As I sit down at my table with my floss to make my work- I think what do I want my voice to share? What do I want to my viewers to emotionally experience?
I realize the longer I work and make that I want the viewer to reflect on their own daily life and personal relationships, while simultaneously connecting to me and others. Recognizing that we all struggle and celebrate the experience of love and loss in similar and even universal ways.
How do I choose to create this experience? As someone who once heard a quote about how you should always only work from what you know… all I really know is my daily experience and myself so this is what I make work from. This is how I create.
As an artist I am always observing, always watching, always listening for that moment. - then it occurs and I either grab my notebook and write it down or I grab my camera and click the shutter, holding it forever. This is where for me it all begins and all resides- in the actual moment as the person experiencing it or seeing it. I then take this and suspend it and recreate it. From this captured second in time I create my art. In essence I work to recreate the moment or the saying of the words, or the noticing of the touch, or the mourning of the loss. Through my stitches I build in the emotional resonance of the interaction- this can be an interaction with another being or it can be an interaction with one’s self.
Literally I take the image and project it onto my linen, deciding how the figures fit onto the ground, how detailed are they, how are they placed and positioned, how are they worked? I then make a drawing directly onto my ground fabric. From there it is a combination of working intuitively and reflecting on my initial image. As I work slowly, one stitch at a time, I think about the emotions behind the inspiration and allow this to be built into the work. As I spend hours stitching my husband’s nose I build in the love. Slowly the piece comes alive in my hands.
My ground fabric comes to me with its own voice and story to combine with mine, by working on found handmade or embellished linens I bring the history of women’s work, craft and the domestic space into my art. By allowing these used, stained, torn and flawed fabrics to serve as my ground, I bring the experience of family dinners, love making in bed, spilled glasses of wine, and favorite photographs on the side table directly into my work. By borrowing the stories of these fabrics, I add layers and complexity to my own story simultaneously honoring the history that allows me to be the woman and artist that I am today.
As I share my work with the viewer I hope that my personal story and the story of the fabric connects them to their own story, to their own lovers, lost loves, partners and families. Though the autobiographical drives the work and is necessary for it to exist, ultimately it is transcended, enabling the viewers to have their own independent relationship to the work and their own reflection on their daily interactions.
As humans, we live in a state of dynamic, conflicting emotions. In moments of pain we experience joy and in moments of joy we have sorrow. I celebrate the contradictions and dynamism of the joy and sadness of life. This dynamism creates the complexity of life, the beauty of life, and the path of life.
In the end, I want to connect to you, the viewer, and myself.
To learn more about Joetta Maue and to see more of her work, please visit her website and blog: www.joettamaue.com ; www.littleyellowbirds.blogspot.com