[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/16010064 w=400&h=300]

down in the basement we hear the sound of machines from romy owens on Vimeo.

Last Thursday evening, I got to hear local artist, Romy Owens, speak about Creating, Marketing, and Exhibiting Fine Art Photography and, oh my, was I ever blown away! The video above shows one of her pieces – which I believe she said measured 4′ x 56′!!

Romy’s work combines a couple of my passions – stitching on paper and photography to create amazing quilt-like works of art – click here to view her portfolio.  The photos she uses are very textural – varied colors in a piece of press-board, brick, faded signage.  She’s drawn to urban decay – falling down buildings, graffiti, neglect and the juxtaposition created when she turns otherwise “cringe-worthy” scenes into beautiful works of art.

The stitching comes from a desire to incorporate “evidence of the hand” in her work.  I love that… have unconsciously been doing the same thing for years!  When I was making dolls, I hand-embroidered the faces, hand-stitched their hair and the hems of their dresses because I just felt that handwork was so important to the story the dolls had to tell. In my journals, I’ve always preferred putting pen to paper (vs. online or typewritten) – that evidence of my hand telling as much about me in that moment as the actual words that come out.

The most important thing I took away were her thoughts on valuing art.  Romy’s work is pricey, but the price reflects what she puts into it – the unique quality of each piece, the difficulty of duplication, the time it takes to make it.  In fact, one of the things I loved most was the back of the pieces she passed around because, as she finishes stitching each individual piece-part, she documents that moment in time on back… the time and date, her feelings at the moment, the music she’s listening to, quotes that have wound their way into her life – almost like a living journal.

It’s got me thinking about my own work in a very different way, wondering about ways to make my pieces come alive in sort of a Velveteen rabbit manner, where the time, care, and attention I invest makes it somehow more real and increases its impact.  I’ve been really focused lately on volume and having a LOT of things to sell, which seems important in the Etsy environment, but I’m going to be exploring how to deepen the experience, not only for my potential buyers but for myself.

In case you’re interested, I found out about Romy’s presentation through meetup.com.  Meetup is free to join; some of the groups charge dues, but you can pick and choose which ones you join based on your interests.  I’m finding it a fantastic resource for meeting like-minded people in my community and I hope you’ll check it out.