I’ve just been working on some promotions for the upcoming Studio Arts Tour in DeLand. It’s caused me to remember some of the visitors I had last year, and why it is so important to me to show people what I make and how I make it.
I remember several times last year when I had as many as fifteen people at a time in my tiny studio. (I’ve moved since then, and there’s more room.) The visitors had such great questions! I was working on a large fabric-pieced quilt the weekend of the show. Since it was in 6” squares, it was easy to keep busy in between visitors. When guests arrived, I was either collaging pieces on the small squares, or moving the squares around my worktable to develop the composition of the piece. Things that I take for granted are really interesting to studio guests. What kind of glue do I use? What kind of paint? Why do I choose certain colors? Where do I get my ideas? Every question caused me to think through my process so that I could supply a meaningful answer. It became a process of clarifying my own work. I was so grateful for the attentiveness and interest of those who visited.
I had some great experiences like that during outdoor Festivals last fall. I especially enjoyed several visiting groups of students. What great questioners they were! They went straight for content. They wanted to know about meaning, and the symbols I use, and whether I draw on stories or mythology. A few had been in art class enough to know terms like value, balance and contrast, and we had good discussions about those elements in my work.
So… I’m getting ready! I always enjoy showing art, and I really enjoy selling art! But even more, the tour will be an opportunity for me to think about my own artmaking. I can’t know in advance what thoughts I’ll have. But my visitors will guide me!