A while back I wrote about wanting to make some drawings that were simpler than the ones I have been doing. Drawings where not every surface of the paper was filled in. I wrote about the idea of Horror Vacui, “the fear of empty spaces”. I thought about my need to cover the surface of a piece of paper or a piece of fabric with images and words. And realized that, when I first started drawing with my sewing machine and on paper, for me it was somewhat about hiding. I was hiding my images, within images. Detracting from what I was trying to say, hiding my mistakes.
Then, when I became more confident about my drawings and putting my words and feeling and thoughts out into the world, my pieces became more direct. The words easier to read. But still I filled in every space, out of habit or aesthetic or the idea that it’s “just what I do”.
After writing about making simpler pictures, we had the Open House then Jon had his surgery and I didn’t think about it again, until I made this piece “Patience”. And when I looked at it I realized it was the simpler drawing that I thought about making months ago. But there was something about it that made me uncomfortable. It seemed too simple, revealing, like standing naked in front of a crowd. And even though I have more confidence in my words and images to stand on their own and I don’t have to hide so much anymore, I still had the belief that without all the embellishment, my simple images weren’t enough. That they didn’t have value if they were too simple. That by filling up the page I was proving that I was working hard at what I was doing giving it value. As if time and volume, dictated worth.
Which, of course, translates to how I feel about my own self-worth. My beliefs that I’m not good enough, not doing enough, not earning enough, not giving enough, not kind enough, not tolerant enough, just, all around, not enough.
And the reason these stitched drawings make me feel like I’m standing naked in front of a crowd is because of what they reveal about the way I think. Something else I was hiding, although I’m not sure why. I think in images not words. My thoughts come as pictures and then I have to try to find the words to describe what I’m seeing. And it’s sometimes difficult to translate into words because the pictures are often symbols not a narrative. So what I’m doing in these new pieces is letting the pictures do the talking. I’m going from my picture thoughts directly to paper (or fabric) forgoing the words.
I’m not sure how it happened or why I now see that these pieces as enough in their simplicity. I imagine it has something to do with my own feelings of self-worth. That something inside of me has shifted and I now see that who I am and what I do has value. So I no longer have to hide in a jumble of images and embellishment. The work is direct, naked. It is enough.
“Patience” and “Knowing” are both for sale. They are stitched drawings on linen napkins. They measure about 19″ x 21″. They are $100 each + $10 shipping. If you’re interested in either of them, just email me here at [email protected]. I take checks and paypal.
3 thoughts on “Talking in Pictures”
Great work, I love these. What great quilt blocks these stitched napkins would make!
Those are beautiful!
Maria, You are a counselor and a psychoanalyst and a very wise woman through your art. Annie