What I learned from writing an artist statement

In preparing for The Every Day Project Exhibit, I needed to write an artist statement which helps the viewer understand what the artist is thinking and makes them curious to look at the art with this knowledge of the process. Many of the conversations at the artist’s reception regarding the creative process which I wrote about last week would never have happened if I did not have an artist statement. As a visual artist, it may be tempting to think the viewer only needs to see your art, but words are important. I guess that is why I am writing weekly articles.

I found an ebook by Alyson B. Stansfield called "The Relatively Pain-Free Artist Statement.” I had read her blog years ago and knew this would be helpful because her advice is always practical and straightforward. The book includes journaling prompts and questions to delve into your creative past and present.

Some important questions for me were...

How has my art changed over the years?
The Every Day Project series allows me to loosen the grip on the need for everything to be perfect. I have started taking more risks because when you make a high volume of art, you are willing to have some failures. The point is to just keep making art and keep it interesting because then you will be making your best stuff and having fun doing it. One big change has been the ability to make quick decisions. As an artist you are making so many decisions, what design, what color, what size, and what technique. Practicing this every day makes it easier.

How is my art the same?
My love of the design process has always stayed the same. It has always been about the design work. I sew the final piece together to make the design tangible, but the real fun for me is in the design work.

How do I feel about my art?
My art has been a way to express myself and calm my mind. When I first started creating fabric art, I would day dream about designs and I still do. 

Why look back to see forward?  You can see patterns of what stays the same and what changes. Thinking about what has stayed the same gives you an insight into your creative constants. For me, it is about improvisational design, color and staying relaxed. Knowing this helps me have a home base but it still gives me the freedom to roam around.

Take some time to think about the creative constants in your creative work, your home base, and where you may want to roam around. Set a time for 20 minutes and write about it. You may be amazed at what you discover when you just ask these simple questions.

Top to bottom:  Artist statement, Wall label for the first 100 days quilts, and Artist bio. I printed the labels on my home printer. Then, The Great Frame Up glued the paper to a mat board using a tissue glue sheet. The final step was to cut the wall label to the square size.

I have included the artist statement I used for the current show below. You will see many of the themes I discuss above made it into the final artist statement.


I started a daily creative habit in April 2015 to challenge myself artistically by creating a six-inch fabric art square every day. Fabric is my medium and I use it to explore geometric forms in solid colors with a modern abstract aesthetic.

I approach my art with an improvisational attitude towards color and design. Each day in the studio I begin with a new idea and then experiment. I work with a palette of bold bright colors balancing between warm and cool colors often in unusual color combinations. The daily designs are intentionally full of movement and energy. My designs evolve from observing patterns and geometric shapes in the world around me broken down into elemental forms such as chevrons for mountains, a horizontal line for the horizon or a vertical line for the tree I see outside my window.

This Every Day Project exhibit includes six large works from 2015. To make each piece, I sew 5 small six-inch daily squares together into a row and then sew 5 rows together into a large square that includes squares from 25 days. The daily squares are sewn together consecutively starting in the upper left to the lower right. I embrace the intentional randomness of the square placement as a visual journal of those 25 days.  

In the glass display case, I have included a series called 10 Blues which contains larger versions of the daily squares with the color blue as the cohesive element.  This series provides a balance to the larger pieces by focusing on the simplicity of a single square wrapped around stretched canvas.

I have learned many lessons from the Every Day Project that will affect my work going forward.  By creating a complete piece of art each day, I learn to make decisions quickly and let go of perfectionism because I am creating again the next day.  Doing anything consistently 250 days in a row can be challenging so I had to find ways to make it creatively interesting and achievable.  To do this, I decided to keep an open mind, trust my instincts and stay very relaxed.  This relaxed and playful attitude makes me want to go back into the studio every day.

The Every Day Project will continue in 2016.