So much of my art and writing exists on the web. And I value the connections I make with other artists and I'm inspired by the images of creativity and beauty I find on their Instagram streams and blogs. To say that I would be lost without the online community of textile artists and their work is not an understatement.
There is also something wonderful about sharing your work in person. About going into a gallery and seeing, without the prism of a screen, the glorious alchemy of thread and fabric, paint and stitch.
The best is the thrill and joy of meeting the artists you know online, who you've shown with or written articles about, or just admired, in person. Of talking to them about their work and their process. Of being able to connect with another soul who shares this crazy passion for thread and images...
I've been lucky to have many experiences like this. And none of it would have been possible without the web.
For example, I met Iviva Olenick back in 2013 in Brooklyn. I'd been following her on Twitter and read about a event she created that combined a poetry reading and embroidery. I was so intrigued. My good friend Kevin Kinsella, a poet in Brooklyn, read at the event on a beautiful June night. And I met the huge artistic soul that is Iviva in person.
Another Brooklyn artist, Rebecca Levi, I first met in LA, at an artist brunch for Ellen Schinderman's Stitch Fetish 4. A few months later I was lucky enough to meet her for dinner in New York and get a tour of her inspiring home studio. What a joy that was!
First time I met craftivist and writer Betsy Greer (who I'm traveling to London with in March) was when she happened to be in Raleigh, curating a show called the Threads of War, which included a project by Danish artist Hanne Bang that I'd contributed to. Betsy and I walked through the pieces on display, geeking out over the stitches. Great experience.
Those are just a few of many great experiences like that!
All of this to say, it's good to step away from the screen. To put down your fabric and thread. To walk through a gallery. To go to a poetry reading. To meet other makers and artists who share (or not) your hard-to-explain drive to translate the experience of being alive into thread or fabric or paint or words or photos or music.
Get out there. I keep telling myself. Get up and get out there.