December 31, 2012

Year in Review - 2012

December 31 and you know what that means, right? My annual year in review post!

This is always an exciting post for me and I start looking forward to it in late November: for me it's a way to reflect on the year's learning and a way to help decide where I want to go.

For you though, if you're not interested in all that - you can just scroll through the pretty pictures. ;)

So, starting in January 2012, we had:

Winter Is Coming

WinterIsComingc2012KitLang 


My word of the year for 2013 was "intention" and my purpose for the year was to  make only  work with a specific intent.  In prior years, I often found myself making things just to have something to post on Monday (in prior years, my reveal day was Monday); but in 2012, I decided that everything I made would have one purpose only - to make me better at what  do. 

My first piece of the year was "Winter Is Coming". I had wanted to work with some of my disperse dyed fabrics and work on my fine line quilting.  This piece served both admirably. 

 Shattered Sky 


  ShatteredbyKitLangc2012
This was the only quilt I made in 2012; and was the second-to-last of my commitments as a resident artist at And Then We Set It On Fire. I learned quite a bit during my short tenure with them, and loved the community fostered by the other resident residents; but found the time needed to work on the monthly projects was too much - not to mention it didn't further my purpose for the year!  

Catelyn At The River


  CatelynAtTheRiversidec2012byKitLang

More work with the disperse dye and more work with trees.  With both pieces, my "intention" was to work on creating backgrounds that were more like illustrations - but with fabric.  I had a half-cocked idea, that I might like to 'dabble" in illustrative art that had a "watercolour". and was feeling my way towards it - but not quite getting what I wanted.

Ontology Of a Rabbit

OntologyOfARabbitc2012KitLang3

"Ontology of A Rabbit" was the result of a challenge presented by my real-time fiber arts group.

Each of us was assigned a particular group of fabrics and an individual challenge by someone in the group. Mine was to use lutradur, paper, beads and sequins in the work.

Given where I ended up at the end of the year, it will be surprising to new readers that this was a challenge, but prior to that, I had not only never used lutradur and paper in my work, I was really sort of against using those materials in my own work - believing somehow that that would spoil the "purity" of my artisitc vision (I laugh at this now, by the way.)

And beads well ... many of you will know that beads and sequins were my Waterloo.  No matter how many times I tried to use them, I always ended up ripping them off in the end because they only ever cheapened the work in my view.

So it was a *big* challenge for me to incorporate these things in my finished piece.

Ironically, I think this was one of the more successful pieces I made in 2012, and unknowingly, it ended up having a HUGE influence on my work throughout the year - in fact, I would say, it nearly defined my work throughout the year.

 America Now: Walking While Black

  AmericaNow-WalkingWhileBlackc2012KitLangencausticversion

In March, Trayvon Martin was shot and killed while walking home from the store with a bag of Skittles for his little brother in his pocket.  Our of my fear, anger and hurt, I created this little piece that got rather a lot of attention.  (More on that later.) But it also became the first in a series that will likely continue my whole life through called "Whitewashed".

In making this piece, I came to the realization that I needed a way to talk about the things that I felt passionately about - and that this was a way to do it.

Spring

  Springc2012KitLang

"Spring" was the result of another challenge - this one a "quilt in a day" challenge.  It took me 16 hours, but I made this 60 x 24 piece in one day - and it's whole purpose was to work on feathers! I had a dim idea that I needed to learn how to make them, but didn't know why, exactly.

My subconscious often has plans for me that I don't know about. Over the years, I have come to the conclusion that it's best to obey my sub-conscious and figure out "the point" later. :)


Fly Fishing At Night

  FlyFishingAtNightc2012KitLang

The last of my commitments to "And Then We Set It On Fire'; this piece was merely an exercise in discharge. But I also wanted to try working with foil (the bird and moon).

America Now: Janey's got a gun

  AmericaNow-JaneysGotAGunc2012KitLang

The second piece in the Whitewashed series, more about Trayvon Martin's killing.

Bees Do It

  BeesDoItc2012KitLang

Lutradur. The same friend who gave me the "Ontology of a Rabbit" challenge pushed me again to use Lutradur more - to really play with it and discover its properties.  She invited me over to her house to play with it under her tutelage and sent me home with more of it to continue the "play".

This was my first home experiment with it - testing the ways in which it could be used.  

The Organ Grinder

  TheOrganGrinderc2012KitLang

Experiment #2 with painting lutradur - in this one I achieved the "watercolour" look I had long been trying to reproduce in fabric.

Again, I had no idea why I needed to have a 'watercolour" look, but my subconscious was pushing me to learn.

 America Now: Walking While Black -  Redux

  AmericaNow-WalkingWhileBlackc2012KitLang

Part of the attention that the original "Walking While Black" received, was that Susan Shie extended an invitation to me to join her social justice art group called "Fiber Artists For Hope".  I had to re-make "Walking While Black"  - 9 times bigger! - for an upcoming show that FAH was putting on in June. 


Winter's Wane

  Winterswanec2012KitLang

And then it was back to experimenting. More illustrative work - not successful!!! lol


Happily Ever After

  AndTheyLivedHappilyEverAfterc2012KitLang

And speaking of illustrative work...there was a lot of DRAMA-LLAMA associated with this piece  - REMEMBER? (click that link for a laugh if you're new to my blog); but I put this idea in the back of my head for later...

Little Karoo At Night

  KitLang-LittleKarooAtNightc2012KitLang

I was approached by the City Waterfront Gallery in Charleston, and asked to make a mermaid piece for their September exhibition.  It was an exciting and fun piece to make because it was the biggest thing I'd ever made, and it was the first time I'd tried painting directly on the fabric rather than painting pieces of the fabric and fusing them on to a background - and boy, did I ever like it!

HOWEVER, I learned some valuable lessons with this piece (most about the dos and don'ts of painting on fabric); but the *most* valuable lesson I learned when making this piece, was that if I didn't  "feel it", I shouldn't DO it.  I was very unhappy to have this finished piece as a representation of my work, hanging on a gallery wall for 3 months!


 America Now: Written On The Body

  WrittenOnTheBodyc2012KitLang 

Meanwhile, current events were inspiring me again and I made a third piece in the Whitewashed series - this one about how Republicans were using womens' bodies as fodder, crucifying them on their political platforms. 


 Flotsam Meets Japan

  FlotsamMeetsJapanc2012KitLang

Another challenge piece for my real-time group, this one was to use silk kimona fabrics (the patterned pieces) - which I combined with the leftover cut outs from Trayvon experiments. 

Un Petite Chanson

  UnPetiteChansonc2012KitLang2

And then one day, I was "what-if ing" and decided to make "Un Petite Chanson" out of some leftover rust dyed fabric I had. This was another piece where I was experimenting with (large) sizes, as well as trying to better my abstract work.  

 We Are Mermaids Too (Redux)

  WeAreMermaidsTooc2012KitLang

And then the curator of the Mermaids show in Charleston wrote me and  said that she had been scrolling through my blog and found a mermaid piece I'd made a couple of years ago, and could she also have it for the show. I said sure - as long as I could improve it - which I did. 


Paperwork No. 1

  Paperwork1c2012KitLang

And then I started working with paper. Inspired by Deborah O'Hare's work with painted paper towels, I took my own paper towel refuse, and quilted it into art by combining it with Japanese papers, beads and lots and lots of stitching.


Paperwork No. 2

  Paperwork2c2012KitLang


Paperwork No. 3

  Paperwork3cKitLang

Paperwork No. 4

  Paperwork4cKitLang


In The Wind

  InTheWindc2012KitLang 

And then I got back to improving my illustrative work with this little fairy, as well as taking out my much-neglected needle felter and putting it to work.  I had stopped doing the kind of work I had purchased it for, but knew that I could still put it to some use. 

 The Twins

  TheTwinsc2012KitLang

And I made some cheeky twins who voiced my response to some comments I'd seen with respect to the upcoming American election...


Fern #2

  Fern2c2012KitLang

And then I got back to working on the Fern series I began in 2011.  (Eventually, I'll finish up that series, but currently, I still have 3 more partially finished ferns to go!)

Incendiary - Marie-Joseph Angelique

  Incendiary-Marie-JosephAngeliquec2012KitLang

Angelique was made as piece for another show with Fiber Artists for Hope.   Her story is HERE and HERE.  

Lake of Dreams No. 1

  LakeofDreams1c2012KitLang

And then - there was more paperwork! This time, some of the painted paper towelling was deliberate - I actually painted it on purpose. :)


Lake of Dreams No. 2

  LakeofDreams2c2012KitLang

And I was also trying a new-to-me way of piecing the backgrounds. 


Lake of Dreams No. 3

  LakeofDreams3cKitLang2012

Lake of Dreams No. 4

  LakeofDreams4cKitLang

Lake of  Dreams

  LakeofDreamsc2012KitLangfabric 

And then decided to try it in fabric. As you can see, I was working on a particular style - feeling my way, trying to decide it if was "me" or not. At this point, I'm feeling like it's not - but I'm going to let it marinate for awhile.




More work on abstracts and a beginning of working on hand work. 



Earth


 Earthc2012KitLang 

"Earth" was my one slip up in 2012 - the only thing I made with out "intention" as my guide - and though it was a good piece to practice my quilting skills on; it was, I think, the least successful piece I made all year.

Green Headed Tanager (c) 2012 Kit Lang



The first of the birds in my bird series - I liked this little guy, but could really see where there was room for improvement. 

 Orchard Oriole

  OrchardOriolec2012KitLang

And then I began my bird series: I have to make ten of them for a show in March. 

European Goldfinch

  EuropeanGoldfinchc2012KitLang


Pectoral Sandpiper



At the end of last year's post, I said that I hoped to begin showing.  When I said that, I had imagined that I might show in one or two fiber arts shows, but had no idea what was in store, as in 2012, I achieved the kind of success that I didn't think I would have until four or five years from *now*.  If you'll indulge me those achievements are below.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS 2012 (Yay me!)


1.  A small group of pieces completed in 2011 were exhibited at the Rochester Contemporary Art Center in March.

2.  "Walking While Black - Redux" exhibited all over the US, including The Quilter's Hall of Fame, The Little Rock Central High School Museum, the Garbo Hearn Fine Art Gallery (where it was "held over" for an additional two months), is currently at the Human Thread Gallery in Chicago *(remaining there for the month of January, 2013) and has been requested by the Garbo Hearn Fine Art Gallery again for the month of February, 2013.

3.  "Fractured", a quilt I made in 2010; was requested by the curator at the Union Art Gallery in Milwaukee, WI as as part of show of 6 fiber artists called "Throw: Great Innovations in Modern Quilt Design"

4.  "Written on The Body" was juried into a fine arts show entitled "Common Sense" at the West Tamp Center for The Arts

5.   "We Are Mermaids Too" and "Little Karoo At Night" were both part of the Mermaids and Mermen in Black Folklore at the City Gallery in Charleston.

6.  In news I haven't announced yet, Quilter's Newsletter will be doing a small feature on me in 2013; and

7.  American Patchwork and Quilting will be doing an even smaller one (lol) on me in 2013 as well. 

8.  And last, but certainly not least: Fiber Art Now has highlighted my work several times on their Facebook page. 

All very exciting!

_____________________________________________________________________________

Goals for 2013

Every year, I look back at the previous year, and describe my work as a 'schizophrenic oeuvre".  I've been okay with that every year, because I knew I was trying to find my way - trying to find what worked for me, and who I wanted to be when I grew up. 

In 2012, I think I found it.  

Abstract art has always been my one true love as far as art goes, and when I first became a quilter, I imagined that one day I would make glorious abstract quilt art that would hang in museums and galleries the world over. (Hey, if you're gonna dream, why dream small?)

But as much I as admire the makers of it; and as much as I regret the need to say so, abstract art is not where my talent lies. For me, representational art is where my talent lies; and more specifically, I seem to be drawn towards illustrative art.  

So, 2013 will be a year of learning about my illustrative style. Whether it falls into the "cartoon" style of "Happily Ever After", the "watercolour" style of The Organ Grinder, the surreal dream worlds of my tree work in "Winter Is Coming" or "Catelyn At The River", or the more realistic representations seen in "Ontology of a Rabbit", the fairy or my bird series - I can't tell yet.

I don't know which it will be - but let's find out together, shall we?

Alongside my illustrative work, I will of course continue work on the Whitewashed Series (I have two in development right now, actually); and will occasionally make pieces geared to certain fiber arts shows in hopes of getting in one of them - a goal I still haven't achieved, but hope to this year!

In 2013, my word of the year is "kujichaguilia" - a Swahili word (and also the second principle of Kwanza) that means "to define ourselves, name ourselves create for ourselves and speak for ourselves".  I have chosen a Swahili word as I was unable to find an English equivalent!

And as always, my guiding principle comes from the Master himself: 

"I am seeking, I am striving. I am in it with all my heart." Van Gogh

Thank you for spending time with me this year as I learn and grow  - I hope you will continue to visit in the year to come!

Wishing you all a happy and creative new year!


tiny sig


Previous Year In Review Posts - 2011, 2010, 2009 

(If you have a look, ignore the comments. When I ported my old blog into this one, everything worked beautifully, except that it now looks like I'm talking to myself! lol)

14 comments:

LynCC said...

Kit, you had an absolutely amazing year. :) Your works have enchanted me through the months. I started to try to say which were my favorites, but there are so many. And kujichaguilia sounds like a wonderful word.

Living to work - working to live said...

Golly Kit - when I read this I realised what an amazing year you have had and what amazing work you have achieved. For me, the highlights are definately the whitewashed and political pieces. Walking When Black is quite masterful, Angelique was moving and Written on the Body also hits the spot for me.

I am also a real fan of Annabel Rainbow here, who's Life series are somehow slightly subversive - in a positive way! I guess it is using the genteel medium of fabric and stitch to make a real point.

I hope your work makes it to the UK some time. It would be good to see it here too.

And with the school shooting tragedy in December (thank god for our sensible gun laws here in the UK!)I think your political work is all the more poignant.

So here's to 2013, and I, for one, will be following you as always.

Hilary xx

Jodie said...

with each new photo, I wanted to say for certain "that's my favourite" but here at the end of the post I just can't name one... I love angelique but also everything in the whitwashed series... I am so lucky to have found your blog all that time ago Kit, you amongst the whole internet have so much exciting stuff to say and share and show.
you know, you are pretty awesome.

Deborah OHare said...

Wow!
Happy New Year Kit.
Onward and Upwards :)x

Ineke said...

Wow, you've worked very hard. I think they are all very nice. Happy New Year!

arlee said...

Reviewing the year is a good way to remind ourselves how far we've progressed, a wonderful way to sum up and to go forward with what we've learned. Kudos on all your successes Kit, love reading about them!

sherry said...

wow what an amazing year for you...2013 looks like it will be following suit

Susan Turney said...

A wonderful record of your work, Kit! I, too, have many favorites but am really enjoying watching the birds. I'm really drawn to color but your "Walking While Black" piece and the other political pieces must have been so heart-wrenching to work on. They certainly give me a feeling of anxiety when viewing them. I really like the birch trees, too. So glad I found your blog! Happy New Year!

Marv said...

Wow Kit what an awesome year you have had!!!
I was wondering how you would feel about doing a custom piece for me. A quilted representation of my little bird Gator, perhaps using his actual feathers that I have collected over the years. I had started collecting his feathers with the intention of one day finding a medium to create a three "D"ish picture of him. Alas I am not that creative and still have not come up with a way of doing it short of just gluing the feathers to a paper. I think a quilted form of him would be so so much better. Especially with you eye for things. Feel free to email me at marvthecarpenter@yahoo.com to discuss this further and get it out of your comments section.
But again I have to say that your work continues to amaze me. I love sharing the journey with you as your discover who you are as an artist. How wonderful that the rest of the world is finally recognizing your genius in creativity.

Mary Stori said...

How very, very generous to take the time to compile this list for us to drool over!! Thanks so much for sharing...I'm happy to have found your blog in 2012 and look forward to seeing your growth next year.

Beth said...

You referred to your watercolor backgrounds as "not quite what I wanted". I have to pipe in and say your watercolor backgrounds are no only a success (IMHO) but almost apart of your artistic voice or signature (as in, I know you made it by the background). This is one of the reasons I loved the piece you made me. Not only MY crow but the background whispered Kit! Warmed my heart. I also have to respectful disagree about Winter's Wane not be successful. I actually thought it was very successful. LOVED happily ever after, the paper towel series (all of them esp the lake series)and the whitewashed series - FABULOuS. So glad I "met" you and you are in my life. Very anxious to met FTF in the spring.

o)---c === said...

Fantastic.. The tree is speaking!
Happy new year from Spain!
Adrián



www.sopasconhondas.blogspot.com

Juanita said...

I just wanted to say how much I admire your artworks and especially your courage to speak up about issues like racism and sexism in your work. You encourage me to allow my strong feelings about issues close to my heart to find their way into my quilts and onto my blog. Congrats on your successes in 2012 and wishing you all the best in 2013.

Michèle-Renée Charbonneau said...

Wow, what an amazing year for you, Kit. It's been such a wonderful journey to watch and I'm looking forward to seeing what you do in 2013. You and your work inspire me greatly. :)

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