Cairn at Dawn, Reykjavik, tapestry, 2×7 in, wool & page from my journal
I hear it all the time.
“Ooh, you’re so lucky.”
“I wish I had your vacations.”
And the most common, the snarky, “Must be nice.”
Artists go where they find the most inspiration. We go where we find things that trigger a new idea, a new perspective, a new method.
Monet stayed in his gardens in Giverny. He found all the inspiration he needed for a lifetime.
I find inspiration in new people, new light, new ideas, new symbols, new languages, new shapes, new experiences. The inspiration makes me grow. I’m not on vacation.
How can you tell the difference? Well, on vacations I take my husband. That’s the first hint. Although I work when I travel with him and my son, that work is most restrained and restricted. I have to do what they want ONCE in a while!
If I’m on a tour or at a tourist area, the difference between me and the others with the selfie sticks will be obvious: I’m off to myself unless I’m peppering the guide with questions. I’m stopping every few steps to look around –that one is self-preservation. Too often I’m walking and looking and misstep and fall. Broke my camera when I landed atop it in India. Almost broke it when I did the same in the Forbidden City. (Thanks, Renata, for picking me up!) I’m not apologizing for scraping together dimes and flier miles to do the work I want to do.
A couple of years ago I began to learn tapestry. This trip I had a goal to learn to weave what I see in the spot when I see it — a little like plein air painting, but with fiber. This was my first attempt: Cairn at Dawn. I saw the scene when we drove in from the airport, sketched it later, planned it out for a day or two, looked around the city for more examples, then set to weaving. This small piece, 2×7 inches, might be part of a body of work of small tapestries, or a study for a larger work later.
Either way, I accomplished part one of the goal. The second part? Do it again.
Yes, I really am working!