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Ellen Anne Eddy
Author of Thread Magic: The Enchanted World of Ellen Anne Eddy Fiber artist, author and teacher
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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Musings: Art outside the box

Years ago, I had a friend tell me, "Sometimes your art is your life. Sometimes your life is your art."
I don't think I got it at the time. I had this fire in my head that made it impossible to leave the machine, the fabric, the sewing room, all of it alone.

Lately I find myself sewing in words. I'm crafting words and I can't seem to leave that alone. So my machine sits fallow much of the time. It's productive. I've self-published 4 books this year. But it's not making any quilts.

If art is a product, then I'm not doing my art. Is art only a product? Is it only a painting, a quilt, a pot, a weaving. Is it a performance? Something that only matters if we show it? What does art do, other than to be something made and show to others?

What if, instead it's a day to day process, a transformation of what we take in?

There's an old saying."Nothing is good or bad but thinking makes it so."Perhaps art is that process of rethinking the flotsom and jetsom of our lives so that it coalesces into a more sensible whole. We take our stories, our bruises, our tears, our rages, our hopes and dreams and dress them up through the process of what we make out of them. And somehow, they change our thinking. What was good is better. What was unspeakable is at least funny. Or speakable. What is agony is something that came and went and like the fairies left both good and bad presents.

I think that part of my art gone out of my box, my sewing room, my studio might well be the quilt I'm afraid of. I have a large lizard quilt drawn on my wall. It's komodo dragons, dancing in the moonlight. Is it odd? Well, all of my romatic life is odd or non-existant, but no more than what I see on tv which doesn't even start to define odd as reality.

The actual image is them fighting, in nature. But it looks somehow like a romatic dance. This may explain why I live with cats and dogs.

Will this quilt change me if I make it? Of course. All art changes us. That is what it does. It is the philosopher's stone. It changes lead into more precious commodities.

So today I'm going to pull my art out of the art box. I'm going to make my life my art. Which means the making of my life through small actions into a place of change for good.Wash the dishes. Find the bottom of the kitchen floor. It's in there somewhere.
And go and look at the lizards and see if I'm ready to dance with them yet.
Here lizard, lizard , lizard.


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