Writers must learn to embrace solitude in order to achieve their writing. This is true for all those who wish to achieve something creative, no matter what the field; however, it does seem that those in the nonperforming arts require a degree of solitude that tends, at times, to weigh heavily, and can be most discouraging.
I find meeting and visiting other artists inspiring not just in terms of firing me to push forward with my own projects, but in helping me bear solitude. Every writer and artist I have ever met, it would seem, has helped me that way, and most recently, my thoughts turn to a wonderful studio in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, that I was fortunate enough to visit during my recent trip to the kingdom.
Debra Ann Dennis has been a friend for many years, but I had only heard about and seen pictures of her quilting studio. During my recent visit, she invited me to stop by. I found a villa that had been transposed into a workplace for two artists: Debra and her colleague April Tosch, another American textile artist who has taken the second floor of the same villa to design, produce and display block prints upon silk. Both women produce incredible, perfectionist work.
These two textile artists have known multiple solitudes: that of being foreign wives in countries far distant in culture,time and space to their native lands,of being female entrepreneurs in a society which is very difficult for Western women to flourish in, and finally, being artists who must, like every artist, learn to wrest learning, thought and accomplishment out of long, silent hours spent alone.
Such visits really encourage the spirit. Today I am thinking of April Tosch upstairs in her own studio with a huge blocking machine, admitting to me that she taught herself. She was all alone there. I think of Debra Ann Dennis’s well organized rows of pretty fabrics and the one lady customer I met there, an Egyptian, whose life has clearly been imbued with meaning through bonding with Debra and her quilters’ guild. I believe I will be thinking of these ladies all year, and would like to thank them. Their examples will help me to get my own work done.