Maybe it is because I was raised a guilty Catholic (since mostly abandoned, though.) Maybe it is because I was raised by parents who worked really hard their whole lives and made it clear to us that their childhoods were so bad that work was the only thing that saved them. I have issues with "productivity." When I think about it, I don't ever just relax, and never really have! I'm always "doing" something, mentally or physically, usually both (lol.) Even when I work on art I categorize it in my head as "work" -- giving it a justification that it doesn't really need. Hmmm...summer comes and I am confronted with the one ingredient that I have so little of during the school year: time. And I would feel horrible about wasting such a gift!
So here I sit, on a gorgeous Friday, and am free after noon today. I am going to the beach. To do nothing on purpose. I might not even bring a book, or even a sketchbook.
I've been looking at the Designmatterstv site again and want to sign up and just absorb all that loveliness. How on earth have the Kemshalls created so much? How have I created so little? It is humbling. Yet I still shrink away from spending time on art these days, feeling like I should be doing more worthy things. Aren't there people suffering in other parts of the world? The state? My town? What good will me making a thing from fabric and beads help? I look at my little Quaker parrots, who are busy all day gathering things from around my house and "working" on making a nest. They are really busy and productive. They never really build anything, though.
Isn't art an indulgent act that really doesn't have value in ways that really matter? I think that is the big question I wrestle with these days. The purpose of making art objects. Not sure if this is just a message from my moral compass or an element of creative self-sabotage, but it is on the table these days. The benefits of process are clear to me, for me and for others. But the product seems to be irrelevant, in some ways. It is intellectual Parcheesi. Puzzles of texture, color, and thought. Self indulgent to force them on the world, no?
Then I look and see work by people like the Kemshalls and feel grateful that they can put into fabric the things I feel that go beyond words. And I am grateful for their contributions to this very hard world we all inhabit. All an artist can do, I guess, is keep working and hoping that sometime, somewhere, someone sees the work and gets something out of it that is meaningful. Yeah, I'll bring my sketchbook to the beach today. You never know what could happen. In the end, parrots are parrots and do their parrot things, and artists are artists and do their artist things. It is just the way it is. Cheers.
Linda Kemshall's work, below: