Saturday, May 28th, 2016

Three of reasons why inspiration is of little help to professional artists

For my purposes professional artists are any artist who are trying to sell their work. Other artists will disagree.

  1. The picture above has been kicking around my head for about two weeks. It’s a basic weave pattern that I could paint, use ribbons to construct or use reverse applique. But it means nothing. It’s easier to sell if your work has a meaning. It’s possible to create patterns that are of intrinsic interest. Spires graphic design does some amazing patterns. Patterns can be used to create meaning in abstract art such as “Society has always been influenced by Queers”
  2. If you wait for inspiration to show up, nothing gets created. It’s far easier to set a goal and work on it day to day, week to week. So if you know when you go to the studio that you’re working on the next cat piece, or the next Tasmanian landscape or the next grotesque. It gives you a clear starting point. This has been discussed at length online and in “Art and Fear” by  David Bayles and Ted Orland.
  3. Inspiration won’t get your marketing done. Artists who want to sell need to do their own marketing. A lot of art marketing is written material. It needs to be regular and on topic.

Saturday, March 26th, 2016

Four types of bad art and what artists can learn from them.


  1. You know the work is wrong as soon as you finished. The composition is too busy or your colour palette is wrong. Learn from it but don’t give yourself grief. Put the canvas aside to paint over. If it’s a textile piece it can be cut up and reused. The piece featured with this post is one that I was never happy. The composition is too busy. I’m in the middle of painting over it for a totally different piece.
  2. A failed experiment. This one you might want to keep at least until you’ve finished experimenting.
  3. A work you were happy with at the time but weeks or months later may no longer seem up to scratch. Congratulations! You have learnt something, this is something to be happy about. You may wish to keep this one.
  4. A derivative work or worse clichéd work. Unless you are creating a satirical, pastiche or other challenging work, this is to be avoided at all costs. I caught myself with this one recently, I didn’t finish the piece. I’d only done the background. It will be used either for a piece with a similar colour scheme or painted over.

One of the challenges of being an artist is creating work that is your work. This is the essential problem with four. I find it difficult because I was urged to conform throughout life as a child and I wasn’t given a very good education in art history. I’ve fixed it since. It’s far too easy to worry about the quality of your work above the content. There is a relationship between quality and content but it is a complicated one. Your work, your truth determines what that relationship is.

Saturday, January 16th, 2016

How to create art while chronically ill

Good art creates a emotional response in the participant. Artists have to create lots of art to create good art.

Not all people who are chronically ill have the spoons to create art. If you’re bed bound, making art isn’t an option. If you can’t focus on more passive activities like reading or playing computer games, you’re not up to making art. The decision of what you’re capable of is up to you. Always.

If you have the spoons to create art while chronically ill:

1. Decide how often you want to create art
If you want to make art, the first decide how often you want to make art. If you want to be a professional, this should be daily.

2. Identify your simplest process
Identify your simplest process because this is what you will rely on when your body gives up on you but you need to make art. It is this you will be able to rely on to make on a daily basis. I’ve only recently found something simple enough for this. My token dolls are made of found objects, primarily plastics and scraps of fabric, and can be assembled in front of the TV. I started making them in January 3 this year.

3. Make time for more complex art
Schedule time for more complex art, write it down in your diary or calendar. I usually have time set aside once a week. This is time for using the sewing machine or working on your latest painting. Lately I’ve been working on my commission and my dream scroll. 

Friday, January 1st, 2016

2016 New Year’s Resolutions

I don’t usually make New Year’s resolutions. I have never resolved to lose weight or join a gym. However goals for my art are different.

  1. Finish the commission that has been hanging around for multiple years. It should have 5 – 10 hours left in it.

  2. Finish the Dream Scroll. Also close to being finished. I need to line the back of the of the scroll then finish the construction of the scroll proper.

  3. Do more textile art than I did last year.

  4. >Write this blog, once a week, even when I don’t have finished work.

One of my pleasures this year will be reading ‘Stitch Stories: Personal Places, Spaces and Traces in Textile Art’ by Cas Holmes. I enjoyed ‘The Found Object in Textile Art’ by Cas Holmes. Each textile artist has their own process, a good book gives you insight into that process. Copying process in its entirety is as bad as copying art for the artist. But you can’t construct your own process without learning new techniques. I do that more that by reading and considering if I want to try specific techniques on my own, than by taking classes. Often I don’t have the money or the energy for classes.


Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

My artist manifesto: 9 beliefs about art

1. Art can be anything and made from anything. Marcel Duchamps proved that amongst others.

2. Art is stronger when it has meaning. There are exceptions and there are cases where an artist’s body of work has meaning as a whole but not as individual pieces.

3. Anyone can make art. It takes practice and lots of it to make good art.

4. Do your own work, walk your own path. Don’t try to create Renoir’s, Rothko’s or art like your best friend. There is no one true way to create art. If you are told anything else, the person telling you is likely selling something.

5. To create good art the artist must first understand themselves. This helps the artist develop an individual style.

6. Sometimes art comes from the subconscious. The rest of the time artists have to show up and do the work.

7. Art should be written about in a straight forward manner. Technical terms should be kept to a minimum and where used defined. This includes artist statements.

8. Any aspect of art can get better with practice. Learn from the lesser works you create to create your next strong piece. A productive artist is a good artist because they have more opportunities to learn from their own work.

9. Use critical thinking. It’s a good life skill and will add depth to your work. Everyone has a bias and life is not always what it seems. Conveying that in art is important.

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

3 ways to mount embroidery

1. Mount the embroidery in a hoop. I don’t favour this method because it is done with glue too often which is non-archival.

2. Mount on a board in order to frame. The picture with this post has been mounted this way. The piece in question is called “Everybody matters” (c) Anita Morris 2010-2011. It was created as commission for Kwan.

3. Create a fabric scroll. This is a technique is something I’m developing and intend write a tutorial about later.

Friday, January 31st, 2014

5 reasons to keep a sketchbook

There are a variety of ways to use a sketchbook. A sketchbook is as unique as the artist who creates it. I prefer to draw in my sketchbook.


1. As the start of my design process Ideas and objects which I draw often are more likely to become the subject of an embroidery. Sometimes I draw or write something down as a design idea but I generally prefer to a more exploratory approach to the start of the design process.


2. I like drawing I like drawing. In a sketchbook it doesn’t matter if it’s a doodle or something

more formal.


3.To keep a record A sketchbook records changes in ideas, and techniques over time. I can already see improvements in my drawing technique in the books from the last year.

4. A sketchbook helps me cope with life I have an anxiety disorder. There are times when drawing in my sketchbook is a necessary distraction. It is concrete. The sense of achievement is satisfying. My sketchbook has become a security blanket. I used my sketchbook to process my reaction the 2013 saran attack in Syria.



5. A sketchbook increases how often I draw My current A5 sketchbook goes everywhere. I draw when I’m bored in the waiting room, at a cafe with my partner, and occasionally on the train

For further information I recommend:

Sharon B’s Artist Studio Journal: A Designers Workhorse is an online class being offered for the last time in 2014.

An Illustrated Life: drawing inspiration from the private sketchbooks of artists, illustrators and designers by Danny Gregory. This shows books from numerous people proving that anyone can keep a sketchbook. I found it a touch repetitive towards the end but otherwise worthwhile.

Creating Sketchbooks for Embroiderers and Textile Artists by Kay Greenlees. This focuses more on the how once you have decided keep a sketchbook. It also has examples that move towards the book as an art object in its own right.




All content © Copyright 2016 by Anita Morris.
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