disclaimer, this self portrait is not in the book.
Cate Coulacos Prato (features editor of Quilting Arts and Cloth Paper Scissors magazines) has written a Mixed Media self-portraits inspiration and technques invited me to be a featured artist. I'm page 104-107.
As part of Cate's blog tour, she stopped by here to answer some questions:
Me: Cate, I teach an Art Quilt Explorations class in San Diego. We meet
once a month and I teach them a new technique and give an assignment
for them to interpret as they please. Your book has inspired me to ask
them to create self portraits. What should I tell them to get them
thinking about the direction they'd like to take.
Cate: Two things are very important. One is, get over the notion that people will think you're conceited if you do a self-portrait. Famous artists and children do them all the time; they're an exercise, not self-worship. The second is, get over the notion that a self-portrait has to be an exact representation of your physical self. If you want to do that, that's fine--it worked for Rembrandt. And in the book, several artists have addressed techniques for capturing a physical likeness.
But all indications are that even Rembrandt wasn't just trying to capture his own physical image; he was interpreting, experimenting, recording, even playing. Making a mixed-media self-portrait frees you up to interpret the self any way you like. It not only teaches you something about art and form, it teaches you about what's inside you, what you'd like to tell the world about yourself.
Me: I love Kelli Perkins suggestion, in the book, that she took photos around the house of her favorite things and created a quilt from that. What other things might my students do to spark a theme? Like journaling prompts?
Cate: Wasn't that fun? Kelli did a great job with that (there's a quiz in the book to help readers do the same thing). Similar ideas would be: to look at your wardrobe and pick the most prominent color, then start playing with art materials in that color; dump out the contents of your purse or wallet or backpack and use it as a Rorschach test to discover clues about yourself; write down your three favorite quotes--or even your three favorite words--and tell a story about yourself based on your choices. You might keep a self-portrait journal and do one 5-minute exercise a day like these. Then, once you've accumulated some information, go from there.
Me: Have you done a self portrait??? If so, we want to see it. If not,
Cate: Yes, I did a self-portrait. The editors made me practice what I preach! It's in the book opposite the introduction. I altered a vintage turquoise portable typewriter with buttons and other embellishments and printed one of my favorite quotes from T.S. Eliot about writing onto vintage fabric which I threaded through the carriage. It says a lot about me: I love vintage, I am a writer, I grew up in the same era as that model typewriter (and, in fact, had one just like it), and I express myself through words. Being a communicator is not just what I do, it's who I am.
So now, dear readers. Leave a comment, what do you imagine your self portrait to look like and on Wednesday, November 5, I'll do a random drawing and Cate Coulacos Prato will send you a free copy of Mixed Media Self-Portraits!