Far from the Madding Crowd by Linda Frost

This month, I had the opportunity to visit a one-woman show by Ada Niedenthal at the Carter Art Center in Kansas City, Missouri. (This show will run until July 19,2008.)
I first met Ada Niedenthal in May of 2002. She and I hung a Special Exhibit by the Kansas Art Quilters at the Spring International Quilt Market, which was held in Kansas City that year. We were both members of Kansas Art Quilters, a group that had formed in 2001. I had just taken on the job of Exhibit Chair for the group, and this was my first time hanging an exhibit that was not made up of only traditional quilts. Ada was a tremendous help to me with that chore, and then stayed on with me to help hang the other special exhibits that were part of Quilt Market that year. She was so much more patient than I was as we hung and re-hung the other quilts and garments to suit the show directors in that vast un-air conditioned convention hall. We went our separate directions after the end of the show, and then slowly lost contact with each other as my communications became more email powered. Ada was a holdout against this technology. Eventually, she gave up membership in Kansas Art Quilters when the group stopped sending out printed newsletters and switched to an entirely internet-based existence. At the time, I thought that Ada was not doing herself any favors by cutting herself off from the wealth of information that was available online and from the chat groups. Now I think I might have been very wrong.
\Ada’s show contained over thirty textile art quilts that had an average size of about 30 by 40 inches. I have seen the average size of my own work diminish to Artists’ Trading Card size as I have watched my time spent online increase, so I found this aspect of her show impressive by itself. But more importantly, Ada has her own strong voice in all of her work. Her background in landscape design is evident in her work that depicts trees, such as “First Tree” and “Fractured Elm”.

\She uses color effectively in work such as “Diminutive Details” where the work pulls the viewer in closer to see how she has used pieces of baby clothing and vintage garments to carefully construct the quilt. Ada’s art is in response to her life and the events around her. Most recently, she has incorporated her thoughts and feelings about the Bush administration into her art, so I do not want to portray her as cut off from the world. \
I was inspired by Ada’s exhibit, and I now can see that the life spent with less computer time has a lot to offer. Ada has recently gotten an email address, so I can only hope she will not be as consumed by the Internet as I have become.
I wonder if I would have been better off in my artistic endeavors if I had held out longer against the allure of the World Wide Web? Even as I delete memberships to chat groups, I have been adding subscriptions to blogs….
Is there really any net gain to all of this added “net” information? \

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8 Responses to “Far from the Madding Crowd by Linda Frost”


  1. 1 home business July 24, 2013 at 4:19 pm

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  2. 2 Kate July 1, 2008 at 5:39 am

    I’m writing from Croatia, so please excuse any typos. They have a different keyboard here…
    I enjoyed reading Linda’s article about Ada Niedenthal and agree with a lot of Linda’s comments.
    I too find myself spending a little too much time working on the computer instead of at the sewing machine. Many times my compositions are based on photos, and I also do research on the web if I am working with something specific. But it is very easy to get caught up with all the options available on line, as well as photoshop and paintshop etc. Sometimes I’m busy playing around and dont get around to actually putting all my ideas to work!
    Like anything else, moderation is the key. I havent had access to a computer in a few days but havent missed it. We were sailing on the Adriatic and Im taking plenty of photos to inspire me later. Its good to get out, without any obligations, and just see what the world outside the internet has to offer!
    Thanks for the informative and inspiring article, Linda. I enjoyed Ada’s work and will research her further when I get home.
    Until then… dovidjenja!
    Kate Themel

  3. 3 Olga June 29, 2008 at 3:57 am

    Having the World Wide Web on our desks is like living in a library with a fantabulous postal service attached. I’m in complete agreement with Clairan. Input from the Internet can help us hone our particular skills, and does not have to shout out our own voice.

    And thank you so much for the introduction to Ada Niedentahl’s work, because not only did I enjoy what you show, but in Googling found the extraordinarily beautiful sculpture of Chakaia Booker! http://www.chakaiabooker.com/

  4. 4 Jan June 28, 2008 at 3:05 pm

    Once a procrastinator, always a procrastinator.

    I bought an audio tape called “Overcoming Procrastination”
    Never got around to listening to it!

  5. 5 Lenna Andrews June 28, 2008 at 4:35 am

    “Is there really any net gain to all of this added “net” information?”

    I think so, but it is hard if you are an obsessive-type in whatever you do, to balance time spent in the studio and time spent online. For me, reading blogs can be very inspiring, but then there is also time spent keeping up with my own websites & blogs and art groups, that I too have weaned down. Thank you for discussing it, Linda, as it is on my mind a lot these days. Perhaps i do have to set limits (on the computer) and stick to them in order to do more art?

  6. 6 Clairan June 28, 2008 at 4:03 am

    Do we regret time we spend reading? Looking at exhibits in museums and galleries? It’s just a matter of discipline. The net is a wonderful source of both inspiration and procrastination. It’s up to each of us to maximize the one and moderate (notice I don’t say minimize!) the other.

  7. 7 Anne June 27, 2008 at 7:37 pm

    I too am getting sucked into the internet and all it’s possibilities. I know that every minute I spend here are minutes lost from working. On the other hand it feeds me when I’m struggling with ideas and let’s me know that there are people out there that think and work as I do. It’s nice to know I’m not alone!

  8. 8 June June 27, 2008 at 6:48 pm

    Hi Linda,

    My very first thought, was, “well, through the net, we gained this post by Linda Frost, available only if we are computer-savvy!”

    Probably not ’nuff said, but quite quite true. I wouldn’t even know what a fine mind Linda Frost has if it weren’t for email lists. What a loss that would be in my life!

    Probably not ’nuff said, even yet — and yet, and yet……

    Thanks for introducing me to another new artists.


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