Diane Stavola Blog

Archive for the ‘The Journey’ Category

Fiber Forum Retreat 2008

Thursday, April 24th, 2008

As a member of EGA, I have been able to join its art group, Fiber Forum.  Members must jury in every three years, but those who do not wish to jury can become Friends of Fiber Forum.  I did jury in last year.

The group’s primary focus is finding venues to exhibit the work of its members and their annual retreats. This year I was able to take part in the retreat.

We met in Asheville, NC for a three day beading workshop given by Carol Wilcox Wells. What a combination of Wonderful!

Asheville is nestled snugly in the Smoky Mountains. It is the home of the Biltmore mansion and a myriad of fabulous restaurants, galleries, and shops. It is also home to the Haywood Park Hotel, which is where we stayed and where the workshop was held. Talk about being in the lap of luxury! 

The Haywood Park is in the center of downtown and walking distance to so many fabulous shops and restaurants as well as galleries, a theater, and a museum. We didn’t need a car for the entire stay!

About two blocks from the hotel is Chevron beads, heaven for the die-hard beader! And around the corner is Beads and Beyond! A smaller shop but also a beader’s must-see.

Some of the other shops that got the groups attention were its terrific clothing stores, Tops shoe store (I have never seen so many shoes in one place!!!), Purl’s- for the fiber and knitting enthusiasts in our midst, the art supply store-one of the entrances opens into the hotel lobby, and the renovated Woolworth’s building that now houses a co-op gallery and lunch counter, and last but not least, The Chocolate Fetish-the name says it all.

And the restaurants! My favorites are The Market Place – fabulous food, atmosphere, and service, Early Girl Eatery – Oooh! Breakfasts, Tupelo Honey Cafe – Amazing southern fusion cuisine in a fun raucous atmosphere, Malaprop’s coffee and World coffee, The Flying Frog-Bar, Deli, and Restaurant with outdoor seating, and ofcours, The Bier Garden-the best sweet potato fries I have ever had! And that’s just the tip of the Iceberg!

The workshop with Carol Wilcox Wells was a great learning experience. She is an artist of amazing skill and talent and generous in her sharing of those talents. Her classroom is comfortable and fun, and she makes sure that eveyone receives the individual attention they need.

I learned and learned and learned and had my vision expanded. How could you ask for more? I would do it again in a heartbeat!

Blogging

Wednesday, March 5th, 2008

I think I may get addicted to this blogging thing. It’s what got me to have a website created. I first started on Blogspot which got me thinking that I really needed to do a web page.

Then I lost my password to blogspot (not an unusual occurrence for me) and I had this blog to use. Now I have found my password and will continue both blogs. There may be large time gaps in my entries, but such is my life: there’s lots going on, I just don’t have time to sit a write at leisure. My grandson is the love of my life (don’t tell my husband) and he keeps Grandma very busy at least two days a week. I wouldn’t  miss that time with him for all the world.

If I can figure out how to do it, I will add a link to my other blog here and vice versa. In the meantime, if you just have to read some more of my ramblings go to: www.handiwomen.blogspot.com

Paperwork

Wednesday, March 5th, 2008

I think the reason that I am an artist is color.  I love color. All color. My favorite color is red. But then sometimes it is blue or yellow or green or…. I just love color.

I remember falling in love with color in the second grade. We were given a worksheet with different shapes on it. We had to color the shapes in such a way as to demonstrate an analogous gradation. I chose yellow through orange to red.

I can see that sheet as though it were yesterday. Little did I know how much paperwork would be involved in being an artist.

Until very recently, I had an image of myself holed up in my studio happily sketching, painting, stitching, glueing, burning, cutting and twisting my chosen media into gorgeous pieces of art.

I had no illusions that anyone would even like what I do.  I am often still surprised that anyone does like it, and some people even like it enough to buy some of it. Now that is a daily source of amazement to me.

Some of what I do is lovely; some of it is weird; some of it is just blah! All of it is satisfying at some level. Satisfying to me, in such a way that I actually feel a sense of completeness when I have managed to scrape together a few hours to actually create something or work on designing something.

My illusions have been shattered now that I have pursued my love of color to its logical expression. What is the point of any artistic endeavor if no one but the artist sees it? Art is supposed to be shared. It is supposed to enhance life. It is a method of communication.

In the effort to share my work I have found that there is an incredible amount of paperwork. And I include time working on my website and this blog in paperwork.

Entering exhibits, trying to jury into exhibits, keeping track of inventory, purchasing supplies, writing classes, writing proposals, keeping my blog and upkeeping my website. It all takes a crazy amount of time, but it is a necessary part of the process.

Well, enough griping! I have a website to update, more blog to write, and maybe I will even get to stitch some today.

The New Year and Classes

Friday, January 25th, 2008

Amazingly, I have survived another holiday season.  Although, as usual, it took its toll in time and energy as evidenced by the fact that I have not written a single item here for almost three months. Well, Happy New Year (a bit late) and back to work!

I have been able to get a few classes together and written several proposals, so my time hasn’t been all fun and games.

I do love Swarovski Rivolis so I have done a series of classes using them. The pieces are all in 24 kt gold plate, Swarovski bicones and Rivolis.  I love wearing them to events and have gotten lots of compliments.

As soon as I have all my pictures of the pieces ready, I will add them here as well as on the class page on the website.

The Crap Shoot Verified

Monday, November 5th, 2007

A recent quilt which received accolades when shown at a national venue, then received not so great reviews at a local venue,  went on to receive a second place ribbon for Contemporary Art Quilts at a third venue. The crap shoot continues, and there seems to be no rhyme or reason to it.

It’s a Crap Shoot!

Thursday, November 1st, 2007

I think that should become my mantra!  I am constantly amazed at how my work is received both by judges and teachers.  If I put a piece out there enough, I usually get both extremely positive and extremely negative feedback on that same piece.  Regardless of their training or expertise, I never find anything near consistent in the evaluations I get.  That is why I say it is a crap shoot! How can a piece be wonderful and win 5 awards and then be so awful as to demonstrate that I have no idea what I am doing? Tell me how this is possible!

So, I have come to the conclusion that I do know what I am doing.  People may like my work or not.  What is important is the work.  I just can’t worry about what anyone else thinks. I just have to do the work.

I do believe that critiques are valuable, but I have received some of the most inane critiques. Things that just don’t make any sense and indicate to me that the judge doesn’t know what he is talking about.  Or that he doesn’t understand the medium I am using or something.

Not everything I do is good. That’s not the point! I know that I have lots and lots of growing and improving to do!  But please, make sense when you critique the work. I need constructive insights! And from some of the things I have read, I don’t think most judges base their evaluations on principles of design.  I hear way too much personal opinion!

I will continue to enter shows and competitions, but my mind set is very different than when I started out on this journey. The bottom line for me is the work itself.  I don’t just want to do it, I need to do it. And in the process, I strive for growth and improvement. I want to be the best that I can be at any given time. And have fun in the process!

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