Stitch Journeys

Join me on my Stitch Journey as I explore art and life.

Who says you're an artist?


I had a great weekend…started with my Visual Journaling class on Sat morning where I had them take a baby step toward drawing and they were brave! Then I took my students on a field trip to Denver…well technically, one of my students drove so I guess she took us. We went to hear a talk given by Laurie M Hawley of Aha Life Designs. Laurie’s topic was the Road to Authenticity – Embracing Imperfection and Feeling Worthy. The talk was inspired by Brene Brown’s book The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are.I am a big fan of Brene Brown. She has a couple of talks available on TED that are really great. Laurie shared her experiences on her journey to discovering joy in her life as well as facing the painful parts of embracing imperfection.

A lot of what Laurie talked about really resonated with me…my own journey...especially  being a perfectionist as it is something that I have and still do struggle with. Perfectionists continually seek external validation. Laurie talked about her creativity and life coaching business and how she strives to be the best coach she can be and to that end is continually participating in further training. Which is great for her clients but when is enough, enough? When do ‘they’ see fit declare that you an expert…or in my case, an artist?

I wanted to be an interior designer when I was young but that wasn’t ‘practical’ so I got my degree in business management. Years later when I decided that I really wanted to be an artist my first roadblock was how to go to art school? I didn’t have the time or money to go to art school and everybody said you really had to have an MFA to be an artist. I longingly perused the UK’s City and Guild’s program…even on-line it was still too expensive. How would I get the certificate that declared, YES, I was an artist?? I decided that formal education would just have to wait until the kids were launched even though that meant I wouldn’t get that validation until I was at least 56 and maybe even 60.


In the mean time I took whatever workshops I could, read every book I could get my hand on, joined art groups and I took baby steps. I changed the name of my sewing room to ‘studio’. That was incredibly difficult! It took me at least 3 years to feel comfortable calling it a ‘studio’. I mean really…how pretentious!! I certainly couldn’t bring myself to utter the words ‘I am an artist’. When friends called me an artist I rolled my eyes and dismissed their comments…after all, I hadn’t earned that degree yet!

A funny thing happened while I was busy raising my family, homeschooling, taking creative technique classes, and making stuff. I became an artist. I still didn’t have the diploma that officially declared it but the more confident I became in my skills and the more I talked to ‘real artists’ it slowly dawned on me that being an artist isn’t like being a lawyer. There isn’t a test to pass, a degree required or any hoops to jump through. Being an artist is a state of mind. The only person, entity or even country that can truly declare someone an artist is one’s self.

Go ahead…declare yourself an artist! Hey, want to make today Declare Yourself an Artist Day? We could start a movement!

The photos in this post are from my very first soy wax batik experiments done last Thursday at my Discovery group. This group explores art techniques...not always related to cloth. If you are in the Colorado Springs area let me know and I will send you the meeting details. We always have fun and I am now in love with soy!
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Comments 10

Guest - carol sloan (website) on Tuesday, 25 January 2011 00:44

The soy wax techniques is on my list for the Fiber Freaks (Junkies) group that I belong to! I can't wait to learn how. Your pieces look awesome Liz!
carol

The soy wax techniques is on my list for the Fiber Freaks (Junkies) group that I belong to! I can't wait to learn how. Your pieces look awesome Liz! carol
Guest - rayna gillman (website) on Wednesday, 26 January 2011 16:54

Liz, I discovered soy wax in 2004 and have been working with it and teaching it since then> yikes! Can it be seven years?? No one had heard of it back then, except for a couple of people and it took a while to catch on - but it is great stuff and I love it, too.

Liz, I discovered soy wax in 2004 and have been working with it and teaching it since then> yikes! Can it be seven years?? No one had heard of it back then, except for a couple of people and it took a while to catch on - but it is great stuff and I love it, too.
Guest - rayna gillman (website) on Wednesday, 26 January 2011 16:55

P.S. - your cloth is very cool!

P.S. - your cloth is very cool!
Guest - Judy Gula (website) on Thursday, 27 January 2011 02:39

You are definately an Artist, Author and talented Teacher!

You are definately an Artist, Author and talented Teacher!
Guest - Dianne Leatherdale Johnson (website) on Thursday, 27 January 2011 05:35

Well said! I am an artist and I don't do mend. Commissions are also an iffy thing. I will take loose perameters ie. an Art Purse in purples, but no more instructions than that. I had to be quite forcefull with a friend who is also an artist (a poet)aout how much direction I would take from her. I had to ask her if she would permit me to tell her what words to use. That stopped her.
People will only reespect and value you as much as you respect and value yourself.

Well said! I am an artist and I don't do mend. Commissions are also an iffy thing. I will take loose perameters ie. an Art Purse in purples, but no more instructions than that. I had to be quite forcefull with a friend who is also an artist (a poet)aout how much direction I would take from her. I had to ask her if she would permit me to tell her what words to use. That stopped her. People will only reespect and value you as much as you respect and value yourself.
Guest - Gisela Towner (website) on Thursday, 27 January 2011 06:02

Wonderful post!
We have taken a similar path and isn't it terrific journey?

Wonderful post! We have taken a similar path and isn't it terrific journey?
Guest - Cheryl (website) on Thursday, 27 January 2011 09:37

I. Am. An. Artist. Every word you wrote resonates with me. Thanks a million.

I. Am. An. Artist. Every word you wrote resonates with me. Thanks a million.
Guest - judy in SD on Wednesday, 02 February 2011 07:42

Relay enjoyed your post, Liz. How about 68 for City and Guilds. Your credentialing will happen. Being a nurse doesn't prepare one for being an artist though it gives one feelings and ideas to express.

Relay enjoyed your post, Liz. How about 68 for City and Guilds. Your credentialing will happen. Being a nurse doesn't prepare one for being an artist though it gives one feelings and ideas to express.
Guest - judy in SD on Wednesday, 02 February 2011 07:45

Reread what you wrote. You ARE an artist, so am I but I like the structure of learning. You also are a lifelong learner. Ordered the soy wax today. Judy

Reread what you wrote. You ARE an artist, so am I but I like the structure of learning. You also are a lifelong learner. Ordered the soy wax today. Judy
Guest - Willow Hjalmarson (website) on Friday, 18 February 2011 02:10

Interesting - and inspiring. Thanks.

Interesting - and inspiring. Thanks.
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