On Creative Authority


I am gobsmacked with these drawings.


with Nancy’s use of color.


It’s obvious that she’s making choices.
She’s also filling the page, and that’s significant.


I just had no idea how on earth I’ll stitch these drawings, so I turned a few into fabric then stitched over it by hand. There’s still a learning curve ahead of me to avoid the pixillation of the images, but I’m rather liking this choice, this direction I’m taking with In Our Own Language 10. Yes, I’ve skipped from In Our Own Language 3 to In Our Own Language 10 cause when ideas and inspiration comes to visit, I invite them in for tea. (Sweet tea, of course, in a big ole’ Mason jar that sweats in the summertime heat of The South. But you knew that.)


The vessel I stitched is a shape Nancy uses a lot.
Sometimes with pencil strokes,



sometimes with space.

I want to do more with that shape, with that vessel.


I reorganized The Dissenter’s Chapel (a.k.a. my studio) this weekend. Had to take down the quotes scribbled on slips of paper that decorated my Wall of Fortitude to make room for something else. This is one of my all-time favorites:

“Creative authority is when you believe in yourself. You don’t hedge it, you don’t say ‘but it’s not true for everybody’ – you say ‘This is the way it is’, and not everybody sees it.” Ellie Epp, the faculty advisor I worked with my third semester of graduate school, wrote me that.


  1. wordsmithtom

    I first knew I was doing the right thing when a 4-year old looked at one of my creations and turned to her mother. “Mama, we have to have that!” I have since given her one of her own. She was overcome with gratitude. A couple years later my great-nephew and i were talking about art. He draws SO well, so much better than I’ll ever draw. I told him so. He smiled, then said. “But you paint with things.” Out of the mouth of babes I found the truth.

    I still want to show you that silicon technique. It’s perfect for adhering fabrics to hard surfaces. I love the stitched pieces….don’t get me wrong…but adhering them provides another way of presenting them. You’ll see when you get to my studio and see some of the stuff I’ve done.

    • whollyjeanne

      I look forward to visiting you and your studio soon. I have a box of goodies for you . . .

  2. moonmadness

    Do we get to see a photo of the fabric? Or do i wait patiently for you to fill it with texture and stitch magic…

    • whollyjeanne

      Posted a little bit on facebook late this afternoon. Did you see it? It’s hard because this piece is quite large and The Dissenter’s Chapel is quite small. Still might need your help figuring it out . . .

  3. Linda K Sienkiewicz

    They are beautiful drawings with wonderful shape. I would be gobsmacked, too, especially when I imagine (as an artist myself) the bliss Nancy surely felt when she was rendering them. Creative genius. Art soothes the soul. She is blessed.

    • whollyjeanne

      You’re so, so right: To watch Nancy drawing is to see bliss. It’s an amazing sight. I wish I could bottle it.

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