On Monday, I came home from babysitting by grandson. I had taken him out to Target so I could pick up a couple of things that I was sure had seen in their ad...wrong ad but we did find a delightful children's bible with very simple stories and lots of pictures...all for children under 6. We started reading at the beginning (I thought that was as good a place as any) and when we got to the stories of Isaac and his sons Jacob and Esau, my Jacob was just fascinated that there was a story about a Jacob. We followed Jacob through his life through his son, Joseph, with the coat of many colors.
So, back to coming home, I found a very slim business size envelope from IQA. I have never been judged into the regular show. I also found it interesting that they had to narrow it down to about half of the entries...I have gotten into art shows where only 10% made it in....just goes to show that you never know. But wait...I had sent in two entries. The one rejected was in the big art quilt category but no word of my small quilt category. So my mind immediately goes to "they don't like my work, whine, whine" to oh well, I'll probably get my rejection for the other one tomorrow, etc.
Yesterday was another day taking care of Jacob (the regular day care sitter has had several days off and grammie gets to fill in) and this time we went up to Tilden Park to ride the steam engine train...what fun!
Well, when I got home again, there was no business size envelope but a huge one filled with more directions that I have every wanted. Boy, art shows make it so easy. Send your work ready to hang by this date to this place with this label stuck on the back. Send return shipping label and that is that...all usually on the entry form.
Needless to say, I haven't had a chance go sit down and digest all of it yet but I have finally gotten in to IQA with one of my Life Series pieces.
So, responses...I have been very surprised by the responses I received from my last posting. My heart is very full! What has been interesting is that so many responses respond by saying I am brave to put my feelings out there.
I have talked before about sharing our opinions, and the fine art of conversation. What I have found most of all is that I don't get nasty comments when I state what I believe and not what I think others should believe. I can only share my experiences. As a probation officer I spent a lot of time telling others what to do and what would happen if they didn't do what I told them to do. And I also worked at trying to change some people's thought processes. But I had authority behind me then...ie, the courts and jail.
Now I am just happier sharing my own responses to life which I find pretty fulfilling. About 12 years ago I had a serious depressive episode which took me off the job for three months. At one point, I could not make any decisions and would sit on the patio overlooking a valley and watch the buzzards soaring on the thermals. I had no thoughts at all...just stared at them. At one point my mind was seriously considering leaving my brain and not returning...you know, just go catatonic. But there is too much of an optimist in me and my shrink and my meds kept me going until things leveled out for me. For many years I continued to do fairly well although I would still have depressive periods of time breaking through until three years ago I spoke to my shrink and we added another med. That has made all the difference in the world. I had at one point thought I would work at getting off the meds but with the ongoing episodes I have decided that I will stay on as long as I feel I need to. Of course, people have talked, with a great sense of pride, about getting off their anti depressives but that is not a healthy option for me right now.
Anyway, when I speak to the public, I am very open about this time in my life and I have had many people come up to thank me for publicly talking about something no one really wants to talk about. My message is always, there is hope. Of course, I also point out that I have had to do a lot of reframing of my thoughts and have had to change some behaviors and responses to others. One thing that I have done is to realize that I can not be around negative people. So, I back off from them as quickly as possible. I am vulnerable to them and can let myself go downhill if I stick around them too much.
In 1994 we lost our house to a house fire. Friends from my quilt guild responded immediately. A large group of women came over to what was left of my house and one woman and I handed out stacks of smoky fabric that survived because I had been stored in drawers. It was put into large plastic garbage bags and hauled off where various people spent a lot of time washing my fabric.
At the next guild meeting, I showed up with a little tin box that had a couple of sewing supplies and a little bit of fabric and shared that this was the beginning of my new studio. I also took in a well charred block that I was returning from the block-of-the-month thingie in which we made a block and then put our name in the hat for a drawing to receive the blocks for a quilt. They excused my from putting my piece in the pot!
I guess what I am saying is that I have found a great response from people when I share things from my life...in a positive way and without telling other people what to do. I have had people with depression come up and thank me, people who have gone through house fires wanting ideas for coping, etc.
It has been an interesting point of conversation with various groups at my church that many people don't want to share with others the fact that they are Christian. For this, I can only blame those who have taken the name of God to pronounce judgement on others. My God is not judgemental but loving. My God does not call up children to heaven. My God has put the forces of life in to action and is there to be with us as we live our lives. It is so sad when the word Christian has come to mean someone who is anti-homosexual, anti free choice, anti other beliefs, anti everything. But those are the ones who speak up the loudest and are heard the most because they make the news.
Oh, and what does all this have to do with art? By living our lives to the fullest, and being open to a full range of emotions, we are able to bring much to our art...it does not have to be spoken, it does not have to be spelled out, but it is there. Keep on making art.
I was going to keep on but now I sound like I am pontificating so I will stop there. I have to get a couple of show entries in and then go down to the studio this afternoon. Also, Rayna Gillman is in town and I have to call her so we can set up a time for dinner! What fun that will be!
No pictures...maybe tomorrow!
I am so interested in this subtle thread you've raised about how faith or religion or grace affects our art -- even when it is not "spelled out." I think you're right and I could certainly do more to embrace it.
I can't muster the energy or wisdom to comment on the way some "Christians" have completely taken over what it means to be Christian.
Your frank words on depression startled me. Your work is so full of confidence, energy, life. I appreciate the questions you pose on your blog.
Hey!! I got in to the World of Beauty, too! Can't believe it when I see my name on that list. Are you going to Houston? I'm thinking aobut it.
Yippee, Liz, congratulations on getting juried into IQA!
I've been on anti-depressants for the past 8 years, and every time I try to go off them, I'm very sorry. So to heck with that, I'm staying on my meds and living a happier, more normal life. You go, Girl!
Say hi to Rayna for me (she won't remember me, but I took a class with her year-before-last in Houston ... hey, you were in that class too!)
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