©7.24.2010 Leah Virsik, Chunky Green Book. Paper, plastic, fabric, 6 x 6 1/4 x 2 inches.
How has my work changed? I’m continuing to work through Alyson B. Stanfield’s The Relatively Pain-Free Artist Statement e-book. I’m struggling with this question and I think part of it is that I’m doing work for different reasons as well. I applied to teach at the Focus on Book Arts Conference next year (fingers crossed) and developed the book above with that class in mind. It feels lately that I create a lot of books for classes… so that I can learn how to teach them and gain experience with the materials. The big picture is learning. I make to learn… same reason I enjoy teaching.
Working with paper has always been an interest of mine. The feel, the texture, what’s printed on it… It’s something that’s been a staple of mine with my books and collage and sewing. Mixing up materials and experimenting with new things keeps the explorer in me happy. I’m drawn to metal, paint, fiber and plastic and the more I experiment with these things, the more easily I combine them. I took a pearl and bead knotting class in a desire to use more beads and knots in my books. Also, I finished creating some metal metal covers for a book recently.
I’ve found that I’m working in similar colors: blues, purples, neutrals, greens. I’m also integrating words into my works. Something I’ve been wanting to do but this seemed to come naturally… with a lot of inspiration from Cathy Cullis and her hearts.
The roots of my work is about appreciating the process and ultimately me. What is important is that I’m experimenting, I’m challenging myself and going deep within to discover what’s inside. I have to go through this process in order to meet myself on the other side. Of course, but it’s difficult to create work that maybe isn’t interesting or beautiful. The difficult part is dealing with my critical self-judgment. I feel it’s my job to connect with my work in order to find out what it has to say. And really, if I think of my work as not being separate from me then this is the way that I get to connect and listen to the uninteresting and ugly parts of myself. And that’s where great acceptance lives.
My work is about play, acceptance, non-judgment, love, messiness, experimentation, connection and exploration. It’s also about working fast and completion.
My work has changed in the past four years in that:
- It’s more focused (books and binding structures and abstract works)
- I do a lot more of it (not just for birthdays anymore)
- I combine various materials: metal, plastic, paint, acrylic, fiber, paper and stitching
- There is a theme of learning: learning how to do something, learning how to teach something to someone else
- It’s more targeted to specific shows, exhibits, submissions as well as gift sales
I now feel more connected to my art than I have in the past. I’ve given it more space to develop and grow. It used to be more for special occasions. I would take classes to learn a certain technique but I wouldn’t try to learn that technique before the class. That’s not so true anymore.
I now feel my art has something to teach me and it’ll help me develop my voice. Currently this voice wants to do meaningful work that contributes to my artistic growth.