of this here. It’s possible that they will go back into storage or I’ll give them away but I have a feeling that they will make it into this cloth somewhere and be transformed, like magic, into a happier reflection of my life now.

Here’s something that I’m much happier about – I haven’t only been weaving strips of paper. I’ve been weaving strips of cloth too. This will be a base of whatever I do, and maybe the bases of other small pieces.