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Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Thumper Principle

...which states, "Iffn you can't say somethin' nice, don't say nothin' at all!"  It's a principle I believe in and apply as often as possible.  I am far from perfect, but I do make conscious effort.

But I am not sure how to apply this idea to my own work.  My husband was a metalsmith and maker of art jewelry when I met him in 1977.  He had a friend who was a potter, and they traveled to art fairs all over the US together.  The potter was a very good ceramist, and a better salesman.  All day, each day at the fair, he repeatedly sold his "best pot!"  It was like watching performance art.  I wonder if that is the best policy when it comes to art work, especially work you make to sell?

Not every creative effort results in the same success.  I just scanned an article on Beading Daily about "What it Takes to be a Designer of the Year."  Jean Campbell, editor of Beadwork magazine, talked about meeting deadlines and not achieving perfection each time, but ending up with many good pieces.  I think that is reality.  I have a big box of UFO's (Un Finished Objects) and usually, I have the good sense and taste to put things in the box that I find less than perfect.  But not this time.

Not that there is anything badly wrong with my new piece.  And I guess that is why I went ahead and posted it.  But it's not meeting some of my usual criteria.

I looked at LOADS of images for the "Sizzling Sunshine and Soothing Water" challenge.  And I kept loving the sunrises and sunsets on water.  The colors were vibrant, and the images breathtaking.  And the idea of creating a reflected image was pretty exciting.  I decided to be literal with the imagery, and remembered a PBS program featuring a painter, Bob Ross, who painted a beautiful landscape as you watched, while talking about "happy little trees."   It was so soothing!  So I decided I would bead a "happy little sunrise."

I found the nearly perfect image in a book of photography by Chuck Haney and John Reddy, (who was my back door neighbor growing up in Helena, Montana) called "Montana, Wild and Beautiful II." 

Mr. Ross (the PBS painter) frequently made his paintings in pretty shapes, so I chose a half circle, like a rising sun, and he also took liberties with his paintings, seeming to follow his heart as he chose what things to include in this paintings.  So although I wanted to represent this particular photo, I had looked at MANY reflected dawn photos, and complied ideas from several of them as I worked.

I am not a frequent bead embroiderer, but I ended with a reasonable sunrise, and then fringed in the lake, using a scan of my embroidery, flipped and scaled, as a guide.

I struggled with the fringe.  My original intent was to end up with a circle, half embroidery and half fringe, but the fringe didn't want to lay happily in the half circle.  I used small glass drops as "fringe weights" but at the bottom, the drops crowded each other, and after posting the piece as it was, I de-activated it and re-created the fringe, trying to attenuate the bottom of the circle, as though the image perspective was warped in the expanse of lake stretchng toward me, to give the fringe a chance to hang straight. 

The best things about this piece are the intense color and the mobility of the fringe.  I really like the fact that the fringe behaves like water, rippling and disturbing the reflected image with movement.

But I don't know that I personally could ever wear the work.  It's substantial, and I am a small person with a small face and small features.  In terms of wearability, this piece is for a larger person than me.  And the color is so vibrant and striking that it has a playful quality, which was not my original goal.

Not a loss, by any means, but not what I meant either.   So, should I keep my yap shut, or tell the truth?  At my son's elementary school, students are asked not to say anything that is not true, kind, and necessary.  Well, it's certainly true.  This piece is not a success on all fronts.  And kind?  Well, I don't mind the truth, so I am not hurt by it.  IF someone chose to buy it, and found out how I felt, would that be unkind?  Maybe.  But if I reveal my thoughts before-hand, does that remove any unkindness?  And necessary?  Well, I am an honest person, and it might just be necessary for me to come clean.

So there you are.  My best reflected sunrise effort, and a disclaimer of truth.  Do you ever make things you are not fully happy with?