I have just returned from a wonderful few days at the Surface Design Association Conference in Portland. Talk about filling the well! The speakers and Petchakucha artists all were talking about their work; my head was spinning with fresh inspiration and ideas.
There were speakers talking about issues of social justice, climate change, gender; Felting, basketry, natural dyeing; Meditation, Futuristic textiles and bodymapping. And on and on and on. Wow! and then there was the wonderful dinners out and wine consumption in our room with old and new friends.
A few quotes to send me off in to the future: "it takes a lifetime to get to exactly where you are"
"Be bold for what you stand for and be careful for what you fall for" "how does my current work serve as witness", "transformative power of story telling"
It was also interesting how many artists said they first learned to stitch, knit, sew from their Grandmothers - what a responsibility that puts on all of us who are grandmothers. Have we passed on our love of textiles to those most important to us? Both men and women referenced being taught by their grandmothers.
Interesting modern buildings in Portland
It was really stiflingly hot while we were there - definitely more tequila weather than soup weather!
This was a very large textile display in Portland airport
You could see smoke all the way home from Portland which made for interesting photos, but not good for the forest fires.
So - what was the take home from the conference? I really need to have a story or message in my work in order for me to be passionate about it. I am tired of doing work that is organized by others, and work that is just frivolous or decorative just doesn't do it for me. There has to be a story. Time is running out and my favourite quote of all is particularly pertinent now: "art is a language - be sure you have something to say". Nature, the beauty and the changes that are taking place with climate change are really important to me. I need to step up and make sure I pass my love of all textiles onto my grandchildren.
I hope to start working on some new projects that I become passionate about. Watch this space!