It feels like a good time for me to reflect as we move into a full year of the lock-down life.

I clearly see how this time and quiet has been essential for me to be able to explore and expand myself creatively.

I also see how not having time and quiet makes me a very unhappy person. 

Knowing that I have something to work on on my drawing board makes getting up in the morning easier.  Recognizing that when I don’t have something to work on makes me edgy.   As someone who tends towards depression, art has become a necessity to me emotionally…now more than ever.  

It gives me a feeling of control in a world that feels so out of control. I can erase, glue down, stitch over, tear up or start over.  I can put marks on paper or stitches on fabric and look at it long enough to have it turn into something that didn’t exist before.  That’s creative power.

I feel tremendous sympathy towards those who feel they don’t have a creative outlet. 

The ones who feel afraid to try doing something artistic out of fear of what they see as lack of talent or failure. They need to understand about mistakes, which are essential to opening a creativity door. 

It’s progress, not perfection.  

Go ahead and try. You’ll feel better for it.

“Best Wishes” Mixed Media ©Janice Fried 2021

Even as we turn the corner into the final lap of this strange year, the anxiety is still very high.  With the election coming up and the virus coming in for another round of COVID-19 cases, my nighttime dreams reflect the fears that I manage to avoid during the daytime.

Despite this, I have continued to produce artwork, I created a new website on my own; janicefried.com , I’ve managed to stay in touch with friends and family and celebrate their presence in my life.  These are small victories in the battle to stay sane during this unprecedented year.

Here are a few new pieces:

Cover for https://brucedonnola.bandcamp.com

2020 ©janice fried

This mixed media on fabric piece won 1st place in a county wide art competition in mixed media.

“Accept the Things you Cannot Change” ©janice fried

This embroidered heart was done for a story in “Threads” magazine.

“The Threads That Bind” ©janice fried

A private commission mixed media piece.

“Gretchen” ©janice fried

One thing I can say for this Corona virus is that it has brought out such inventiveness, generosity and inspiration from the world as we all struggle with how to get through the fear and isolation of this thing. 

Musician friends are going live on social media, artist friends are doing art classes, and yoga friends are offering sessions to ease the stress.

This morning, I walked by a drawing I made a few weeks ago and tried to see how it figured into these strange days.
I sat down and read a little book of daily thoughts that I read before I write in my journal. The quote for today’s page was perfect. It was by Albert Einstein:
“The intellect has little to do on the road to discovery. There comes a leap in consciousness, call it intuition or what you will, and the solution comes to you and you don’t know how or why”.
“…a leap in consciousness…” is a perfect description of the creative process.

The feel of a breeze can turn into a dance; the rain becomes a rhythm, a conversation into the lyrics of a song. When I draw for myself I mostly draw without preconceived thought. I might start with a line, a pattern, or an inkblot and see where that takes me.

Corona Spring ©Janice Fried 2020

As the heavy brocade curtain opens on this new year, I feel urged to write a new blogpost, but do I focus on the past year or the incoming year?

This new year is one that purports perfect vision by its numerical date although it’s already starting to skew off to an optical illusion that even my new pair of glasses can’t adjust to…both personally and globally.

Last year was hard but I spent it switching creative gears from working on paper to stitching on fabric. I ripped instead of cut and let the edges fray; frayed edges seemed appropriate for my small world and the world at large.

I see 2020 as a continuation of this textile exploration where words like, repair, alteration and mend, take on special meanings; meanings that apply to my attempt to live mindfully, one day at a time…one stitch at a time.

©janice fried 2020

I have always had a tendency towards pareidolia, which is when you see faces in inanimate things. One of my favorite things to do when I am feeling stuck creatively is to drop ink or watercolor on wet paper and find images within. Another creative game I play is when I am a passenger in a moving car, I allow my pen to sit loosely in my opposite hand and see how the pen interprets the drive into squiggly lines in my sketchbook. I then later look at it and find some face or figure hidden within the inked brambles of the lines.

I have done a few quilts in the past and have amassed several boxes of beautiful fabric. Lately, I have found myself craving to work with that fabric and thanks to a Facebook group called “Stitch Meditations”, I have finally begun. It feels like a natural extension of my mixed media work. I’ve been working small for the moment; 4”x4” squares torn from an old fabric shower curtain. This shower curtain was white with large light blue mandalas on it.

I then use my pareidolia to search the section of the mandala until I see something emerge. I do a quick sketch on the square and start stitching adding embroidery and fabric scraps as I would with a paper collage.

Janice Fried ©2019

 

Right now, I am enjoying the process for what it is rather than what they might eventually become.

Right now, they are bringing me joy and isn’t that what’s important?

You can follow these on my Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/janicefriedillustration/

I try not to engage in woe is me nor do I raise my fists to the heavens in anger.

People say I am strong but I just try to remain steady by going about my life one day at a time. Sometimes one hour at a time.

I leave it in the hands of the mighty Que será será…whatever will be will be.

Call it my version of a power greater than myself.

It is very hard to watch people you love keep falling down; you have to keep reminding yourself that you can’t be the one to get them up. They have to stand up on their own. You can love them, stay close and encourage but that’s all you can do.

Surrender can seem like giving up but for me it’s more like acceptance of a situation in which I have no control.

Wave the white flag and then wrap myself in it. Cease resistance.

And so I say: (God) Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.
The courage to change the things I can.
And the wisdom to know the difference.

©janice fried 2018

I surrender, Que será será.

Here’s to a new year of hope and best intentions.

 

My mom sees beauty in rust. She has collected rusted bottle caps in jars and bigger pieces of lacy rust in her studio for use in her collages. Her collages always inspired and influenced me.

When I was younger, she had my brother and I well trained to keep an eye out for some ancient rust for her collection; her version of Wabi Sabi, the Japanese word that reminds us to embrace the passing of time and recognize the beauty in the cycle of life. I still look to the ground when I am taking a walk. My version of a treasure hunt. I have my own rust collection now.

A once shiny metal object which is lovely in it’s own right turns brown and orange and mottled by time and weather, something someone might kick aside as garbage or ignore completely.

Alchemy

Alchemy ©Janice Fried 2018

And so for Mother’s Day, I honor my mother for her eye for the visually imperfect, the discarded and the artistic jewel on the side of the road.  She is an artist and an alchemist turning rust into gold and revealing how beautiful aging can be.

 

 

Tikkun Olam means to repair the world and 2017 felt like we were coming apart at the seams.

As trying as this year has been both personally and globally I have to believe there is still a chance for a more lasting repair…. one stitch at a time.

Peace and strength and love, good health and well being to all of you for the new year.

Janice Fried ©2017

“Is all that we see or seem

But a dream within a dream?”

Edgar A. Poe  1849

Poe

 

Today marks the 106th anniversary of The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire.

146 people lost their lives that day…most of them young, hardworking, Jewish and Italian immigrant women.

Many of them were named “Rose”.

This image was created in their memory.

In Memory of the Roses

©Janice Fried 2017  In Memory of The Roses