Un-multi-tasking

Picasso and Mood Fabrics.


Sometimes you see an exhibit that has the power to change your actions, thoughts, and perhaps life. I have been struggling for the last few months wondering how an artist can change a style or materials and still keep their voice. And I have timidly dipped my toe into changing up the style that I am "known" for as well as the beautiful dyed cottons that I use.

Dave and I had planned a trip to NYC to see the Picasso sculpture exhibit at MOMA and we decided to make a weekend of it. Our first stop right off the train was to my favorite fabric store in the world- Mood Fabrics. It has always been my go-to place for every kind of textile imaginable, and I normally spend hours there. With David in tow I limited myself to a quick 1 1/2 shopping event as I searched for some fabrics to pair with some of my Asian textiles. In my mind I was going for cotton- but as I looked around I was tempted by the array of other kinds of fabrics that would have lent a different dimension to my work. I ended up buying a yard of oil cloth and a yard and a half of a very interesting yellow cotton, But, I did not give into temptation.... which is a damn shame.

The next day we got up early to get into the Picasso show at 9:30 when the doors opened. OMG what an exhibit. Now I have always liked Picasso and am somewhat familiar with his paintings, drawings and ceramics. I was less familiar with his sculpture and its many many variations.
Picasso truly understood the importance of working in a series. His grouping of guitar sculptures and his absinthe glasses were marvelous and underscored the importance of focus. But what stood out the most for me what his refusal to be pigeonholed into one material or style. He worked in so many media and  whether it was clay, plaster of paris, found objects, steel, or bronze, his voice rang through clearly. He was not afraid to try new things and to put assemblages together in different ways. One quotation that Dave and I liked was from the owner of the ceramics studio that let Picasso use their facility. He commented that Picasso would never have succeeded as an apprentice in the facility- his work was too crude and different from the polished ceramics usually produced.

I was profoundly moved and felt like this exhibit was talking to me personally. I have to be much braver. I can not be afraid of trying different styles and materials. I have to be less intimidated by failure because it limits my ability to try new things.  This has to be the focus of my next year- to experiment more, to use different fabrics, yarns, metals, whatever. My promise is to return to Mood Fabrics with a different eye and no agenda.









by JudyK