Thursday, March 29, 2007

A New Direction

I've been invited to participate in a venture involving art quilters. When first approached I immediately thought "Who me? I'm not an Artist." I don't sell my work or try to get into galleries or shows. I don't take myself seriously and my quilts don't have a message. My artist's statement is likely to read: "I just liked how these colors go together."

But... An art quilter whom I respect told me a while back that I was making art quilts whether I acknowledged it or not. The quilters of Gee's Bend certainly weren't out to make art and yet their quilts are hanging up in art museums.

So I'm going to give it a go. A lot of my work in the last few years has been focused on making quilts for my imaginary book. I'm going to let that go, at least for the next while. What happens if I make a quilt just to please me, not to try and sell a technique? I'm going to take my work seriously, yet still try to hold onto the playful, goofy bits that are me.

For the last couple of years I've been encouraging traditional quilters to try new things, to work without patterns, to improvise. To try something new, even though it scares them. Now I'm following my own advice.

I don't know how well this is going to work out and admit I'm scared spitless. I'm scared about moving to Paris too (that not speaking French thing is a stumbling block) but I'm going anyway.

I don't want to give you details yet about this new thing yet. It's still too shiny and uncertain. One change I have made though is to drop out of the Quilt Mavericks blogring. I just don't think it's a good fit for the direction I'm going.

29 comments:

Jane Weston said...

I just have to say I just love the pictures of your cats. They are so beautiful and it's obvious how much they are loved. This latest picture is fantastic...those blue eyes are fab!

Kate said...

Thanks to Bloglines, I won't need a ring to find you! Still enjoying your work, and looking forward to seeing your new ideas!

Laurie Ann said...

We'll be waiting with baited breath!

Your cats are so beautiful.

Dawn said...

Well now my curiosity is peaked! I"ll have to call you artsy fartsy Tonya!

JudyL said...

I'm so happy for you! I know whatever you do will be fun, fun and I can't wait to see it.

Don't worry about Paris! I'll be there are enough people there speaking English that you'll be just fine til you pick up enough French to get you by.

Good luck to you in all the endeavors!

atet said...

Trying something new is always scary -- but your quilts and the fun you have with them do stand up on their own. I can't wait to see what you decide to do with your challenge.

As for the not speaking French thing -- a lot of people do speak English and if you show you are trying, hey, they are even nice about it if you mangle their language. At least, that was my (admittidly small and long ago) experience.

McIrish Annie said...

the eyes of your kitty capture your mood. Don't be scared!! You are an artiste and you will do fine in gay paree

Meg said...

GOOD ONYA Twink!

Patti said...

Oh wow - that does sound scary! I agree completely - your quilts are art quilts in their own way. They most definitely shout "Tonya" - I think we'd all recognize one of your quilts anywhere. It will be fun watching this adventure unfold - I sure hope you continue to share as freely and generously as you always have in the past.

Fiona said...

You'll be fine - and I'm looking forward to keeping up with what you create and with your life in Paris. If you get fed up with speaking French you can always hop on the Eurotunnel to Britain.

Sassenach said...

Oooh, congratulations!
All the best things in my life started out with being scared -- go for it, gal!

Karen said...

Wow, that is big news. We'll be intrigued to hear the new story unfold. Beautiful kitty.

Nellie Bass Durand said...

Tanya,
You're wise enough to grab this opportunity, you've already recognized and established your personal style, you have the leisure of time and abundance of supplies, plus you have good health. I do believe the stars are alighned for you to make the commitment and proclaim, "I am an artist". It can be a joyous as well as a frustrating adventure. I look forward to your sharing it with us.
Hugs

PS: Please join the "Artful Quilters" webring.

Robert said...

may you enjoy your venture....

quiltpixie said...

oops, kid left himself logged in... It was me who hopes things go well...

Sewcatherine said...

Thank you for the words of encouragement on my soul food quilt. I really appreciate you dropping in the last 'almost' 2yrs now on my blog. I was frantically clicking around on the maverick list and couldn't find your name and now I see that you are going to try something new. I will still stop over for sure to see what your next step is...you definitely have inspired me immensely !!Thank you Tonya. Best, Catherine

Duyvken said...

Sounds like exciting times chez Tonya. I look forward to seeing what you come up with in the next 12mths with this new direction and whites and blues in your stash! Will Quiltville still host your tutorials or should I download some of them if I want to use them?

Søren said...

I think any non-traditional quilts are art quilts. plus usually, I feel like they are ones you hang on the wall and not on a bed, but not necessarily! yours are definitely art - whether you try to sell them or not! and they are some of my favorites.

Kathie said...

Yes! Yes! You ARE an art quilter already. Can't wait to hear the details of this story.

vinda said...

Congratulations & best of luck in your new venture. I just started reading your blog this year & have enjoyed it very, very much. I hope you will continue blogging.

Rudy said...

Judging from your pictures you've got the talent. Good luck in the venture!

YankeeQuilter said...

Are you still going to be blogging? I was just getting the hang of this...what happened to the Tonya that strolled through the Art Quilt exhibit snickering and snorting?!

Rebecca Clayton said...

I've been reading regularly for almost a year now, and I think your quilts are art. I was surprised to learn you don't. Your photographs are also quite wonderful, and are art in my book (with cats!).

You inspire, with your colors and designs, your persistence, and your courage at attempting new things. Thank you for sharing all this with your blog!

Holly said...

It's a new page in your book and I am looking forward to seeing what you do next. You are sooo talented. You inspire me.

Tazzie said...

I really look forward to seeing your endeavours Tonya, I just know that you'll enjoy success, whatever you choose to do.
*hugs*
Tazzie
:-)

Sandra said...

Changes in direction are good things, especially when your kinda ready for it. Being scared is probably good too, gets the juices flowing and new ideas come to fruition. All the best with your move, both to Paris, and in your quilty endeavours :-)

The X's are looking fab - loved the colour combo before, but now it's positively mouthwatering!

Clare said...

Do you remember a year ago when I was scared stiff of "doing a Tonya"? Well, look at me now! Another door has opened in that long corridor called life so go inside and see what's in there. As for "the French thing", don't worry about it at the moment. It will come. I was in a QS in Bordeaux on Friday and the blasted woman decided she couldn't understand a word I was saying. Je habite en Dordogne. Comment? Je habite en Dordogne. Je ne comprend pas. Je habite en le Perigord. Comment? Je habite pres de Brantome. Ah oui! After all that my only purchase was a tiny Omnigrid ruler for cutting....... letters!

Courage mon ami.

Lucy said...

I keep following your work !!

cher said...

I am excited for you Ton-new vistas await...and you are ready-being scared proves it. I know this is an older post-but wanted to add my words of joy that you are striking out - go boldly -just as you have been doing since I came across your blog...it will just get better and better.