Why am I an artist?

I came across a passage from another writer that truly expresses what and why I consider myself an artist.

This is from “Letters to a Young Poet” by Ramien Maria Rilke.

I know no advise for you save this: to go into yourself and test the depths in which your life takes rise; at its source you will find the answer to the question whether you must create.  Accept it, just as it sounds, without inquiring into it.  Perhaps it will turn out that you are called to be an artist.  Then take that destiny upon yourself and bear it, its burden and its greatness, without ever asking what recompense might come from outside.  For the creator must be a world for himself and find everything in himself and find everything in himself and in nature to whom he has attached himself.

This all can be rather high handed in wording but it does ring true for me.  I know I have said this before but I have always considered myself an artist.  No matter what I do, no matter what job or action I take I know I see things in an artistic, creative way. I do not see this as a burden, however it can become one while you have too many ideas in your head while you are trying to get to sleep.

It first became a way to spend more time with my artist mom away from my brothers and sisters.  My mom nurtured my potential, saw that I had a different way of seeing the world around me.  I saw her love of nature and how it has an infinite source of beauty and ideas.  Once I was able to capture that beauty with ability and talent I did take on that destiny of calling myself an artist.  I recall the very first award I received for that talent.  It was a simple line drawing competition for a bank but I can still feel the thrill of getting money for my art.

I went to art school with this same thrill and acceptance of my artistic ability.  Once out of college I did not find a job in the art field.  Yet this did not deter my need to continue to find my artistic voice.  I took classes, met other artists, painted a bit, got into a few local shows with a painting or two but somehow I knew that I had yet to find what would be unique to me.  I experimented with textiles, using crazy quilting as a springboard.  I took a class from Judith Montano in Omaha, Ne at a crazy quilt retreat.  I took this method of fabric collage to create underwater seascapes and ran with it.  It was so intuitive to me, use fabric, beads, ribbon, hand embroidery and whatever else to make art.

Once I felt comfortable in this new method it led me to use fabric and embroidery as you would use paint and brushes.  I love the tactile feel, the use of line and color in the same manner as a painter.  Perhaps it is also a connection to my grandmother who was a seamtress by trade but an artist by night.  I do wonder how I was able to grow to use this as my medium but it is true to my artistic soul.  I see beautiful things in nature, then use this method to express that beauty.

I am sharing one of my early pieces, done in 2013.  I did a lot of tiny French knots for the sheep’s wool coat using a silk and wool thread.  It was actually very soothing to work on due to the repetitive nature.  The bushy gray and yellow “grass” is needle felted wool roving and the pathway is wide silk ribbon.  The fence posts are wrapped cotton thread with black cotton floss for the barb wire.  Added a few grass colors with a simple ribbon stitch in silk ribbon.  I then finished off the work with a foreground of dark green embroidered weeds to show depth and contrast.  This is owned now by a gentleman who always wanted a flock of sheep of his own.  Given to him by his daughter who bought it for him with the understanding that it would become her own at a later date.  Maybe I should consider doing another landscape with sheep.

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