Last week, my daughter Maggie and I had an Open House for our joint art show Abstract Ecology. We decided to interview each other about what we learned.
What message did you want to get across with your art in the show? And did you feel you did?
During the art show, I wanted to get across a message of inspiring conservation action and spreading awareness for different species in our backyard. This illustration series focusing on Midwest flora and fauna is more about spreading awareness to conservation in our own backyard and I think people are going to have a newfound appreciation for species that they see every day. Making those personal connections makes the art pieces more effective.
My mission is to encourage creativity in all of its forms. I started my Every Day Project to bring creativity into my daily life in a consistent way. My hope is that seeing my art may get people thinking about how they can use self expression as a tool for joy in their lives. I set up my Every Day Project to reduce analysis paralysis. I explained how every 25 days I start a new series with a color palette and design parameters. Using these guidelines reduce my decision fatigue. Studio time is all about playing with the parameters and testing the limits of the designs all while using unusual color combinations. This makes it fun. If it is not fun you will not want to do it every day. I am so grateful people got this idea of create more and stress less.
What is one of the benefits of having an Open House for an art show?
One of the benefits is that so often when you look at your art, you notice more of what you need to work on and continue to develop as an artist. When you talk to other people who are seeing your art for the first time, you're able to see with a new perspective and appreciation for your own art. You realize that your art looks better than you thought. You can look past the flaws when you see your art through someone else looking at it and talking about it.
Similar to Maggie, it helps to see your art from another perspective. When you create your art you're in your own world doing your own thing. You're absolutely familiar with your process. When I was talking to people viewing my art there were comments like "Your lines are so straight" or "Everything is just so flat and precise." In my mind, I know I follow the walking foot edge on my sewing machine for a straight line and I use my trusty steam iron on every seam to have the fabric lay as flat as possible. The Open House allowed me to talk about my process as well as my vision of having the pieces look as flat as possible to really make the lines formed by my designs stand out. It made me think about the connection between people drawing, mark-making and using lines and how it compares to using lines in my fabric art with the intersection between two colors of fabric.
What surprised you?
I was surprised by the personal connection people had to my artwork because so many people relate to birds as a charismatic animal. I look at it from a conservation perspective that it is strategic to highlight birds because it's an easy gateway animal to encourage people to also care about more obscure animals. Many of the attendees had interesting personal stories of their first time seeing a great blue heron or that they've never noticed the goldfinch flight pattern being undulating. Now they always will notice that. So I think I was surprised by the personal connection people had to the art and this made it even more meaningful for me.
I was happy and surprised when people read the titles of my six 25 Day Pieces, they understood the design. When I explained how the design parameters are reflected in the title of each piece, they were able to see the specific design as reflecting the mountains, water or fire, etc.
People were very quick to tell me their favorite. I would say the collaboration pieces had the most responses. I needed to explain the technology of printing an image on fabric in my home printer. At first people thought Maggie replicated the drawing by hand on the fabric. So that amazed people. But I think adding the fine detail of the print and then the fabric color surrounding it was just spot on perfect.
I want to thank one of my Instagram friends, Jen Broemel @highfiveandsilverlines for her question about how we were going to collaborate when she saw Maggie and I were having a joint Art Show. This got me thinking and led me to the printed fabric idea of the print surrounded by fabric art design. So thanks, Jen.
We both set up redbubble accounts. They do such a good job of printing and we are happy to have them print our art on 30 plus different items.
Here is Maggie's shop.
Here is Kathleen's shop.