Looking Forward to 2023

“We don’t have to live with our mistakes simply because we spent a long time making them, or we fear it will take a long time to correct them.”Bonnie Hunter

I came across the above sentence by accident as I don’t read Bonnie’s blog every day. But I’m glad I read her January 4 post as I think I need to apply her attitude toward my work. Oddly, I don’t worry about mistakes in my quilting and have no problem cutting up or revising work I consider a failure. Yet, I am surprised to find I have fear of failure in painting and mixed media. It makes no sense as paint and paper are much easier to modify than fabric. Maybe it’s because with paint and paper you can never retrieve the work you’ve covered over, yet with fabric you can by removing the offending fabrics.

These thoughts bring me to one of my non quilting goals for 2023 – to review my work on paper with an eye to improving it or turning it into collage materials. If all else fails I will recycle it.

As you may know, I spent time in 2022 working on paper – collaging, gel printing, painting. My work is still clumsy and lacks polish, and glue and I are never going to be BFFs.

One overarching goal I have is to emphasize composition and design in both my fiber and paper work. Improv is fun, but I think it’s time I developed at least a modicum of a plan before I begin a work. It can be a sketch, a color scheme, materials to use, or even just a mood. My serious works in 2022 began with some sort of sketch, however rudimentary. Of course, I face the familiar problem that it’s more fun to work in the moment without planning. However, that often leads to less successful results, and certainly can take longer to reach a pleasing result.

Speaking of composition, I am working through a composition class from Laura Horn, and have looked at a short video by Judy Wood about the use of drawing to analyze a composition once you’ve started a piece. My in-box is inundated with offers for classes that focus on techniques, but I had to search for classes on composition. I get it. Composition is where the going gets tough. There are lots of basic “rules” of composition out there (here’s one from Skillshare) but I think it takes lots of practice and making bad art to get the knack.

I began 2023 with collage compositions in my board books. Chunks of paper make the work go fast and I’m recycling both the books and old papers. Since I didn’t want to bring many supplies with me to Florida, where I am now, I packed just text-heavy papers, Posca markers, board books, scissors, and a glue stick. So far I’ve made a collage a day, and have spent roughly an hour on each. Some let the colored gessoed background show while others cover up everything. Here are examples of what I’ve been making.

Obviously some are more successful than others. I see I favor vertical compositions and either under or over work my layouts.

To counter all that composition I am hand sewing down my felted wool squares with a buttonhole stitch. Very mindless, but NOT meditative. I despair of achieving consistent stitches, and keep going only because I already have so much time invested in this project. Once the last five squares are sewn I will square up the background and fuse felt to the back for stability. After that a bit of quilting, a binding, and then it will be DONE.

I have rearranged the squares, but the layout is the same.

I realize there are eleven months after January to fill with goals for activities, but maybe I’ll take it a month at a time. I have only a few projects that carry over from 2022, mostly my fantasy town and unknown family. While I have printed inspiration photos for some new work, I haven’t yet come to grips with composition and fabric choices. I have no classes in mind, but I believe I would get the most benefit from intensive classes rather than short ones. Of course those are more expensive in terms of time and money, so I need to make sure they’re the right fit for me. Please let me know of any courses you’ve found helpful.

Sunday we return to the north. Luckily, there has been no snow in northeast Ohio so our driveway shouldn’t be blocked with a foot or so of snow. I look forward to reviewing my work done here in Florida and fixing it up with bits from my collection of paper.

I’m linking to Off The Wall Friday.


Filed under collage, Commentary, mixed media

7 responses to “Looking Forward to 2023

  1. This is a very thought filled post and quite relatable. I still say you have excellent eye for composition, but maybe that is a curse; to realize something is not okay but not be sure how to make it better(?). If you don’t mind me asking – Do you ever use NeoColors (or watercolor pencils, markers) around some of your paper edges? Do you have a preference between torn and cut paper? I look forward to seeing the felted wool squares finished, I really like those squares!

    • Yes, it’s one thing to know something is off and another thing to know how to fix it. I have used Stabilo and Derwent pencils around some collage edges and softened them by wetting them. For the batch of collages I did in Florida I didn’t have those supplies. I plan to revise many of them once I’m back in my studio. I use both torn (love those white edges) and cut paper. I envy collagists who wield craft knives to get perfectly smooth edges. I, too, look forward to having the squares finished.

  2. Your post hit a chord with me. I am struggling with various aspects of my creative productivity. It was limited in 2022 – Covid and a few other health related issues for my partner. He’s suffering from a severe sprain and is none too happy about being tethered to the house & limited mobility. (We’re both independent types.) Anyway, I have so many UFOs from last year & before, compounded by too many ideas, so I’m going to do a declutter. making some hard choices of what to keep & what goes. My main issue is that I enjoy traditional, modern, improv, and scrappy quilting. along with Zentangle, and some paper play. Not enough hours in the day, and needing to overcome the bad time habits developed in 2022, Your posts encourage me to keep moving forward, even a bit at a time. Thank you and Safe travels North, Kay

    • Thanks for letting me know what I write resonates with you. Please sort through your UFOs and either repurpose them or ditch them. Right now they seem like a weight around your neck. I hope your partner heals and can resume a fully mobile life.

      • Thanks for your kind words and advice. I’m scheduling my declutter to begin this week and will be making many choices on what to keep. If the fabric, project, or pattern light a fire for me then it will be a keeper. My guild is holding a “flea market” this summer, but I don’t want to hold on to “stuff” for that long. I’ll be taking things to my meetings to give away or donate to various places. I’m looking forward to lightening my “stuff” and making more time for creative productivity.

      • I look forward to hearing about your slim down.

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