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  • Writer's pictureCarol Wiebe

The Puzzle Of It All

Trust Robert Genn to get you excited about your substandard stuff. In a letter entitled Fun with retreads, Genn explains how he reworks an old painting. His kicker comes in the final paragraph:

The greatest thing in the world is desire. If you have enough of it you can fix anything. Paintings can languish for a year or more before the light of desire turns green. Sometimes the needed epiphany is right in your face. Faith in your own procedures and abhorrence of overworking are keys. Some painters can sit down and do a painting all at once and it’s seen to be just fine. I’m a fixer-upper. I like the puzzle of it all. I like to get myself into trouble and try to work my way out of it. I’m never going to run out of substandard stuff.

I really identify with liking the puzzle of it all. On any given piece of work, I like to try things that nearly bring the piece to ruin, and make me have to resurrect it. I am good at dumping pieces with fatal errors, as well. I don’t care how many weeks I’ve spent on them. I take a look, note the fatal flaw, and scrunch it into the bottom of a dirty garbage container. Done. Move on.

If the errors are not fatal, I will become obsessed with reworking until I am satisfied. The trick, when working with acrylics, is to do a certain amount and leave it alone. The hair dryer cannot substitute for wonderful things that can happen with a lot of paint drying to the air. Paint often has a mind of its own, and sometimes you just have to let it dictate the direction rather than try to control it.

Lately, I have had two pieces accepted into The Grand National, an annual Canadian quilt show. Something about that name makes me want to don a ringmaster’s hat and tails and pronounce it with ringing tones that gives the back row of an audience a startle reflex. It is actually named after the Grand River, which flows through the region.

I am so pleased that The Summoning will be seen again: it only hung on one wall before this (besides mine), which was my solo show at Greenwood Quiltery. Of course, I had to get my brushes onto it again, which was a huge risk considering it had already been accepted into the show. The theme is “Off the Wall.”

The Summoning ~ by Carol Wiebe

There is also a new piece, which I am very excited about, because it is a double quilt: 2 paper quilted layers with wooden discs between them. I think it adds depth to the piece.

Witness ~ by Carol Wiebe

The quilt is 26″ x 20,” which are actually the dimensions of the base quilt.

This artist statement accompanies it:

Did she make a grave decision or have a great fall? Only the moon has witnessed it all. There are no king’s horses, There are no king’s men, And the moon cannot put her together again.

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