What is Art?

This is a question that may be worthy of a debate.  For me, art is simply any creation with an aesthetic flair, and more importantly, also contains an expression of the artist’s soul.

Aesthetics evoke a positive emotion within our bodies beyond the five senses, actually benefitting us physiologically.  Without this element, the creation is probably more of a statement.  But we all know that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” and “one man’s junk is another man’s treasure,” so no one can make a definitive judgement for everyone else.

Without a piece of the artist’s soul, the creation would probably feel more like a craft. Originality, individuality, passion, inspiration, fearless self-expression: these are some distinct trademarks of art.

Art is not limited to being an impractical pretty object.  Everyday meals can be turned into works of art.  Speech and writing can flow as art.  Everyday attire can be expressed as art.  Absolutely everything we do is a reflection of ourselves –be it soul or just ego, and therefore can be formed into art if we so choose.

Freedom of self-expression is a gift I treasure.  It is only in very recent history that we, especially women, have been allowed to do whatever our hearts desire, and speak our minds in public.  But even today, this freedom is not completely uncensored, and neither is it available in every corner of the world.

From a practical perspective, self-expression actually improves our health.  This is the domain of our throat chakra.  If you have health issues with your neck, throat, thyroid, mouth, teeth, jaw and the like, from simple sore throats to speech impediments to cancer around the area, reflect on your freedom to do what you wish.  Are you able to speak your truth?  Choose your career without family/financial pressure?  Live the way you want everyday?  Too little freedom — the inability to express your heart, as well as ‘too much freedom’ — such as inappropriate gossip, can cause a health problem to that area.  If you are in a situation which does not warrant speaking out or changing easily, try to find an alternate outlet.  Be creative.  Let your heart sing through an appropriate avenue.  There is always a path to joy somewhere.

I express my soul freely and silently through my quilts.  I do not expect everyone to understand the messages behind the quilts, nor agree with those messages.  But in fact, I have been pleasantly surprised to see how many people do relate to them.  We have far more like-minded friends than meet the eye in public.

I love this saying by Dr. Seuss:

“Be who you are, Be what you feel.

Those who mind don’t matter, and Those who matter don’t mind.”

Wishing you freedom of expression from your heart,

Kaycosmos from my garden

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Origin of my art quilt images

The most frequently asked question about my quilts is “Where do you get the images from?”, to which I say, “They are mostly flashes of insight.”

My first original was the most classic. On completion of my one and only practice quilt, which was in a traditional log pattern, I went to the library and read two books that instantly changed the course of my quilting – and my life. One book was a compilation of an American contemporary quilt exhibition in the 1990s, and the other was Vikki Pignatelli’s Quilting Curves. One night soon afterward, I went to bed, closed my eyes, and saw the image vividly that eventually became A Tough Choice.

I believe my experience is not out of the ordinary. I think most original works of art, and science discoveries, are just that: flashes of insight. Light bulb moments. Dreams. Inspiration.

The word “inspiration” came from “in spirit”. All of us get inspired moments from time to time. How often have we said, “I got this crazy idea the other day”, “I had this thought out of the blue”, or “this is too easy”. For fear of being ridiculed, or previous conditioning by society, we tend to discard those thoughts, and prefer to believe that something is not worthy unless it was hard earned. Inspiration, intuition, or gut feel are different ways our spirits communicate with us. “My Spirit” is the same as “my Source”, “my authentic self”, “my inner self”, “my Higher Self”, “my God Self” or equivalent.

I do not censor the images that come to me. As with other aspects of my life, I try to stay open to divine guidance. Recently, I learnt a little prayer from psychic/author Sonia Choquette that sums up my attitude: “Holy Spirit, use me! I surrender to you!” I still use my outer brain to come up with the best (most quiltable, attractive) way to express an image, but never so much that the original divine message is lost. Technical execution of the quilt — be it drawing, choosing fabric or free-motion stitching — are also intuitive “let go and let God” processes for me.

Picasso wrote, “When I enter my studio to paint, I leave my body at the door before I enter – the way that Muslims leave their shoes when they enter the mosque – and I just allow my Spirit to be there.” That is pretty much how I feel when I enter my quilt art studio. It is a place where I let my creativity flow, and lose all sense of time and constraints.

Wishing you inspiration,

Kay

butterfly on flower