Twelve by Twelve Art Quilter :: Brenda Gael Smith
:: Brenda Gael Smith ::
I learned to knit, sew and embroider as a child by a kind of osmosis from my Mum but quilting did not become part of my creative repertoire until much later. I was a commercial and regulatory lawyer in another life. Emerging from a protracted and demanding business transaction in mid-2000, I decided to make a baby quilt. What serendipity! My husband was concerned that I was over-exerting myself on my long overdue holiday weekend. On the contrary, working with fabric, shapes, color and texture unlocked part of my brain bringing me a new energy and sense of well-being. Patchwork, quilting and textiles soon developed into a compelling avocation and, in a personal “sea change,” I traded my city law office for a studio overlooking the ocean a few years later.
More to Gain
When Diane invited me to join the Twelve by Twelve challenge in September 2007, I hesitated. I was wary of the commitment and the size was unfamiliar. However, the challenge format means that we can each work on our art in our own time, using our personally preferred techniques and styles, all with the discipline and momentum of a fixed deadline and the potential to bounce off the creative energy that is generated by working with an enthusiastic group. Figuring there was more to gain than lose, I signed up to the challenge but I had little inkling of just how rewarding the experience would be.
Discoveries & Confidence
In the course of the challenge so far, I have created more than 50 pieces. I am certain that I would not have created such a body of work without the impetus of the project structure. What's more, discoveries and confidence developed in the challenge have flowed through to my personal art practice. One of the ancillary works I made exploring the Mathematics theme became the foundation for my "Desire Lines" series which includes my Passion theme quilt Caliente and Running Hot & Cold. Similarly, my "Dreamlines" series is inspired directly from techniques used in my official Mathematics piece, Binary Note #2.
Even more enriching has been getting to know the other Twelves and their work. It could be isolating living in a small coastal community. However, thanks to the internet, blogging and the Twelve by Twelve project in particular, I have never felt lonely. The Twelves have become kindred creative spirits - we genuinely like and respect one another, we humour each other's idiosyncrasies and provide support, encouragement and thoughtful critique. I feel very fortunate indeed.
The 12x12 International Art Quilt Challenge can be viewed at www.twelveby12.org
See more of Brenda’s work at www.serendipitypatchwork.com.au