Wednesday, November 4

Working Spontaneously

Today I wanted to share the work of Frances Schatz with you. Frances is currently in her second session of Stitch and Surface with me at Fleisher, and I'm enjoying the chance to see a student's work grow and be sustained over time. Frances has a fine arts background and is enjoying her retirement to finally have time to invest in her creative life. She is also recovering from a stroke and sees her work in embroidery as a part of her physical therapy. I truly admire her passion for art and life and commitment to not allowing physical challenges be a roadblock to her creative expression!

The image here is of her sampler work from this session. The parameters were to make a band sampler of about 4-5 inches wide and create parallel lines or sections of different stitches as a piece that would be sustained over the course of the semester. This piece is not "finished", but in a middle stage of progression. Frances started with a printed "feedbag" type fabric on which she began parallel lines stitched down the length of the band. However, in true Frances-style, she began to play with the motifs, surface, and embellishments responding spontaneously to the printed image and developing embroidery. The piece now has a combination of stamping, fabric painting, embroidery, ribbon embroidery, applique, and button embellishment.

Her lazy-daisy flowers above reminded me of Fleisher's new logo. During class today we talked a bit about how artists need to connect to their child-like impulses, find the curious explorer within, trust those instincts, take risks, be spontaneous, be open to the happy accidents of a process, and allow the work to develop without preconceptions.
It's not a way of working that I find easy to do. It's hard for me to let go of control or not have the idea of a piece not begin with it fully formed in my head. I've been trying very hard to allow for more spontaneity and discovery in my work (doesn't that seem an oxymoron? trying very hard to allow for spontaneity?). Here's the latest stage in the constellation. I really like how the large glass shards feel in the piece.

So here's to Frances and passion and commitment and spontaneity!

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