January 2017 finds me sitting in my home away from home.... my studio/office on the campus of the State University of New York at Oswego. I am on a long break today...this the first week of classes for the semester. Many ask if I am teaching here. The answer I give is "not yet". I am in my last year as a graduate student. December will see me graduating with a MA in Studio Art.
The past few years have been devoted to my studies. Art History, Printmaking, Book Arts, Photography, Ceramics and Digital Media have all done their part to inform and further my practice as an artist. Funny thing about practice. It has the ability to direct in ways not planned on and throws all sort of possibilities into the air for me to catch on any given moment.
Printmaking helped me to understand that I am a process, hands-on artist. I like to push ip my sleeves and "make" art. Painting has always left me wanting to do something more with it. I've experimented with adding texture and shaped canvases to give me more than just putting paint on a canvas. I found out that I can draw early on, and found that a minimal sketch suffices to get my head into what I want to create. Digital Media nearly killed me as I learned what a computer can do to add to my skills. It's not easy learning this technology when there has been a life time of drawing with a pencil and photographing with real film. Still, I now have ways of working digitally where it fits.
A word about art history (well, maybe two or three words). These classes took me all over the world. I studied art from ancient China, Japan and India. I walked the silk rod into the middle east. I fell in love with the impressionists and began to understand the post impressionist movements. I learned how to research and write scholarly papers on subject from Matisse (one of my favorites) to Virgil Ortiz ( a contemporary Native American artist and fashion designer), the history of Japanese Shibori dying to the master weaver Gunta Stolzl of the Bauhaus School in Germany. All brought a richness to my understanding of myself and my art.
One thing I did not leave out is my love for fiber art. I have been working with needle and threads and fabric for most of my life. As much as these other art forms have inspired me and increase my knowledge I wanted to find a way to continue making fiber art. That I have done. Graduate school is allowing me to really dig in and explore how some of these other medias have given my work permission to deviate from my usual practice of quilting. Through photography I now have files of photos which I can draw from; experimentation in printing-making led me to print on cotton canvas and silk, while dying these fabrics allow for a deeper and richer expression and allow for new processes to emerge.
I continue to grow and explore my fiber medium as I expand into new and exciting work. At years end I will graduate, present my thesis show and defend my written statement. In the meanwhile...I will continue my studies, teach an occasional workshop, participate in several art festivals.... and make art!!!!!