Thursday, April 27, 2006

More confidence building & a little freedom

Wednesday was a great day. I was ready take my last guild newsletter to be printed and processed for mailing. Although this monthly task has been a good learning experience and gave me a forum for sharing information and insights, now two years later, I'm very ready to be free of the responsibility. The sense of release was palpable as I stuffed them into the mailbox.

I'd also made a decision about entering two more juried shows, both with deadlines this week. Although very last minute, I pulled together what I needed for the entry packet to Images 2006 - no awards, but a chance to have a piece for sale - and resisted the urge to try for Quilt Odyssey - some prize money but no opportunity to sell.

I've had pieces in Quilt Odyssey before, and in recent years, the restrictive hoops a successful entrant must jump through have become more of a pain than they are worth. Not to say that the organizers are not justified in what they ask; I'm sure they've had some bad experiences that have led them to this point. But the rewards and prestige just aren't there for me anymore, I'd need to take better pictures of the piece I'd submit and I think it is the type of venue I'm trying to get away from but instinctively lean towards out of habit.

Actually, I didn't have to make my final decision on Quilt Odyssey until Friday, so on Wednesday, I was still considering it but it was not foremost on my mind. Putting together the entry packet for Images 2006 and getting it in the mail was the goal. It required learning another function of my imaging software and coming up with a quick solution to producing a 4 x 6 print when at midnight I discovered my printer low on ink. It required believing in myself enough to follow through in the face of adversity.

As I drove off to the post office, I found myself thinking, "This is the new me. This is my new life. This is who I want to be." I've been slowly making the break from traditional quilter to contemporary or even art quilter, a break which is more mental and emotional than anything, a break of habit to pursue a form that more closely represents where my interests have wandered. Breaks like this come easily to some people, but I struggle with giving up anything I've invested a lot of time and emotion in, as I have my traditional quilting. It's scary striking out on a new path, but each step along helps build the confidence that I can do this and that I indeed want to do this.

By the time I got home, it was easy to drop the Quilt Odyssey entry information into the trash. I could clearly see now that it did not meet the criteria for where I want to go with my quilting at the moment. And that realization was nearly as freeing as being done with my newsletter responsibilities.

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