art and fear and friends

~ Above is a close-up of a small art quilt i made for my dear friend Frieda Oxenham, as it was her birthday last week. Earlier, i was relating some thoughts about creating (in general) to Frieda in an email; we were discussing the book, Art and Fear. I wrote to her, "I don’t have much fear anymore for jumping in & creating (except a little when I think of making something for you!!!!!) but I still got so much out of that book (she had recommended it). I copied two passages that had a lot of meaning to me, here they are:

"The desire to make art begins early. Among the very young this is encouraged (or at least indulged as harmless) but the push toward a 'serious' education soon exacts a heavy toll on dreams and fantasies. Yet for some the desire persists, and sooner or later must be addressed. And with good reason: your desire to make art -beautiful or meaningful emotive art- is integral to your sense of who you are. Life and Art, once entwined, can quickly become inseparable; at age 90 Frank Lloyd Wright was still designing, Imogen Cunningham still photographing, Stravinsky still composing, Picasso still painting." . . . .

. . . and in another section of the book, this: “in a supportive environment –one found, more often than not, within the artistic community itself- approval and acceptance often become linked, even indistinguishable." ~ from Art & Fear, David Bayles & Ted Orland."

So! When I wanted to do something special for Frieda for her birthday, I would say that I hesitated slightly on exactly what to do for her because she is such an accomplished artist. When her birthday was becoming imminent and I was lamenting not doing anything for her yet, Steven suggested I give her some unusual and interesting things to work with - good idea, I said! Off to my studio I went with the intent of gathering things for her when I came upon the lovely image above, which I believe it is a Waterhouse painting? Helga Strauss of ARTchix Studio has this image on a transparency sheet. I took the transparency and color copied it onto a prepared fabric sheet; this I had done previously, and the image on fabric was already in my supplies in my studio. When I saw it I said, perfect! Look at this woman, really loving and savoring those roses. It said "Frieda" all over it! At that moment I said to myself, why couldn't I use this fabric image to make something for her birthday? It was the spark I needed.

I stitched the fabric image to a piece of hand painted fabric from my peace banner project; I made lots of extra painted fabric when i did that project, much to my delight now. Then I gathered the olive green velvet leaves and arranged them around the image; these were glued down with E6000 glue. I hand sewed on two carved shell flower beads from Alpha Stamps and then I added bits of broken abalone shell to the woman's dress. Frieda has told me she is often like a magpie, being drawn to glittery and shiny, luminous things . . . . so I also reached for two colours of iridescent glass spheres in 2 different sizes, also from Alpha Stamps and added these to the piece with tacky glue. The gold fabric which serves as the back of the piece and a frame of sorts, came to me as I was searching through my fabrics; it seemed appropriate for celebrating the treasure of a good friend.

The small words on the bottom of the image read, "admired and loved"(ARTchix Studio) which is how I know Frieda feels about roses, and how I definitely feel about her. We have know each other perhaps 5 years now, maybe more, and even though I have not yet traveled to Scotland and she has not yet traveled to Connecticut, I feel it is safe to say we have a long and slow growing friendship that seems to deepen every year through our artistic and personal sharing. Happy birthday to my dear friend! How lovely to be working on this post in preparation for the quilts arrival in Scotland and have Frieda email me in the middle of writing it and say, "Dear Lenna, your present is here, it arrived today and it left me totally speechless, so it's just as well I'm typing this!" I do believe she liked it! : ) oh happy day, from lenna young andrews on September 5th, 2009 (my son Decklin's 28th birthday - wow!)