Thursday, August 13, 2009

Old Orchard Gallery- Pat Owoc

Exhibiting Gallery: The Old Orchard Gallery
Title of Show: Fibra Vive
Opening and Closing Date: Sept 18th, 2009 - October 9th, 2009
Juror: Becky Grass
Show Description: Fibra Vive celebrates today's artist's personal interpretation of their "magical journey" through Latin America in their own work.

Submitted by Artist: Pat Owoc

Creative process –

  1. Personal library – store of images, impressions, overheard conversations, pictures, junk collected from the street, memories – a bank from which to draw
  2. Fallow time – thinking, or not thinking, but having connections made at some below-the-surface level
  3. Catalyst – the “itch” to make something, a deadline, a challenge, the need to make a gift
  4. Activity – putting the idea to cloth – buying stuff, dyeing stuff, cutting stuff, sewing stuff, and finishing

Often pieces are imagined in the finished form before any supplies are purchased or any dyeing or cutting is begun. Occasionally, especially when I haven’t fully thought-out a piece or when my skills aren’t what I’d like them to be, I have pieces that will never see the light of day.

Things done to keep creative –

  1. Being alert to possibility – ideas and images that are available by paying attention to what’s out there – friends, current events, art museums and galleries, human nature, media
  2. Making connections between things that may not have had any connection except the ones that I imagine or make up
  3. Experimenting with pushing what I know already – without making purchases of new equipment. I tend to work with what has been working rather than to go off into a new field or exploring new technology. The work that I do now is a logical culmination of processes learned years ago and of ideas started years ago. Little steps leading to refinements and, I hope, more command of materials. That’s not to say that I won’t someday buy some new goodie or learn to use new media, it’s just that it’s not what is necessary now.
  4. Frequent coffee dates with Paul, my husband.
  5. Not taking things so seriously that I can’t abandon work for times with friends and family.

Suitable environment for work –

  1. I have a dry studio for fabric and ephemera storage, for cutting, for sewing. Beans the cat has a cushion of her own and keeps me company.
  2. A wet studio on the lower level houses dyes, paints, silk screen equipment, and is a place that I can be messy.
  3. There’s always a ritual cleaning of the studio when one piece is finished – a good time, a fresh start, then a new piece.

Methods of visualization –

  1. I take lots of photos – hard copy, old-fashioned, non-digital photos and have my own library of images. They provide a source for pattern, for botanical work, for silk screen work and for chronicling the passage of time.
  2. I keep a scrap book of images from print sources – images of finished work of other artists, news events, color combinations, satisfying lines, etc.
  3. A notebook of personal ideas and overheard conversations and lists of events and quotes reminds me of things I’ve deemed important at one time or another. And, sometimes I wonder why I’ve written some those things.
  4. Although I’ve taken a couple of design and drawing courses, I rarely draw or doodle as a way of recording image or of working out designs.
  5. Art work is usually worked out in my mind before any cutting or dyeing takes place. Only when I’m concerned about the specific placement of a design element do I cut out shapes and place them on the work in progress.
  6. Recent work has been of two types: landscapes using disperse dyed fabric and botanical pieces reminiscent of Mexican paper cuts using Ultrasuede and disperse dyed fabric

A little about me –

“Who you are is what you were when – when you were 10 years old.” This line, from a film I used when teaching, seems appropriate when answering a question about myself. I grew up on a farm in western Kansas. My two favorite pictures from my infancy are (1) me in my Dad’s arms -- he had come in from the field and was black with dirt on his hands and face and I’m sitting in his lap as a very clean child against his dirty clothes and skin, and the dog is sitting next to us. And (2) me in my Mom’s arms -- she is sitting on the dirt of our driveway and there is a flock of Leghorn chickens scratching in the dirt around us. Important factors – Dad, Mom, baby, animals, and dirt. I have a younger sister. Judy was born when I was three and one-half years old. Judy and I had great fun when we were children – playing house and making mud pies and sewing for dolls and playing with the kittens that frequently “appeared” on the farm. Now Judy is my true friend, my confidant, and my woe-is-me I-can’t-make-any-progress-on-my-­­­­­­______ (fill in the blank) buddy. Farm life involved lots of work and rules about caring for the land and for the animals. We were active in 4-H, church, and farm organizations. Family activities included playing cards and board games -- I remember especially games that had to be played by the light of a kerosene lantern because the electric power had gone out during a snow storm.

Enough of early times – fast forward through marriage, the birth of a daughter, and 30 years in public education as a teacher and as a high school counselor followed by retirement in 1996. It’s wonderful, retirement, with the chance to make art and travel and go out for coffee anytime one takes a notion. I have time for friends and reading and cooking and taking a nap in the afternoon if I want to.

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