Vivian Maier, QuiltCon and Why We Create

Has anyone seen the documentary, Finding Vivian Maier?  It is a story of one of the more accomplished American street photographers of the 20th century who took thousands of pictures during her lifetime . . . and never shared them with anyone.  Her amazing art was discovered posthumously and this woman who worked as a nanny for her whole life never claimed the title of artist she so deserved.  Why did she spend every free minute perfecting this art and never share it?

This movie came to mind as I watched the people prepare their art in the form of quilts for Quiltcon 2015 and then acknowledge their entrance or rejection from the show that so many of us are looking forward to attending in February.  It had me thinking  much about art, the judging of it, why we share, what makes it art and what makes us artists in the first place?  In some ways the phrase Art Contest seems like an oxymoron.  How do we judge art?  And for those of us who create in fabric, do we call ourselves artists?  None of my local friends sew but many paint, take amazing photography, create jewelry and are creative ceramicists.  All appropriately so would call hemselves an artist but I would never refer to my work as art.

In our modern age it would be almost unheard of for an artist like Vivian not share their work with the world via Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, blogging etc.  Why do we feel the need to share it?  When we share it, does receiving a ribbon in a contest or acceptance into a festival make it more worthy or more arty?

I don’t know the answers to any of these questions for anyone else but myself.  I create because the process of creating makes me unbelievably happy.  I love exploring new ideas, using my imagination and mastering skills.  I choose to share it because I love kibitzing with and being inspired by other creative folks.  I so look forward to going to Quiltcon this February to meet some of you artists.  And someday, when I am comfortable with how far I have come with my own art I will bravely enter my work for consideration in big shows like Quiltcon.  Then again, maybe not. 🙂

I would be oh so happy to hear why you create and why or why not you share your work to a broader community.

(I am including a little bit of my recent work.  I made my first concentric circle experiment into a pillow and played around with improv curved piecing to make up a quilt top I am calling “Batten Down the Hatches” as we in Northern California face the “storm of a century”.  By the way, I have learned so much about curved piecing with my latest projects.  I may be done with circles for a bit . . . maybe.)