Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Claiming Your Own Style

For most of my life I have avoided categorizing or labeling myself.


Probably because I never found one that seemed to properly fit. One-size-fits-all-never worked for me, and this has been very true in the years that I have been exploring the art of quilting and stitching.


It's all been a long and wonderful learning journey for me, trying a little of this, and a little of that, seeing what I liked and what I didn't...


until finally arriving at this point in time, where after many years of exploring I have developed my own personal style that fits me comfortably.


Yesterday I met my eldest daughter in the city for the day, and during lunch we got on the topic of what style my stitched work exactly fell under.


"Hmmm" I said. "I really don't know!"


"They certainly don't fall in the traditional category" I continued, "and they aren't something that you would likely see in a contemporary art quilting show..."


"I most strongly identify with the modern quilt movement, but most of my work really doesn't fit that category either."


"Truth is" I told my daughter, " I don't think there is a category that my work fully fits in."


And that got me to thinking...


After all these years of learning my craft, honing my skills and developing my own style, I am ready to define my work, even if that means creating my own term and definition.


So I looked at my work...


and the photos I take of the things that inspire me...


I thought about my attraction to old time, make-do sensibilities...


And the beauty of off kilter lines and shapes...


And I decided to name my style Rural Retro.

So, after many years of avoiding labels, I have now created one for myself... and this excites me!


Since I am creating a brand new category of quilting, I now get to explore more in depth my definition of it...

What it means to me, and how I wish to express it.


A sort of place to hang my hat, and call my home...

A clearer view of what I want to say and how I want to say it... from creating a stronger and more cohesive look, to choosing fabrics, (it even makes this solid loving girl think more closely about what type of prints would fall into this style) to various projects and collections.


Branding my artistic style will help me move forward in a more focused direction, and I am very excited to begin this new journey.

And if I may, I'd like to offer this... If you find yourself on the newer side to quilting, (which is where I felt I was for many years as there is soooo much to learn) I wouldn't at this point concern yourself with defining an absolute style for yourself. This is a time to learn from everything that inspires you. Don't be afraid to take a bit from one esthetic and a bit from another, and mix them up. Ask yourself a lot of questions as to what attracts you and why. Don't follow trends blindly. Eventually something uniquely yours will emerge, and when it does go ahead and name it, claim it, embrace it.

Happy stitching!

65 comments:

NancyFancyPants said...

Rural Retro! I love it. But whatever you call it, you are one of my absolute favorite and most inspiring artists!

Nancy

Kit Lang said...

I love that you've defined yourself - when I've talked about you, I've said you're a "wabi-sabi style artist" - but I agree wholeheartedly that when possible, we should name ourselves.

Happy naming day. Can't wait to see where seeing this aspect of yourself clearly takes you.

P.S. I can't stand how much I love the runner underneath those eggs!

Yay you! (for so many reasons)

Monica said...

inspiring post. Truly.

(and your work is beautiful...)

Pamela Price Klebaum said...

Fabulous writing, more fabulous art.

Carolyn S. said...

I have recently found your bog, and I simply love your work. It speaks to me and my aesthetic sensibilities. This post is so lovely, and inspiring. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

Jan said...

Such great advice to new quilters! I think that there are so many patterns and books available that maybe a new quilter feels that she/he must follow what has come before to do it "right". It can take years to realize that you have something within yourself that can be expressed through quilting. We are all certainly still influenced by others because art just isn't created by isolation anymore.
Your style is so unique to you. I've not seen anyone even approximating what you are doing. Love that you gave yourself your own "label". It makes it so not a "label"!

Jackie Russell said...

I was thinking Rustic Modern but I like your Rural Retro better. Love seeing your work!

Brenda said...

I like rural retro, but most of all, I like what you're doing here. good for you for putting your own terms on your work instead of letting others define you.

mjb said...

This is great. I don't know my style yet, but I need the encouragement to keep exploring my own art and not to be following trends. That focus on what kinds of prints might work is how you'll get your own line!

Jenny said...

I love that!! I've often thought the same about my style right now. I'm thinking if you can make a name for your style than maybe I'll do the same! Thanks for that and I love your style!!

♥Duff said...

I think your definition and label fit just right. I've seen some of the evolution of your craft and it's been as exciting for me and it is for you! I haven't found my style yet so I'm far from a definition or label, but there's something in my mind's eye that doesn't quite fit anywhere and that has kept me form exploring it. I assume that someone like you has a degree and/or background in color and fiber so you're "allowed" artistic freedom, whereas the rest of us are just guessing and (in my case at least) throwing away a lot of fabric! Your post is inspirational, motivational, and I am entirely grateful for your candidness! Rock on Rural Retro!

Venus de Hilo said...

Another deeply inspiring post, thank you, Victoria! I've never been a trend-follower, but am still poking around in search of what my style will turn out to be. Seeing your work always nudges me to dig more deeply into the possibilities of my own creativity.

beth lehman said...

Funny - I don't quite know my style either - but I know my heart pounds when I see it or make it! I love this post - and I love your photos. Each one of them is one I might have taken (if I had my camera and my kids would let me ...) - I love rural scenes and have loved seeing how the lines have inspired you. You have given me some of the inspiration I have for just trying things... and seeing where they go!

sweetypie said...

your one of a kind, matey,an original and I would have called you modern rustic but ,actually, quite a lot of people refer to the style you have created as ;silly boo dilly;so your to late to make a name you are already a recognised style!

Angela said...

What a beautiful post, Victoria! The words of wisdom and the pictures make it a true statement. It comes at the right time for my own exploration.
I thought you were going to label your style as Worn and Weathered, but I guess Rural Retro is more... well, more you. I notice, though, that Worn and Weathered has "W" as the initial of both words, and Rural Retro has the "R" as initial. Unity by repetition.

Jodi said...

Sounds like great advice! I'm going on two years with my quilting, and I still feel a bit frustrated finding my niche. I fall in and out of love with different things I've created, and end up confused on what I REALLY like! I need MORE TIME to explore, and I plan on taking just that whenever possible. Your retro rural is wonderful to me and a great inspiration!

Jodi said...

sorry, I got that backwards - rural retro! Love it!

Dosfishes at Sparkle Days Studios said...

I love that conversation with your daughter and your conclusions about who you are. Rural Retro, love it. I really enjoyed the juxtaposition of your photos with your work and the influence of one on the other and how harmonious and balanced it all seems. xox Corrine

beingvfox said...

All I have to say is that I am happy to be a fan rural retro

MariQuilts said...

This is a very thought provoking post......I enjoyed it very much. I believe finding one's own distinct style as an artist is an ongoing journey...weather we have had any formal training or not. I feel there is a lot of doing and experimenting involved. Somtimes I feel like I've just touched the edge.

Great name.....so suits your style.

Cheryl Arkison said...

So appropriate! I admire your bravery at defining yourself this way. I don't think I could do it. Or maybe, I'm just not ready yet!?

Quiltdivajulie said...

Marvelous post! I like your style-name Rural Retro ... and I enjoy watching your process!

Karen said...

Well, whatever your style is, I love it. Thanks!

Char said...

Great post! I think it suits your work perfectly!
Your hand stitching is wonderful.

Colleen MacDonald said...

Love this post for so many reasons! Happy Birthday, Rural Retro! You've been lovingly grown all of these years, and it's so good to see you come into your own!

Filamental said...

Oh Victoria, this post is so timely. I have been doing the same thing. Yesterday or maybe it was the day before when I downloaded the video of you and your work I began considering what you do. Last night, I was awake in the middle of the night and I recalled where you say you live. In Lancaster, you must see the Amish?
I thought about the color system they use. And I thought about you in that way. Although it is not the same thing I can see it in your work.
Why I look at what you do is the simplicity and direct intention I see. It makes me think about color. I tend to use too bright of color, now days, because of my eyesight, I think. Your work is important to me. I appreciate and realize that you have that perfect balance of eliminating the unnecessary and what is remaining is art. I love it that you share with us your thought process.
b.

BaileyGirl5 said...

Love it!!

Sujata said...

Often, we find ourselves lost in trends and doing what people like and forget that It is important to follow our own heart and passion. After all, quilts take long time to make.
I love your style! The name "Rural Retro" is so perfect fitting to what it represents.
Beautiful post!It made me smile.

Anna said...

I adore your work. So interesting to hear your thought process and look forward to how you explore this naming and defining of your style!

Tamara said...

Rural Retro is great! I have enjoyed your blog because you dont just make a quilt from a pattern, you make ART. I am still finding my place as well. Thanks for being an inspiration.

Jackie said...

Fantatstic, Rural retro is perfect for you. You definitely do have your own style, and its recognisable and seductive.

Katie said...

rural retro is perfect! Your quilts are beautiful,and definately your own style. I feel like I am still on that journey to finding my own-but it's impossible to avoid how I come out in each piece,no matter if it's a quilt or doll or whatever. It seems we can not do anything BUT have our own special style. And I love yours!

Nifty Quilts said...

I love your style. And the name fits perfectly! I also love your courage to keep going your own way and to keep being yourself, uniquely inspired by the environment around you. That is why your pieces are so enchanting. There's a depth in them that can only be earned with lots of self-reflection.

Rachel Hauser said...

Thanks for being such an authentic artist and blogger, Victoria. I'm glad you shared this with us. It is truly priceless to know yourself.

Dawn said...

You are an inspiration, not that I do Rural Retro...I do like yours - they are so unique but there not me, but this question has been in my thoughts for so so so long...I need to explore who I am and what makes me me... I love your new name...and it defines you perfectly .... Congratulations for owning it...and sharing with others to INSPIRE us....
Hugs Dawn x x x

Rebecca said...

You are a pioneer! Thank you for sharing how you think about your work, not just what you do. It inspires me to follow my instincts :o)

Rebecca said...

and...that table runner with the eggs on it is UH MAZ ING. i could look at it all day.

aracne said...

Thank you Victoria, this answers my questions to myself: what am I doing learning all these techniques and where do I want to go? With faith I will wait, one day it will be clear (this is what Steve Jobs defined as 'connecting the dots').

stitchinglife.com said...

What an excellent post. I'm still struggling to name what I do, but I'm inspired by the fact that you have arrived at something you're happy with.

Esch House Quilts said...

What a great post, Victoria! Rural retro is perfect.

Congratulations on reaching this point in your artistic journey. Finding a sense of your own style feels so good.

Debbie said...

I love it! I have always admired your work and the process that you go through in getting to your finished creation. I also love the old buildings that inspire you to create.

I'm also looking forward to the spring when your fabric comes out of the ground. That will be very interesting, I think!

Bravo, Victoria!!!

kay said...

O my gosh, your work is gorgeous! I've only just become a follower, by way of the Quilt Inspiration blog. Keep up the great work. You are an inspiration. By the way, that table runner under the eggs is to die for!!!

Gina said...

Your inspirations and quilts are beautiful with or without a name but I like your chosen name, seems so fitting!

Heather A said...

Love this post and think the "retro rural" is most appropriate for your work. I'm an admirer.

Linda at Roscoe's Ma said...

Rural Retro...FANTASTIC!!

Jenny McH said...

Love your rural photos of the old buildings, love your colours you choose to work with & LOVE your work...organic rural comes to mind, (but then maybe someone would think organic farming with a name like that, LOL) Another person commented earlier, that her heart pounds when she sees something she loves...and my heart does the same when I see your work.

Candied Fabrics said...

SO lovely! It is truly awesome to see all your work together like that! Interspersed with your photographs, the choice of "rural retro" is obviously perfect! This is full of wise advice for new quilters, thanks so much for writing it.

Katrina said...

oh, i identify with this post whole-heartedly. i'm guessing many of us do. i think realizing you don't "fit" means you are on to something unique and truly your own. and also reflecting on your own trends helps to see your own voice evolving. this post makes me cheer! and your quiltwork makes me cheer too.

Corinnea said...

I love it. I love reading about someone so clearly (no matter how long the journey) comfortable with herself. You give good advice too! Can't wait to see what you do next.

Lappmia said...

I really like your work, I`m so inspired.

MulticoloredPieces said...

Just happened upon your marvelous blog. Visually exciting artwork and lovely photography. Well-written and thoughtful. What more could one ask for? I thought your Rural Retro label was perfect.
best from Tunisia,
nadia

BrendaLou said...

Rural Retro...perfect!

Diane J. Evans said...

What an inspirational post, Victoria. I, too, am struggling to find my niche and give my style a name. And I am going to zero in on what you've said here and remind myself that you have to make a lot of quilts before you can even consider labeling your style. So you've inspired me to get back into that studio and MAKE STUFF. And for this I thank you.

Diane

Sharon said...

I love the photos in this post! I love the juxtaposition of the old barns and your quilts. Beautiful.

Pat said...

Whatever you call it, I love it. Have done for quite a few years. You are a model and inspiration to me ... and I suspect to many others. Retro Rural. Yes. I think it works. A lovely thoughtful post. Thank you, Pat

judylenzin.blogspot.com said...

Oh Victoria!
You're my hero! I did love this posting so much. I too am impossible to name, but maybe it would be worth the effort to find a definition... as long as it doesn't fence me in, of course. Cheers, Judy

Cheryl said...

What a thoughtful, comforting post. Rural Retro. Perfect, perfect, perfect. Cheryl

Kristin L said...

Wise words. And a wise introspection too. My hat is off to you for defining your own niche. I too find myself between genres, but have yet to solidify just what that means.

Mary Keasler said...

Rural Retro ~ you are indeed. Thank you for expressing your thoughts so eloquently. You always inspire me and many times say things that are floating around in the back of my head. The last paragraph is beautifully said. Thank you so much. I am still loving my explorations and happy for you as you have discovered your style.

Hoola Tallulah said...

Whatever you call it, it is simply stunning, and always, always inspiring :)

Taos Sunflower said...

Rural retro is just awesome! I think it fits perfectly. I love your work so much...you're a real inspiration.

diane said...

wow, I love everything about your style and what inspires you. Thanks for sharing yourself and your Rural Retro style.

brand-eye said...

that is a great name for your style.

Victoria Bennett Beyer said...

Rural retro - I love it! You really have developed your own style that seems unique to you, and it is a beautiful thing.

Julie said...

I read this post when you wrote it and I think about the "what attracts you and why" part almost daily as I drive around town, sew, or read blogs. That question and the internal discussion that followed really helped me clarify what I like to create and freed me from trying to like and create things that don't speak to me. Thanks!