Do you feel like you are meeting your potential?  Or do you feel like you haven’t quite made it or like you aren’t really even sure how to get to what you think your potential might be?  
This question is on my mind after celebrating my son’s Eagle Scout Court of Honor yesterday.  I made a slideshow for the program, with pictures of my son’s scouting activities- from first grade through his Sr. year of high school.  It hasn’t always been an easy road… he was even asked to take some time off from scouting at one point.  However, I can now see how all the effort (on both his and my parts) has paid off.  He’s made a great step towards meeting his potential.
“By a Nose” by Christina Fairley Erickson
My quilt won a 1st place at an Equine Art Show… however
it’s done with a technique I learned from Noriko Endo…
does that then truly represent my artistic voice?

One of my quests this year in my 5 x 7 Challenge, beyond the concept of how making art each and every week will help the quality of my work, is to find my authentic voice as an artist.  Finding your voice as an artist seems to be a tricky thing for many of us.  I’ve tried many styles of quilts and am still working out how to have my work represent who I am, and not be something you look at and say… “Oh that looks like ____________(put well-know quilt artist’s name here) work.”  My work should look like Christina Fairley Erickson’s work.

I’m clear that I like pictorial or representational work.  I also like stitch, both machine and hand.  So those are the areas I’m exploring.  But the ways in which I put them together need to be my own.  
I thought I’d share another of the artist’s work from the Bellevue Art Museum’s “High Fiber Diet” exhibit.  Maria Shell, of Anchorage AK, spent a year exploring the potential of variations of pattern over the course of many grid pieces.  Each of the nine pieces is made from vintage and contemporary commercial cotton textiles, hand-dyed fabric, batting and thread. So, your basic quilting components.  
Maria felt that by limiting the structure of her work to the grid, she was able to fully explore color… how to make color vibrate on the wall.  She discovered that the proportion of line and shape in the relation to color evokes different experiences in each piece.  The shot below is looking at a towering 20 foot wall of her quilts.  Each piece is approximately 5 -6 feet square.
From left to right, starting upper left:  Picnic, Holey Rollers, 36 Ninjas, Speedy Higgins Play the Drums, Solstice, Get On Up, Deep Blue Sea, Funky Monkey, Habanero by Maria Shell
How do we find our authentic voice?  Creative choice is at the heart of authenticity.  So when making our choices, we are exploring our own voice.  However, if your choices are limited or you feel constrained by things you’ve learned from other “experts”, it’s good to also question when to break free of doing things in someone else’s style.  

 How are you living up to your potential this year?  Are you striving to find your authentic voice or do you feel confident in your artistic direction?  I believe that through exploring these themes and types of questions, we become closer to finding our real selves.  Through that, our artistic voice will come through.

You can see the vibrancy in Maria’s work
with this sample from “Deep Blue Sea”
While “Solstice” doesn’t play with color, Maria’s
use of pattern and repetition make for a striking piece
You might also be interested in:

BAM High Fiber Diet Outdoor Fiber Art 
& Call for Entry
Fitting My Challenge
with Showing

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