Jeanne Beck's imagination and creativity take me in new directions, open possibilities and make me ask questions. Not why so much as why not!
I hope you'll enjoy and be inspired by her journey to find her art. Note the photo is of her Seeds of Compassion which was accepted into Fiberart International 2010. Jeanne describes the piece, made in 2008, as a "42" x 50", silk, cotton backing and batting, cotton thread. Monoprinting, silkscreening with dyes and paints; freemotion stitching." -- Dawn
by Jeanne Beck
Dawn’s invitation to be a guest blogger arrived on the heels of several personal milestones. The most exciting one was having a piece accepted for Fiberart International 2010. This venue is a truly diverse and inclusive fiber art exhibition.
Working on this question is a focus that has developed over time. A first quilting class in 1991 introduced me to textiles as a relaxing sidebar to a busy career and second marriage. By 1994 I discovered surface design and from that point on, all I wanted to do was dye and paint and print my own fabrics.
[Photo: Etruscan Relic, 2009, 38" x 118", length of silk broadcloth, monoprinted, screenprinted, hand painted with acid dyes and acrylic paints. Currently this piece is traveling for two years as part of an invtiational art cloth exhibition curated by Marie Therese Wisniowski to galleries across Australia and will hopefully travel to the US in 2011.]
I did all this in addition to working full-time until 2005. All my “real-life” work over the course of twenty-five years was writing related, from radio commercials and fund raising appeals to opening Beck Publications, where I consulted with numerous corporations to create and publish marketing and employee newsletters.
Writing always came easily to me, but translating ideas into visual imagery was an amazing new challenge. [Photo: Pages 3, 32" x 110", 2008. Collection of Gleason Library, University of Rochester. Dye, acrylic paints on cotton and silk. Screen printed, constructed.]
Although I was making a concerted effort to study contemporary art and art history, he criticized art quilters in general and me in particular during the workshop as “uninformed.” The criticism was difficult to take but it also motivated me tremendously. I’m very appreciative of that class now!
[Photo: "Relic 3", 21" x 21", framed, 2009. Acrylic on lutrador and silk; screenprinted and painted.]
I doubled my efforts to learn more about art and artists and dove deeper into considering how to develop wrriten language into visual imagery. I researched ancient languages, cultures, the origins and development of written language as well as numerous 20th and 21st century artists who explore text and handwriting as visual elements. This exposure has been amazingly enriching.
I now thrive on exposure to a diversity of artistic ideas and interpretations. Ideas of “concept”, “content” and “meaning” inform my artistic choices. It may not call to others, but it is wonderfully right for me.
As much as I enjoy learning, I equally love to play and experiment. Another insight arrived when I hit my 60th birthday milestone in October, that there are more years behind me now than in front of me. Time is precious.
In the wake of that realization, my perspectives on what I want from art making and life are shifting again. What is important to me? What gives me joy? I realized that it’s not a desire for success; it is a reverence and appreciation for the transformative power of creating, both personally and societally. This is the compass that guides my choices now.
There is an avid adventurer inside of me that is forever looking longingly at the horizon. In a way, being an artist is my voyage on the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria – traveling across the high seas for adventure and the hope it will lead me to the discovery of New Worlds. [Photo: Jeanne Beck]
Check out her website: Jeanne Raffer Beck and her blog: Art by Jeanne Beck.