Tuesday, May 3, 2011

When We Put Our Work Out There

When we put our work out there, for the world to see, it might will be evaluated or judged. I believe it comes with the territory. When I actually put my first quilt on Flickr, I found it uncomfortable  frightening, to say the least. Before I did that, family and friends were the only ones to see my work. This online, photo sharing community is fairly new. It's like putting your work in a gallery where people are free to leave comments...some maybe not so nice critical comments.

THE UPSIDE .....people are seeing your work and you are seeing theirs. You are getting affirmations and engaging in interesting discussions, plus making friends, with people of similar passions to yours. You are getting all this,with fairly little cost involved. You are gaining knowledge and inspiration from fellow quilters/artists. 

THE DOWNSIDE ....you might be compared or criticized. I believe it's part of putting your work out there. All the criticism won't be fair or kind....but much of it will be.

As a result of so many people seeing our work, isn't some competitiveness inevitable? After all many quilters put their work in competitions.

Rachel asks the question...How do we describe our quilting or sewing style in an interesting post here

For me it is about putting something of myself into the work I do.....whether it be modern or traditional. As I was pondering this, I found something I had written in one of my sketch books almost nine years ago....

When does the fear set in? Fear of not being perfect or good enough. Throw your caution to the wind. It is only the blank page in the sketch book or blank canvas on an easel.  It is my sketch book and my canvas.  Think not....but where will this art hang or who will it go to?  Just let it emerge and let it be. You are free to do that.  There is no harm to be found in your choice of line or colour, as there is in your actions or choice of words.  There is freedom...if you cast off doubt, fear and expectations (yours and those of others). 

This applies to my quilting as well. I want to be fearless and free in my quilting. I've overcome most of my fears about putting my work out there....some criticism is inevitable and I'm okay with that.

 In that sketch book of mine I also copied a quote from a book about Piet Mondrian...he was being criticised for his work. Again, I copied this about nine years ago and can't find the book, but you'll get the gist of it

"Who has thrown him (Piet Mondrian) into this mad confusion? That isn't easy to say. But it was probably Van Gogh. What is certain that once he threw off all academic constraint, he has lost his balance and has taken to daubing in the most abdominal style. The work of a sick abnormal man. Not even art."

 So, here we have Piet Mondrian's art, heavily criticized and the blame put on, Van Gogh, for Mondrian's fall into "mad confusion" 

These are two of my favourite artists and their work is as different as night and day.

If these artists had to deal with this type of criticism, I imagine some of it might, be directed at us now again too. I believe it comes with putting ourselves out there....I think it's worth it, what do you think?


  1. Well worth putting work out for others to appreciate - or not ! I have always found that putting my paintings, photos and now learner's efforts at quilting on display is very rewarding - there is a great feeling of achievement and most people are very kind in their comments !

  2. Thanks for your positive comment Susan....I have also found much encouragement and kindness. I have replied here since you are set at no reply.

  3. I love your work, but agree that "sharing" can sometimes be scary. But, life is like that- a little "for certain" and a lot unknown. Keep it up, I, for one, love ALL the inspiration and personal journeys that creative people, like yourself, are willing to share.

  4. I love what you wrote about casting off fear. How wonderful to be in a space (art) where there is such freedom to just be!

  5. Thanks for being brave enough to share your thoughts and observations as well as your art. You always inspire me.

  6. wise words...I have accepted that whatever it is that I make there will ALWAYS be those who love it and those who hate it. It's all very subjective. I find people are usually very kind on sites such as flickr. if don't like something they just don't comment. i'm okay with that. Although constructive criticism is always good.


Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment. I try to respond to all of your wonderful comments....if you are not getting any response from me it's because you are set up as a no-reply blogger. In order to receive a response you can change your status in your blogger profile. I'm no longer accepting anonymous comments.

Thanks again for all your wonderful comments


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