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Change your beliefs, change your reality (and a Virtual Art Show!)

What do you believe about yourself? Do you believe in your own value? Your immediate thoughts may be, “I’m amaze-balls” and “Of course I do,” and if they are, fantastic. But is that really your truth? Or is it a reflex, an automatic answer? Today, I’m asking you to dig a little deeper.

Making fiber art includes trimming off what isn’t needed. Believing in yourself asks you to do the same.

Belief creates reality…

What you believe to be true about yourself creates your reality. From your beliefs, stories develop that influence how you see yourself and the world around you.

Here’s an example: Put two people in a room to watch a movie on Netflix. When the film ends, ask them separately about what they just saw. Go beyond if they liked it or not. Dig a little. Odds are high you’ll get two different perspectives on the same film. When you ask each person to share their perspective with the other, don’t be surprised to hear one of them say, “I didn’t notice that at all!”

This happens because each of us sees the world through the lens of our own experiences. From experiences, beliefs develop. From beliefs, thoughts emerge. From thoughts come feelings. And from feelings come experiences. This cycle repeats and creates our individual realities.

When reality is upended…

Let’s use your current or most recent job as another example. You might see your job as a means to an end, a paycheck for financial security and a way to pay the bills. You may also believe your job is who you are. When you meet someone new and you’re asked to “tell me a little about yourself”, how often do you start with “I’m a _” and you fill in the blank with your job title? This is a sneaky example because, for most of us, we don’t even realize that’s our default response but that’s also how you know it’s a belief – because you don’t even have to think about it.

To carry this further, if you’ve ever been laid off from work, you probably went into a tailspin for a while. Getting laid off can be a completely shitty experience because not only is your paycheck gone, you’re also left feeling totally lost if you’ve identified yourself as “I am my job title”. Suddenly, your reality is upended because what you believed to be true about yourself – that you were your job – is gone.

Time for a re-write…

When you believe you’re your job, it’s a story you’re telling yourself based on the experience of having the job. But your story’s greater than that. You’re greater than that.

Belief in yourself as a whole being and in your own value is important because it’s this belief that will carry you through any turmoil.

I’ve spent a good chunk of my life feeling overwhelmed and lost, struggling to find my way back to peace and joy. For me, those moments often manifested beyond self-doubt and transformed into depression. When whatever I was doing didn’t go the way I’d hoped, I found myself unsurprised because that was just always the way things worked for me. It didn’t matter what I did, nothing would ever change.

But this was, and is, a lie. The truth was I didn’t believe in myself. And if I wanted that to change, I had to write a new story.

Write a new story…

My new story began when I returned to my fiber art. Through the act of creating artwork out of fabric and thread, I started to see myself differently. I reconnected to my innate creativity – something I’d denied even having prior to that point.

Making art requires us to let go of the reins. The final product may not turn out exactly as we saw in our mind’s eye. It may look better. It may look different. It’s ALWAYS gonna surprise.

Making art means releasing control. Control manipulates and forces outcomes. Since I’d spent a lifetime trying to stay in control, it’s no wonder I didn’t believe in myself.

The more time I spent making art, the more I realized my own value. I discovered I was more than my job, more than a partner to my guy, more than a step-mom to my boys, more than a daughter to my parents, a sister to my brother, and an aunt to my nieces and nephews.

As the intro to my new story expanded, so did my art making. One day, I realized what I was really doing was creating feelings out of fiber. By doing so, I was creating new experiences, which meant my relationship with my feelings also changed. This new “programming” evolved into a new belief about myself, one that serves instead of blocks, one that acknowledges I am limitless and worthy of joy.

Exit through the gift shop…

Creating feelings out of fiber isn’t just my art practice. It’s also a way of living a life filled with greater peace and joy. Living this way, I’m able to observe my feelings, to step back from them, to see what story they’re telling me. And when I can see the story, I can see how it’s influencing my reality. If I don’t like the reality, I can change the story. I can transform depression into joy.

Your beliefs create your reality. This reality can serve you or it can block you. Either way, when it’s upended, you can find yourself spinning out. When that happens, it’s time to re-write the stories you tell yourself that come from your beliefs. It’s time to learn how to believe in yourself and your value.

If your truth is the stories you tell yourself have created a reality where you don’t really believe in yourself or your own value, you may benefit from following my example.

If you’re interested in changing the beliefs that create your reality, let’s talk.

There’s a better way to live, one filled with peace and joy. Let me help you.


P.S….

I’m a member of the Wellington Art Society, a local group for artists to talk about their work and share it with the wider world. Ordinarily, our member shows are in-person but in-person isn’t an option these days, so we’ve gone virtual! Virtual is so cool because it means you have the opportunity to view all sorts of fun art from the comfort of your home. If you’d like to visit, the show opens Monday, September 14, 2020 and closes Friday, October 16, 2020.

The link to visit is: https://www.kunstmatrix.com/en/wellington-art-society

Instructions for navigating through the show are available on the website. I suggest the guided tour option so you don’t miss a single work of art! If you do visit, I’d love to know what you thought of the show.


If you’re ready for a private (virtual) showing of my art, you can schedule an appointment here.

To discuss commissioning me to make a textured fiber painting specifically for you or someone you love, please schedule an exploratory commissioning conversation and we’ll see what we can create together.

If you liked what you read (or watched if you chose the video), please share with the one person you absolutely know would like it too!

Happy Labor Day

Just a short, sweet post this week to wish you and yours a Happy Labor Day! Here’s hoping your weekend was beautiful and relaxing.

I don’t often give myself a day off, primarily because I enjoy playing in my studio. However, over the long weekend, I gave myself permission to spend some quality time soaking up the Florida sunshine. Is it strange we’ve lived here for five months and I still don’t have a tan?! I’m going to try to give myself a little more sunshine time going forward.

As for you, I hope the week ahead, and the remainder of the year, are just as beautiful and relaxing as this past weekend may have been.

Thank you for being part of my “tribe” and following my artist’s journey. I am grateful for the opportunity to share my heart with you through the feelings I create out of fiber.


If you’re ready for a private (virtual) showing of my art, you can schedule an appointment here.

To discuss commissioning me to make a textured fiber painting specifically for you or someone you love, please schedule an exploratory commissioning conversation and we’ll see what we can create together.

My most important artist’s tool

What’s my most important artist tool? What can’t I live without? There are several; the most important two may surprise you.

My Bernina 570 QE…

It’s easy to make stitched fiber art when you have a great machine!

One of my most important artist tools is my sewing machine, a Bernina 570 QE (Quilter’s Edition). I do a LOT of stitching on my textured fiber paintings, so my sewing machine is an obvious choice. It’s a practical tool. And it’s necessary.

The sewing machine is one of the first tools I learned how to use as a child. As a vertically challenged human, my mother insisted I learn to sew because I was “going to need to hem things.” So she sent me to sewing lessons and I came home to use her old Singer machine to make garments. I found I didn’t like making clothes but I did find myself liking the sewing machine.

The hum as material feeds under the needle. The ability to control the speed of the stitching, which increases or decreases the vibration of that hum. These pull me to the machine.

When I first began making art quilts, before I transitioned into bright, bold, abstract textured fiber paintings, I used my mother’s old Singer. She’d given me her machine when she bought herself a Bernina. As my art improved and I grew more convinced my calling was to create art, I too upgraded to a newer machine, also a Bernina, the Artista 180, a model Bernina no longer makes. It was a great machine and I still have it.

A couple years ago, however, I decided it was time for another, one with a wider throat area, which is the area between the needle and the machine body itself. The wider the area, the easier it is to move large rolls and folds of material through. To stitch my textured fiber paintings, I can’t just keep them flat the whole time. My work measures roughly 2’ x 3’, so I have to roll the layers like a burrito to fit it all under the machine. A bigger throat area helps with this.

The original Singer had very few stitch choices and no fancy feet. My Bernina has hundreds of stitch choices and lots of fancy feet. And yet, most of the time, I use one straight quilting stitch and one particular foot that allows me to stitch in all that texture just the way I like it. It’s not the bells and whistles that make it one of my most important tools. It’s that it has exactly the bell and whistle I need.

My empathy and intuition…

Morning walks help me to connect to two of my other most important tools.

While my sewing machine is an important artist tool for me, it’s not the most important. That designation goes to my spiritual tools — my empathy and my intuition and the way they work together.

I create feelings out of fiber as bright, bold, abstract textured fiber paintings. To create a feeling, I have to feel it. This calls for empathy. I’ve certainly felt all of the feelings I’ve created to date, but I find, when I can tap into the universal collective and use my empathy, I can dive deeper into the feeling I’ve chosen to create by accessing the collective energy around that feeling.

This empathetic connection lets me see the feeling, like a really colorful and fluid version of the Matrix. The vision that channels through me shows the feeling as radiating and undulating waves of energy.

Before I dive into the universal collective to feel the feeling, my intuition helps me choose the feeling that most needs expression at a particular time. After I’ve channeled the vision of that feeling through my empathy, my intuition comes back into play to help me take what I’ve seen in my heart and turn it into a visible, tangible object. Feelings don’t have boundaries and edges, but to create them out of fiber, boundaries are necessary. My intuition chooses the boundary shape.

The energy of a feeling also doesn’t have a particular form. A feeling is waves of color and light. So I tap into my intuition to see the placement of the colored bits of fabric within the boundary that will best convey the feeling I’m creating.

These spiritual tools – empathy and intuition – are my most valued and important tools. Without them, I couldn’t feel what I feel and see what I see. Without them, I couldn’t create my art. Working IN the abstract requires me to rely ON the abstract.

Detail image of Impulsive, showing the detailed texture of the stitching created using my sewing machine and the composition for the feeling created using my empathy and intuition.

Exit through the gift shop…

I believe feelings come to teach us lessons. We get stuck when we attach to a particular feeling, when we cling to it. Through my art, I am choosing to make feelings visible so I can detach and observe the feeling. Because only through observation can we see what we are to learn and through the learning, transform.

My sewing machine does the work of building my art. My empathy allows me to connect to the feeling I’m creating. My intuition allows me to see what the feeling looks like. This combination of practical and spiritual represents the multi-dimensionality of my nature, and yours.

If you’re ready for a private (virtual) showing of my art, you can schedule an appointment here.

To discuss commissioning me to make a textured fiber painting specifically for you or someone you love, please schedule an exploratory commissioning conversation and we’ll see what we can create together.

If you liked what you read (or watched if you chose the video), please share with the one person you absolutely know would like it too!

Why people like art

Why do people like art? The answers are many, varied, and often, intensely personal.

In this week’s article, I’m exploring why people like art. Please keep reading to discover my thoughts on the subject. If you’d rather watch and listen, feel free to jump to the video at the end.

Detail view of Celtic, part of my Hot Cross series
Image credit: Hilary Clark

Do you like art…?

A couple months back, I posed a series of questions on my Instagram (@hilaryclark13) as a sort of research project. One of those questions was “Do you like art? Why or why not?” The people who chose to respond all liked art but their reasons varied. All were as individual as the person.

One person was an art student when in school. She was initially inspired by architecture when creating her own work, drawn in by the aesthetics, feeling, look, design, and color. She remains connected to work with natural elements and architectural inspiration. However, she has a stronger connection to another art form, one she was introduced to by her mother: graphic art. Their shared love of graphic art, particularly that of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, created an additional bond between mother and daughter. She loves art that makes her think, feel, and offers a sense of freedom.

© 1892, Toulouse-Lautrec, “Ambassadeurs”
Image credit: Wikipedia

Another shared she likes art because it takes her mind in new directions. She sees an artwork and it triggers thoughts and emotions that allow her to expand her own vision of the world.

A third person sees art as a basic need, one that fuels her body and mind with inspiration and emotion. She’s drawn to all venues that share art – film, music, theater, museums, dance, and more.

A fourth likes art that speaks to her soul. She’s drawn to art that touches something inside her, evokes emotion and is the catalyst to connect her to memories and past experiences.

And a fifth shared she has a Masters of Art in Art History. Her connection and love of art is created by how much she can learn about a culture based on the art people create.

Art as transformation…

No one replied to my question with a “no, I don’t like art”. I think that’s because all of us like or love art in some form. We’re all drawn to the beauty, the message, the boldness, the subtlety, the colors, shapes, lines that make up artwork in all its media.

Like the person who sees art as a basic need, I believe art is available for us to offer us an opportunity to transform. To transform our vision. To transform our minds. To transform our hearts.

Art as a transformative vehicle opens us up to see the world in a new way. Each person sees something different in the art he or she views. And this individual perception allows each of us to imagine our own reality as part of the artwork itself.

My art…

I create feelings out of fiber – bright, bold, abstract textured fiber paintings. The act of creation allows me the opportunity to change the way I perceive my own reality. Through art making, I develop a connection to the feeling I’m creating.

We get stuck when we attach so strongly to a feeling we think that’s all there is. My work lets me feel the feeling and then step back to observe the feeling. Through observation, I can learn what the feeling is trying to teach me. And through the learning, I can transform my reality.

All art forms offer this opportunity. The art that draws you to it is trying to teach you something. And I think, maybe, just maybe, that’s why we love art.

Exit through the gift shop…

People love art for many varied and intensely personal reasons. It may be for a connection to a loved one. It may be for the opportunity to expand one’s vision. It may be because art feeds the heart and mind like food feeds the body. It may be for the emotion art evokes or it may be for what one can learn from art.

You may like art for one of the reasons above, or you may like art for a reason you hold deep in your heart. Liking art is personal, as individual as you are, and that’s a fantastic thing.

If you’re ready for a private (virtual) showing of my art, you can schedule an appointment here.

To discuss commissioning me to make a textured fiber painting specifically for you or someone you love, please schedule an exploratory commissioning conversation and we’ll see what we can create together.

If you liked what you read (or watched if you chose the video), please share with the one person you absolutely know would like it too!

What I’ve been working on recently

It’s time for a progress update from the Studio! I took a little break from creating feelings out of fiber to try my hand at a few different artworks.

Please keep reading for news from the design table and the sewing machine. If you’re rather watch and listen, jump to the video at the end.

© Hilary Clark, “Fish Tails”, Fiber, 12” x 12”
Image Credit: Hilary Clark

Fish Tails…

This past month, I did something I don’t ordinarily do. I worked on two different projects at the same time. This turned out to be good for my production rate, but it made my mild OCD a little twitchy. 🙂

I almost always work on one project at a time, usually the next in my Feelings series. However, in mid-July, I accepted a challenge to make a wearable art face mask for these COVID times. I ended up creating ten – the Queen of the collection and her Ladies of the Court. You can read about this Jewels of the Pandemic series here. One has sold; the others remain available in my Etsy shop.

In keeping with my focus on smaller work (the masks have a lot of design detail in a small space!), I also created a 12” x 12” artwork I’ve named “Fish Tails”. This piece was created as a submission for the Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) Florida Fresh Fish Exhibit, which will be on display at the SAQA Global Conference in April 2021. The Conference will be held virtually as no one really knows where the world will stand in terms of COVID. As we get closer, I’ll share information in this space about how to view the Fresh Fish exhibition.

I’m really pleased with my little fish. My drawing skills remain about second grade level when it comes to drawing anything that ought to look like something real. There’s a reason I create abstract art – my drawing skills are cartoonish and childlike. It’s just not a skill I’ve cultivated. So when my fish outline came out looking like an actual fish shape, I was pretty fucking happy. Still am.

This little fishy is super colorful and created using fused raw edge applique and machine stitching, incorporating the dense textured stitch lines I prefer.

For fun, I used a pre-printed undersea fabric I found in my stash as the facing for this piece. “Fish Tails” is a fish, through and through. You can read this piece’s accompanying poem here.

© Hilary Clark, “Fish Tails” – detail view, Fiber, 12” x 12”
Image Credit: Hilary Clark
© Hilary Clark, “Fish Tails” – back, Fiber, 12” x 12”
Image Credit: Hilary Clark

Abstract geometrics…

While I can’t really draw anything that looks like anything – if you ask me to draw a tree, it’s going to look like a second grader drew it, all lollipop or Christmas like – I can draw geometric shapes. A ruler and a compass help me with this. I never discount the importance of using tools.

A few months ago, I started creating abstract geometric drawings, using gel pens and markers on paper. I quickly found my voice in those abstract compositions made up of geometric shapes, line, and arrows. I’m entertained by these – I hated geometry class in high school.

I create a new drawing a couple times a week and share them on my Instagram (@hilaryclark13 if you want to follow along). They cross post over to Facebook too. I’m playing with ideas for what I want to do with these; I think I’m going to be uploading my favorites to my Fine Art America shop (opening soon!!) and offer them as prints as well as designs on items like throw pillows, phone cases, coffee mugs, and more.

I’m also experimenting with turning these little drawings into acrylic paintings. I’ve never practiced painting as an art form before, or at least not since I gave up finger painting as a kid. I’m finding it a fun way to spend a small portion of my Sunday afternoon. As my painting skills improve, and I find my voice with the paint, I’m sure I’ll shift from creating little 8” x 6” paintings to larger canvas’. Until then, I’m enjoying playing with paint. These are the three I’ve created so far, all taken from one of the pen and marker drawings.

© Hilary Clark, Abstract Geometrics, Acrylic on canvas, 8” x 6”
Image credit: Hilary Clark

(Feeling) Enlightened…

I’ve begun the latest in my Feelings series. I’m creating Enlightened, which incorporates a yellow canvas. Yellow = light in my mind. As this piece is still in its infancy, the only progress photo I have to share is the canvas.

Canvas for (Feeling) Enlightened
Image Credit: Hilary Clark

The design for Enlightened will use primarily fuchsia, red, and purple. I’m sure blue, green, and even some orange will make their way into this piece. Abstract, curving shapes will dominate the space, representing the Knowing we experience as we evolve towards enlightenment.

Exit through the gift shop…

I’ve been busy over the last month, creating wearable art face masks, a vibrant fish, drawing and painting, and beginning the work on my latest Feeling. It’s been a good month in the Studio and I’m grateful to share my work with you.

If you’re ready for a private (virtual) showing of my art, you can schedule an appointment here.

To discuss commissioning me to make a textured fiber painting specifically for you or someone you love, please schedule an exploratory commissioning conversation and we’ll see what we can create together.

If you liked what you read (or watched if you chose the video), please share with the one person you absolutely know would like it too!