Friday, 15 May 2015

Thinking of Andy Warhol

Two very different occurrences took place this week and both led me to think of Andy Warhol - something I can't say I often do. But having begun to think of him I found myself combining everything I had heard about him into a big cloud and finding that is contained more than raindrop sized holes. I went so far as to download a biography of him just to check if the two instances I am going to relate were true - and by god, when I read that book I'll certainly come back and tell you. The Japanese have a word -  tsundoku - for buying books and then not reading them. I have a tendency to do that although even that I've tried to curb which links in nicely to my first instance. 

Instance One

During a random google I discovered there was an organisation in the southern part of San Francisco called Quilt Works which, as well as a shop, has a community outreach kind of function. In fact while I was there they were cutting up a bolt of fleece to make blankets for foster children arriving at the hospital with no possessions. Which is nice. The shop advertised oodles of fabric at cheap prices so, it being a single bus ride away, I went down there - thus once again arriving in one of the neighbourhoods Pooch keeps telling me I should never go to by myself and which I inevitably seem to arrive in by accident. It was very nice. 
Quilt Works, San Francisco
The prices were not quite as low as had been advertised but still I didn't see anything above $10 a yard and most was about $8.50. It was all quilting cottons and all nicely displayed. 
Quilt Works, San Francisco
I ended up doing three circuits of the shop before I picked anything up because, as I thought about it, I couldn't think of anything I needed. My stash isn't huge - it fits in boxes under my sewing table - but I have fat quarters or off cuts in most colours and had no plans for a big new project. However, I did see a cat fabric I liked and a few fat quarters caught my eye AND they had this nice polka dot fabric in FQ bundles and you know what I'm like for dots so I did bring some home with me. 
I got back from the shop about lunchtime. Made some lunch, did some tidying, did some sewing, watched some wrestling and some myseteries and pottered about and then it was dinner time. I was making dinner when I spotted the fabric I had bought, still in my bag. 
Apparently (i.e. something I will check when/if I read the biography) when Andy Warhol died there were dozens of unopened shopping bags from designer clothes stores found in his apartment. I first heard/read/imagined this when I was at Art School in the late nineties and I've remembered it several times since then and it has always struck me as very sad, although sometimes I wonder whether it really is. Is it so wrong to get more enjoyment from the process than the final result? It's all up to the individual, but when you end up spending money on things you don't need, just to give you something to do, isn't that a bit sad? I suppose it depends on your financial position and also your storage space. If the task of finding a place for your stuff is stressing you, as I have found recently, then aimless acquisition is definitely a bad thing. If you're spending money that would be better spent on other things then that will inevitably stress you out too. If you acquire things you then have to get rid of, or that get spoilt by something like a flood or a fire, then that is a huge waste of time, space and money too. It is very handy to have a few supplies on hand for when inspiration strikes - but how many of us went way beyond that point some time ago and are still acquiring new things? 

In two minds about the whole issue, I unpacked the bag after dinner and assimilated it into my stash, much like the Borg assimilate new species into their collective. 

Instance Two

During the afternoon after my shopping trip I was chatting online with a friend who suggested I start vlogging. For those not in the know - this is like blogging but by video instead of in written posts. Vlogs tend to be on YouTube and there are now legions of "YouTube Artists" who are known purely for their online personas. In 1968 Andy Warhol wrote:

"In the future everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes."

This is a quote I first used in a GCSE English class at the tender age of 14 and is something that has been much misuded and misquoted by practically everyone about people like Justin Bieber and that slutty one from that reality show - you know the one I mean. 

Many years ago I used to do a podcast and at its peak it would get 1000 downloads a week. I basically thought of that as my "15 minutes". Had I thought about making a video version? The quick answer was "um" and I did a bit more googling to see what the bright young things of today are doing. It turns out they're driving around in their cars, making videos of themselves checking their eyebrows in the rearview mirror before going to Walgreens for tweezers. The only craft one I could find was a woman showing what she'd bought in Michaels and it was a prime example of aimless acquisition since she clearly had nothing specific in mind for anything she had bought. Watching random examples was in many ways a rather depressing exercise. So, overall, I am probably not going to join the legions, but it has made me think again about turning my blog into more of a business. After all this is my tenth year of blogging (tenth!) during which time I've seen many other craft bloggers come and go.  

I'll be making plans over the next month or so about how to do this plus there surely must be a giveaway for a tenth anniversary! I'll be sure to update here as those plans develop. 


ShinyNewThing said...

Interesting post, thanks. Having moved house twice in the past couple of years which included packing up my huge stash across multiple hobbies and shoving it in and out of storage, I've been thinking a lot about whether acquisition is a good or bad thing. On the one hand, I adore 'shopping my stash' to pull out just the right fabrics / yarn / wood /cones for what I am thinking of making, and I quite enjoy the initial acquisition process also. I see that random element of 'can I use what I've got' as a major part of my design process and often sparking innovation and new directions. On the other hand, in order to have sufficient quantities of stuff to offer a decent choice, inevitably huge amounts sit around unused from year to year. But then I've just taken up a new hobby of bobbin lace, which I'm really enjoying, using equipment and thread which I have slowly amassed over the last 20 years against the day when I would eventually try it. Also we're quite skint after our move so having lots of stash is keeping me going quite happily even though I can't afford to buy much for the last year (or the next year) so it's like taken out insurance.

Perry said...

This is a very interesting post. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I love the quilt you have made. Looking forward to ongoing pictures of your quilting progress.

Rosa said...

Happy sewing!

L said...

Hi, I used to listen to your podcast, have been reading your blog for years and a video pidcast vs vlogging could be lovely. Your tales of San Francisco are as fascinating as the ones from Japan and the UK.
Whatever you choose to door not, I always find your sense of colour and crafting and take on life and things inspirational.

Ynot said...

Just so long as you keep doing the blog, Lixie! I read your posts during my lunch hour at work and we have an open office so I wouldn't be able to enjoy your vlogging (I frown on earbuds at work except under certain circumstances.) You are awesome!

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