Staying the Studio

Mending Wall 6, ©2012, 38" x 12," Paper, fabric, watercolor on panel When I began this piece, I wanted to find a new way to work with triptychs. My love for the magical number 3 and Amish quilts stimulated the idea of a 3 panel piece using a traditional 9 patch block worked out in paper instead of fabric.

I extended the idea of the botanical blocks from previous pieces, but combined them with pieces of children's school work. I combed the streets around my house for fallen pieces of paper and other wrinkled script that caught my eye.

The piece was created block by block, assembled, and then reworked so that the blocks harmonized.

As I stare at it now, several months later, I'm struck by the contrast between the squares containing children's numbers, letters, drawings, and the more adept collage squares.

It reminds me of trying to balance the improvisational demands of practicing art therapy in a busy urban hospital with my more considered collage work in the studio.

I also thought about the concept of "blending" in the Japanese martial art, Aikido. The Japanese character ai, or, harmony, can be thought of as blending energies or forces. The principle of harmony is to avoid conflict by transforming the energy of opposition into a new form of resolution. That's what I'm working towards.

With this in mind, I've made a big decision. I backed out of our city's Open Studio.

Recently, two close family members were diagnosed with serious autoimmune disorders. There have been a lot of doctor's appointments and shifting of priorities, and for now, I need to keep my concerns closer to home.

It's funny; in encircling my wagons, I've actually spent more time in the studio and without the concerns of showing it, I've had more energy to explore new directions in my work.

Initially I was very sad; about the huge changes that illness can bring and the loss of opportunity. But for a long time, I've wanted to learn new techniques, take classes in art and design, without the concurrent pressure to produce for shows. If what they say is true, that when one door closes,  a new window opens, I think I've found that opening.