Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Community Projects

The fiber community is vast and far reaching. It extends around the world. It includes all forms of fiber art both of the every day functional type and the thought provoking statement making type. It is exciting to be a part of a community that has roots which go back thousands of years. (check out Elizabeth Wayland Barber's book Women's Work) It is also exciting when this community comes together to do a collective project. Such is the case with The International Fiber Collaborative. It was started by one woman, Jennifer Marsh, who wanted to bring this international community together by doing large scale public art projects. The projects were to express social and environmental concerns. Her first project was to wrap an abandon gas station in fiber panels. The panels were submitted by fiber enthusiasts all over the world, no age limit or ability turned away. There is a wonderful article about this in Fiber Arts magazine, Nov/Dec 2008 issue.

Once that proved to be an overwhelming success, Jennifer sent out a call to all fiber artists to participate in a new project. This art installation is called "Interdependence". Participants will create a full sized tree made out of fiber leaves. Participants from around the world are to create fiber leaves and send them to Huntsville, Alabama where the tree will be displayed April 2009 at Big Springs International Park. The target number of leaves is 30,000!

If your interest has been peaked, send in a few leaves and be a part of this project. You have until March 15 to submit your leaves.

I mailed my leaves yesterday. It was fun doing something totally out of my normal genre and so exciting to be part of a large scale international project.

Thank you Jennifer for extending this invitation. I can't wait to see the tree when it is done.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Crayons and Creativity!

I am reading a book by Madeleine L'Engle called Walking on Water, Reflections on Faith and Art. In it she quotes Finley Eversole who wrote The Politics of Creativity. He states that by "the age of 5, 90% of the population measures high creativity. By the age of 7, the figure has dropped to 10%" and by adulthood "high creativity is only 2 %!"

I find that staggering and sad that at the age of entering school creativity drops by 80% in 2 short years! Madeleine's point is that most of us as children have an innate ability for creativity but we are often discouraged from using it and developing it. It is only the few who survive. No wonder so many adults say, I'm not creative. I hear it all the time.

A child creates all the time with imaginary play but is soon discouraged in order to grow up and learn the facts. How sad to loose this ability! Think back to your childhood. Remember the smell of that new box of crayons? Remember how it felt to try all the colors? So, what blocks were put in your way from developing your creative ability? Mine was a Jr. High School Art teacher! Of all people she should have known better and been more encouraging! It took me to adulthood to realize that I did have some creative ability that needed to be developed. My wonderful artistic mother-in-law said, "You can do it!" and encouraged me.
As a person of Faith, I've come to believe that a Creator who made beings in his/her image would also give them the ability to create. We just have to use it!
Let me know how you explore your innate creative ability. I'd love to hear.

"All Artists Begin with a Box of Crayons"
(Detail of multi-media wall hanging done by me to honor the 100th birthday of Crayola Crayons. Images were scanned and printed from my computer printer onto cotton fabric. They were sewn together in "crazy quilt" fashion with my handwoven fabric and then embellished with stitching and buttons.)