Do you ever feel like other people have it together and you are just making it up? I feel like that most of the time and I feel like maybe other people feel like that, too. So I'm going to start blogging about all of the things I do not have together and what I'm doing to rectify the parts of my life/studio practice that are not working or need to change. I will call these blog posts "Real Talk with Kim". I have two goals here. The first is to be honest with myself and hold myself accountable for the things I want to change. By putting things in writing I find it so much easier to actively pursue bettering myself/figuring things out. The second goal is transparency. I have had so many conversations with students and other artists about how hard making work is and how it seems like people just spring up out of nowhere as fully formed amazing artists while we struggle and toil to just make something that doesn't suck or doesn't look like something that already exists. I hope that in sharing my struggles it will help other people in some way. We are all people.
This all came about because I just left an amazing weekend at Arrowmont for the Surface Design Conference "Made/Aware". The focus of the conference was on community building, socially engaged artwork, and natural dyes. For the past two or three years, I have felt like my work needs to change and is in transition. I don't know how it needs to change, though. In an attempt to figure it out, I wrote some quilt patterns and started a 100 days of painting project. Both projects were fulfilling and new and exciting and hard (I'm just a little over half way done with the painting project). But neither of them feel quite right. I also struggle big time with making healthy choices in my life. I'm sure a lot of us do. I like to drink beer and eat pizza and I have a major sweet tooth. So in addition to trying to figure out my studio practice, I have also been trying to simplify my life and make healthier choices re: food and exercise. I totally fell of the bandwagon this weekend. We all slip.
BUT! One of reasons the conference was so amazing was that I learned A LOT about natural dyes. I have been thinking about making the switch from synthetic to natural dyes for a while and this conference pushed me over the edge. I'm going to do it. I think the switch will answer a lot of questions I have been asking myself about the effect of my work both on my physical being and on the earth. Though I use synthetic dyes in a responsible manner and only dye what I need when I need it, the process of making the dyes is harmful to the earth, long term use could be harmful to my health, and really I have no idea how much I'm harming the water system of my community by using them. Though this feels like the right move, it is also a scary move. Most of what I learned this weekend is that there is A LOT to learn. Natural dyes are very different from synthetic dyes. The entire process is different and the type of color you get is also very different. So in addition to having a huge learning curve ahead of me, I have no clear vision of what my work will actually look like at the end of this journey.
Life is about learning, yo. I don't want to settle and make things because they're easy. I want to push myself and question myself and constantly be moving towards being my best self in every thing I do. I know I am going to fail along the way. I will probably fail A LOT. But that's ok. If you want to follow along on my journey, check in here and follow me on instagram (I will be coming up with a fitting hashtag in the near future) for a visual account of my forward momentum.