“Silk Journey”, by Christine Gauthier-Kelley | On Growing and Becoming an Artist

“Surrender” on Silk

Approaching “Silk Journey” Art Exhibition: Opening March 16 at Manchester Historical Museum – a post by Christine Gauthier-Kelley

Here we go again…..up the learning curve, or shall I say up the growing curve! My first solo full-museum exhibition of my hand-painted silks is about to launch – but this time it’s all my paintings and wall décor and all my wearable designs, hundred plus pieces! I’ve done lots and lots of shows and sent work to far-away places for exhibits and runway shows, but this is a full museum, solo art exhibition challenge. It’s my first big solo show. It’s at this time that I reflect on the forces that came before in my life that make me embrace the challenge and “Go, Dog, Go” with full confidence that I can pull it off. I’m thinking that artists have an unrecognized and difficult journey; our work has to develops artistically and change as our lives change, and we also have to keep that other side of the brain sharp and honed and ready to meet the challenges of getting our work into the world for others to share. It’s a two-fold journey with many twists, turns and obstacles to overcome.

“Love not Burden” on silk

Developing as an artist, my journey began when I was a child and one of my favorite games was to lay in the grass and cloud gaze to see what I could see. When I look back I might have predicted I would love painting images of our universe and designing wearable art; I used to raid the cedar closet (and upset many) to see what finds were there to cut up and re-configure to a new design of my own! Through the many years and other careers, I never stopped creating because of the sense of connection and wholeness it provides. My drive to work as an artist was always to arrive to a place of depth and transcendence that I could reach through my art experience. But there were always the tedious “thinking” details of medium and technique, subject, executing skills, and thinking about the outcome. And then I met Silk, the ultimate artistic experience for me. I became as free as the dye’s liquidity as it meanders where it will, flowing across the silk, and becoming one with the silk. It is ….In-the-moment…….Accepting what is…….Allowing the flow…….Go where it goes…….Freeing up from the outcome. I love this most unpredictable art form. Every piece is an experience that only gets better by letting the piece lead me as it creates itself. I see now that all the years and many mediums of the past were my “practice”. The art form itself centered me, challenged me, then freed and moved me forward artistically.

Moving my work out into the world, I’m thinking of my “other career” professional education at Northeastern University that kept throwing me into safe but pretty uncomfortable new medical practice areas, preparing me so well that I carried the Code Call Beeper a year out of nursing school. And I thank my boss David for standing me up in front of a national NIH Research Steering Committee in Bethesda MD to give a lecture to seasoned and world-renowned M.D.s, building my confidence with an audience. I’m thanking Steve who stood me in front of major pharmaceutical industry executives and told me I could best sell them our clinical research services. And Joe who sent me around the world to new corporate offices to fix and unify his company operations so it could grow as one, not 10 companies.

“Mermaid” on the runway at CWAIV by Christine Gauthier-Kelley

Yes, all that came before my silk art career, but it was seARTS and the Wearable Art Group that gave me the opportunity to bare my soul and display my entire artistic self that I’d kept on the side, in the closet, my little secret all those other years. Here I stand, a full-time artist, with this new big personal Mount Everest in front of me. But this one is so very different, because when we are Artists, our product is a bit of our innermost being and soul that we manifest, bringing it to others to share. For me my art was never about a product….it is about creation, manifestation, inspiration, the feeling of touching the very spirit of myself and others.

So I’m about to bare it all, telling my art story through my work from the time of my teen years until now. I would not have done more work to prepare even if I’d been at the MFA, because all those people in my past taught me to do it to world class perfection. In this moment when I’m pretty much “ready” to install in 2 days I want to acknowledge and thank seARTS & the Wearable Art group.  I can still remember the first time I sought to be an exhibitor and runway artist for the CWA II Fashion Show.  Chair Jacqueline Ganim-DeFalco said “Chris if you are going to do this you really need to work on a good display and have inventory. You’ll be beside the best”. I worked day and night to create to fill my display. With success under my belt I started applying for and submitting to venues, challenge after challenge, it’s gone well and my work is now international. I could just say, “good for me”, but I’m putting the Cape Ann Wearable Art initiative and seARTS on my thank you list, because they did for me just what the Mission says, encouraged me and gave me opportunities to put myself out there, to up my game, to broaden my audience, and now to stand here, unafraid to bare my soul and show it all to the world. Thank you!   More info here: Silk Journey