The past 2 months have been kind of unreal. Day and night, I work on pieces that I hope reflect the feelings of a great many Americans who are searching for ways to cope since the election. After posting something new, I am frequently moved to tears as I sit in front of my computer, reading the supportive comments that come pouring in. Even though I don’t answer everyone who writes, I want you to know how encouraging your words are.
If you’ve read the comments on my posts both here and on Facebook over the weeks since I formed the Wee Folk Players (They’re a Stitch), you’ll know that there has been push-back against my political satire, too. I guess that’s a sign that my message is getting through. I post and sometimes answer the critical comments as long as they are civil or relevant, but I’ve had to block some bizarre rantings and put up my Troll Free Zone sign (pictured below) on occasion. Alas, we are living in extraordinary times, the fairies have left the land of innocence and it isn’t safe yet for them to go back.
A short time after the election, I wrote the fairies made me do it, as a way to explain my recent foray into current affairs. And a couple of weeks ago, I posted a message for my Facebook followers. A friend who missed seeing the message on FB suggested that I also publish it on this blog, so here it is.
A Message to my Followers
Published on Facebook, Dec. 11, 2016.
As you have no doubt noticed, my page has recently included art work with a political edge. This is creating quite a stir, so I thought I’d address the issue. In the future, I plan to show a mixture of political satire, apolitical pieces and travel photos, along with a smattering of archival material. I am not by nature a political person, but I believe that speaking out through art is important for the health of our democracy, especially now. Art making requires a point of view, which can be confronting, depending on a person’s background and beliefs.
American populist voters wanted a dramatic change and now the tables are upended. As in many a cautionary folk tale, their wish has been granted, along with all of its unforeseen consequences. The universe has shifted and yes, even the wee world is shaken up. A brisk wind has blown through its ivy-covered cottage doors and the fairies are scrambling around in a panic. Is that so surprising? Rejection of the status quo is unsettling, whether it be through the election of an unpredictable new President or change in an artist’s approach from sweetly neutral to opinionated.
The election isn’t the only reason my focus is different, although it was the tipping point. For some time, I’ve been exploring more topical subjects and addressing world events, so I see this as a natural evolution. Some of you may think I’ve gone berserk while others applaud, saying, “You go girl!” All I know is that I have not felt this free and creatively engaged since art school 40 years ago.
I can certainly understand how many of you feel sad and perhaps even betrayed by my new direction. You think I’m being divisive and that political criticism has no place in this innocent wee world. It’s shocking because you’ve come to depend on my miniature, stitched scenes as a safe refuge from the ugliness of the world. A lot of us want and need a nonthreatening haven to engage with and I encourage you to create your own wee world the way you envision it. You have the ability to make that happen for yourself! You don’t have to pay attention to what I’m doing if it taints your experience.
As for my own vision, the not so docile fairies are like a pack of muses, leading me on a personal search for understanding of the real world around us. I invite you to come along on my journey. I do not know where it will lead or how long I will be traveling on this particular fork in the road. But I do know that I will strive to make art that speaks from the heart, in my own way. I will listen and observe and tell it as I see it. My work can range from sentimental to sophisticated or from silly to serious and quite often contains a touch of irony. Thank you to all of you who’ve cheered me on in this new endeavor. And I am willing to accept that some of you will strongly disagree and even be offended. All I can say is that I hope you come along and see where this is going, sometimes holding your nose if you have to. You may even find yourself spontaneously laughing every now and then!
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