Our group blog
Last week I spent some time updating our group blog, Austin Art Bee. It has had few posts and little traffic, so I am trying to remedy that here by giving it a little attention. If you haven't already noticed, there is a link on my sidebar....
Since I first began making art quilts in 2003 (the first year I participated in the Journal Quilt Project), I joined the Austin Art Quilt Bee. A lovely group of women! We work collaboratively on group projects. It has been a labor of love from the beginning. I still remember meeting at Frances Holliday Alford's house for the first time. I had been invited to participate on a group quilt that was already in full swing. The project was called Leaves, and I was supposed to use neutral colors with green....well that's about all I remember at this point. I was also given options of sizes of blocks to make. I made a few blocks, quilted them, and brought them to the meeting. Sherri McCauley, Yoshiko Kawasaki, Mandi Ballard, Niki Vick, Betty Colburn and Frances were all gathered in Frances' huge sewing studio. Multiple conversations always going as we attempted to trim and put the blocks together. Many things going right, a few things going wrong. It was hard to make everyone's work look good in a cohesive quilt. We argued, discussed, and took breaks. One by one people started leaving because...well, the day was drawing to a close, and we had to return to our other lives. I wasn't there, but I heard that at some point Yoshiko took rotary cutter in hand, and started chopping up everyone's blocks into 4" wide panels. Then they rearranged what was left, and it completely came together! It was beautiful. It was successful in that it looked cohesive. It had the group voice. And it also maintained the individual's voice. It is extraordinarily difficult to juggle the balance of the two, and this time the results were stunning!
I remember thinking how shocked I was that day that Yoshiko did that. Now, I think how brave she was. She knew intuitively what needed to be done, and she did it. And she changed the way we each looked at our own work, and ironically by working mostly alone, she brought our work together. Amazing!
And as the years have passed and we have put together quite a body of work at this point, I look back on all the times we have had together. How the group members have changed slowly over time, and how we have each changed. I value the way the group process has helped me with my own individual work, and also how it kept me from starving to death of isolation. Because being an artist requires listening to yourself and expressing it. It is hard to do that in a group. I find that I need to be alone. But being alone for too long is not good either. The safety of the group and our projects together gives me the safety to be alone and create my own work. It is all linked together, and I am so grateful for the day that Frances invited me to join in. She has been a role model to me to invite others to join in.
And so I would like to invite you to stop in to see our group blog. It was started when I wanted to share images with the group on those occasions when we couldn't all be in the same room. And now, all the group members are contributors to our group blog. The blog has 3 pages at the top, Blog, Gallery, and Credits and Awards. The Blog will be a place to discuss our projects, and inspirations. The Gallery is page of images of our work. And the Credits and Awards shows the names of participants for each project along with awards, venues, and publications of each quilt.
Thanks for stopping by!