Last year, about this time, (maybe, a tad earlier?), I got the news that my proposal had been accepted for Earth Stories, an exhibit by SAQA. Normally, when I enter my work into a juried show, I am so excited to find out that it got in! This time was different. I was selected based on my past work, and I would be making something entirely new for this exhibit. There is a certain amount of stress and pressure to live up to expectations and I felt anxiety.
The theme of the show was to make a work that celebrates
some one or some project that is making a positive difference on the
earth. I selected Annie Leonard who put together a website and animated videos called The Story of Stuff.
I made an art quilt in 2011 based on one of her videos and I called it Planned Obsolescence. Here is a photo of that little quilt. It is currently on exhibit at the Gallery at the J, Austin, TX. You can read the story about this quilt here.
Story of Bottled Water. A new concept emerges....manufactured demand.
It tells of the role of advertising to make consumers believe that they need items. I don't believe there are any real villains here. Someone creates a novel idea, they want to sell it, advertisers help them, and the consumer buys it, and if they like it, they will keep buying it.
The only thing is that sometimes I feel like I am drowning in too much stuff. I feel resentful about the amount of time it takes to put stuff away, or get rid of old stuff, or find some lost item in all the stuff that is neatly stuffed into little pockets of space, drawers and closets. I started to wonder how much stuff do I have? And, do I really want to know? I fear the answer. And I fear the process of finding out the answer.
I wondered how much 'manufactured demand' plays in my consumer habits. So I launched into Phase one of a whole new game plan, count all the stuff. And then I would use the information to create an art quilt for this project. And, I am curious that if I actually know how much stuff I have, will it influence my buying habits? And, I have, on more than one occasion, regretted submitting this proposal. This has been yet another example of wishing the creative muse would just be quiet so that I could do fun stuff instead. Because counting all my stuff....was not fun. Not even close to it. And, almost every one that I told about the project thought I was nuts. This didn't help.
Meanwhile, I thought I would share my project with you. Now. During this holiday season. It is a perfect time to consider the intention behind the frenzied determination to get and give more stuff. And, I LOVE Christmas, but now that the year has passed, and I finished counting all my stuff, and I know how much stuff I have, I really don't want any more of it. I have emerged from the piles of stuff, a changed person. It was transformative.
My perfect Christmas? More time with the people I love. Real. Simple.
Wishing you a wonderful holiday season!
p.s. I hope you will continue to visit, as I continue to blog about my Earth Stories project.