Welcome to the return of QRfrag (Qualitative Research Fragmented), a blog about qualitative research. I am interested in diverse aspects of qualitative, and this blog will be as eclectic as I am. It is a place to think aloud about the new directions in qualitative research, to ponder the questions students ask about qualitative research, and to consider books, articles, and other products and artifacts of this field.
When I made the decision to resurrect QRfrag, I thought hard about the shape it could take. Part of that work was subscribing to a number of blogs of interest to me and reading blogs about blogs. There is a lot of information out there on the topic of blogs. I sifted through the advice trying to decide what approach would work best for me. Some bloggers insisted on 500 words, others called for articles of 1,500 words. Some bloggers schedule regular postings, others posted irregularly.
As I took part in these forays into the thickets of blogging, I found myself coming back again and again to a single blog to which I had subscribed: Studio and Garden, the work of artist Altoon Sultan. There are several things I like about this blog.
First is the simplicity. Studio and Garden is really about studio and garden. Sultan, who lives in a farmhouse in Vermont’s rural Northeast Kingdom, blogs about studio—her studio work and the work of others who inspire her—and garden—her vegetable garden and the plants, ponds, and matter surrounding her home.
This brings me to the second reason I like her blog: It is restful and refreshing. She asks the reader to slow down and look carefully, be it the ice formations in a puddle or the work of artists at the Metropolitan Art Museum. When I read her blog I breathe more deeply and find myself attending to new details.
I also like this blog for the new information it brings me. She talks about objects, artists, colors, and materials in ways that are totally new to me. Her reviews of the art shows she visits make me want to go immediately—stop that bus, I am on my way!
Four is authenticity and questing. She appears to be true to whom she is. From what I’ve read, she started the blog as part of the remaking of herself as an artist. After many years as a painter with successful gallery sponsorship in New York City, her style and focus began to change. She and the gallery parted ways, she moved to Vermont, and began the process of working through new artistic problems. I like the thought that her blog, as well conceived as it seems to me, is still about figuring out the meaning of her work.
So my list of key words for what I would like to emulate from the Studio and Garden blog are: simplicity, restful and renewing, new information (inventive, creative, compeling), authenticity, and the quality of questing. I hope I can achieve some part of this in the new version of QRfrag. Thank you for joining me.