On my 49th birthday, which was Tuesday, December 29 in 2020, I decided to create one piece of artwork each week until my 50th birthday, as a sort of celebration for myself. I chose 4" x 4" wood panels, for consistency, and because the small format increased the chances that I would have time to complete one piece per week. Otherwise, I had no idea what would emerge.
I am a dedicated woods-walker, photographing the small treasures I find in the forest, and using those photographs as inspiration for my artwork. Therefore, I would base each work on something I saw and photographed in the woods or my garden during that week, and I would take notes on both what I saw and what I created. I called it "The Tuesday Project" when describing it to people, since I started it on a Tuesday. I didn't miss a week (though sometimes I didn't get the piece done on Tuesday).
The final 52 pieces are presented here in the order in which I made them, and you can see when it was generally snowy, and when it greened up in Spring, and when it turned back toward oranges and browns in the Fall. You can see my obsession with mushrooms and wildflowers, trees and moths, slime molds and moss.
This period was filled with the strangeness of Covid-19 and all its subsequent closures and delays. I was also suffering from, and trying to get diagnosed with, what I now know is the rare autoimmune disease Scleroderma. These two things meant that my schedule was more free than normal (no art fairs or other events) and my studio time was both limited and changing (the symptoms of Scleroderma limit my ability to machine sew, for instance).
Because of Covid-19, many in-person workshops and classes went online, and that meant I had access to fiber art workshops with teachers around the world. You can see in these pieces that new techniques and materials are being absorbed into my practice as the year progresses. I pushed myself to try new things (abstraction and beading and gelli plate printed papers, for example) and gave myself permission to explore.
Most of the pieces are made from some type of paper and include either machine or hand stitching, but there is also eco-dyed fabric and beads and paperclay and paint. Each piece was created flat as an 8” x 8” square, and then wrapped around the wood panel using archival PVA glue and bookbinding techniques. As the year progressed, I noticed connections forming between pieces. Shapes repeat themselves, both in nature and in my work, colors and patterns reappear, and favorite stitches (French knots!) emerge.
The Tuesday Project was both fun and rewarding, and daily or weekly practice will now be a new and hopefully permanent part of my artistic journey.