Recently Leahpeah talked on her blog about trading crafts with others on-line. She thought it would be a cool idea: not a place to sell stuff, but to trade items of similar value. Being the Get-It-Done person that she is (as opposed to the Merely-Talk-About-It person that I am), she created the site of her imagination on Ning and invited one and all to participate. I am very good at signing on the dotted line, so I jumped right in.
And, man, is that water cold. Freezing, actually. I'm waking up in the middle of the night, agonizing over my inclusion of myself in the group. What have I made that anyone would want?
I know that sounds pathetic, but I don't mean it to be. The things I make that someone might want are, probably, knitted things. But unless someone is interested in one of the several half-finished sweaters and such that I've got going, my stock of goods is non-existent.
So what was I thinking of when Leahpeah proposed the swap? My collages. You know, the ones in my head. And the pen and ink drawings I've done, some in fact, some also in my head. The books I've planned to alter--never with cutesy angels and the like, but meaningful ones with pith and grit to them. That paper doll collage I got started on; at least her head and hair are done. And those photos I took over the weekend, the ones that I'll learn Photoshop on. Oh, also, there are two pieces of needlefelting that I've got going. I'm not sure what they are or what they should be. They seem like they could be finished, but maybe not.
Nothing I have is finished, and if it is, I wouldn't know it. I've spent years developing my writer's sensibility. I can tell you what works, writing-wise, and what doesn't and what needs to be done or not to make it work. But I have little similar experience with my so-called artistic sensibility. Consequently, I am woefully insecure when it comes to my art. If it doesn't jump off the page and say fucking fantastic, then I assume it's fucking awful.
I know the only way around this is to do stuff and put it "out there." To learn what works and what doesn't. To have a dialogue with other artists. Maybe that's what I'm actually looking for: not to trade works, but to trade critiques. Today I was reading Heather Champ's blog and came across this, where she's talking about the Meaning of Art.
To be honest, I'm not sure what it means. Even while at University working on my Studio Fine Arts degree, I was never all that concerned with what it all meant. Art is much more about process, the choices that an indiviual makes in getting from point a to b.I have to remember that--that it's all about the process, not the product. Sounds like something to be needlepointed on a pillow...or carved on a potato...or tattooed on my arm.