Cheryl C.

Distinctive, Authentic, Voice

These 3 words haunt me. My desire is to have one or all three, which are almost synonymous to me. In fact, it has become the driving force in my art work and really my life. I want to be original and authentic as a person and to make art that is original, authentic, and has a voice that is recognizable as mine. I would like to produce a body of work that is cohesive, but that is not enough. It must also be genuine and real for me.

Why is this so important to me at age 71? You would think that I would be content to just enjoy the fruits of years of labor and chill and relax. Of course, I know that has never been who I am, and I certainly have not changed. Perhaps this is what each person, in his/her own way, desires.

I seem almost frantic to pack these years with productive work, specifically art making. Many around me are unable to do what they used to do, and I realize that time is shorter than I would have ever suspected. My sister and best friend, who was younger than me, passed away 18 months ago. She was my best friend and the person who knew me best and shared my passion for creating with fabric. What a loss!

I am also in an art group where my style of work (abstract) is not appreciated or validated. Yet I have an investment in their presence in my life and do not want to let go of them as people. I am usually able to dismantle them as a committee, but somedays it is difficult.

The rebel in me is willing to make time for creating, and I have space and stuff to do what I desire. My biggest issue is WHAT. NC once gave a formula for one’s voice. She said, “Technique + Content + Format + Color= Your Voice”. That has resonated for me, but the “Content” part of that formula is often missing. My main passion, other than family (and sometimes I say that because I think I should) is making or studying art.

Can a passion be as simple as art itself and drive the content of my work? Perhaps. I am fascinated with fiber and fabric. Line and shape especially intrigue me, but color, texture, proportion and how things work or don’t work together can keep me occupied for hours.

Perhaps substituting the word “Distinctive” for “Voice” will help me to get off center. Distinctive seems to be less of a permanent commitment. It could be 4-5 pieces around a distinctive interpretation of something from nature or a particular shape or motif. Then it could be let go, and I could move to another distinctive statement. Of course, sooner or later I may settle in on some content that would last longer. I also realize that I must make art, and lots of it, to find my voice and to get better at making art. However, I am capable of making lots of art that is so varied that cohesiveness, let alone a voice, is just not there.

I realize that this is rather long this week. It is also more revealing than what I would usually share in a group like this but perhaps my ramblings will help someone else feel OK about their own feelings and thoughts.

This is indeed a journey!