There is a consequence to making a decision to work with and surround yourself with people who are differently directed or less skilled. Sometimes the consequence is regression of your own art practice. It can also result in having to reclaim your path and contacts. Or find you are surrounded by copy artists, Sunday painters or posers.
I made a decision to change direction a few years ago. It happened at the peak of mid-career success. I quit organizations, stopped teaching, let memberships lapse and didn't follow up on extraordinary invitations that were coming in internationally.
At that point I was winning International Awards like the one from Hand Weaver's Guild of America for Innovative Practice, being published in Textile Forum Austrailia and in the European Textile Network Magazine. I was also guest speaking and teaching with an Invitation to teach at the National Taiwan Craft's Institute. There were other things like a life profile in the Column Left Atrium with the Canadian Medical Association, a documentary and invitations to show in New York, England, Holland and Hong Kong.
But I decided, perhaps out of fear, that I desperately needed a studio up North and to open a gallery.
It allowed me time. It allowed me a whole new perspective and some grounding time. It did not allow time for creative growth and eventually choked my creativity almost completely. I was surrounded by bad landscape painters, people who attend art events to get laid and used the nearby art school as a glorified summer camp or by artists who have dated prescribed practice and messages. Not all of course. There was meetings with Peter Von Theissenhausen, John Hall and Harold Klunder. Got to work with Claire Kudjundzic and Bill Horne, Carolyn Anders, Corey Hardeman and Paula Scott.
Hard lesson from all of this. In some ways the time spent in Wells was wasted and destructive on both a personal and professional level. Except I made friends and lived the intimate but invasive life of a small town. But professionally artistic life ground to a near halt. There may not be time now to reclaim it.
I can only blame myself for what happened.