I'm working on a big piece, well big for me. It's around 3 foot by 4 foot. The working title is 'Dancing in the Light of the Moon', subject to change. This piece has done a lot of its own decision making, veering off into directions I never intended. For instance, the background fabrics started out as an attempt to replicate the rolling hills and fields around the river here. That's a little hard to see now as it wanted to be dyed fairly dark.
Anyway, it's time to quilt it. I want to convey more of the dance feeling, and my first thoughts were of adding a Kokopelli. I can see him playing the flute in the bottom left corner, some little moonlight sonata, enjoying the moment.
But then I became obcessed with the thought that Kokopelli is too overdone as a symbol, has become a cliche, some kind of southwest joke figure. Do we have the right to claim anything as a symbol in our artistic lives, or are we limited to things that come from our personal past, our personal culture? Is living in the same country that Kokopelli's inventors lived enough? Does using him step over the line of trendiness, becoming trite in the process?
And if I invent my own symbol, what does it convey if no one knows the background of that symbol? I use the kayak as a symbol in a lot of my work, but it's never a very realistic kayak, and only occasionally does it become instantly identifiable as a kayak. And does the viewer think the same thing as I do when they think 'kayak'? I think of floating down the river, leaning back and staring at a rising full moon, my hand trailing in the water. It's a peaceful symbol to me. But if someone else is a whitewater kayaker, I can see that the symbol would be entirely different.
Maybe I just overthink these things. Maybe I should get back to the mind space where the quilt would tell me what to do. Maybe this is part of, a continuation of, the doritos principle--do it, I can make another one...