Friday, February 15, 2008

Signs of Spring and Getting On With It

We've had nearly two weeks of temps slightly above freezing and no more sticking snow which means we are experiencing a sane and slow melt to the snowpack. In a way, it's a little sad seeing those big snowbanks shrinking so quickly. We put a lot of sweat into building them - it'd be just fine to revel in the fruits of our labors a bit.

However, the last few days I've noticed things that are sure signs that spring is just around the corner. Bits of bare ground are emerging, Mr. UPS and Mr. FedEx have donned their shorts, and a bird left droppings on my car. The moose have come down from the mountains and are strolling around town. (This picture taken by a friend near his house - I've seen tracks but not the actual moose.) Oh, yes, and the dog is shedding her winter coat all over the house at an alarming rate.

As for getting on with it, I've been dealing with nothing but paperwork this week. I hate that, but to be honest, it had piled up to that extreme because of procrastination - not taking those steps lined out in my previous post. Most of it had to do with putting together an entry packet which took a lot longer than I anticipated, especially since I kept changing my mind about my second submission. Some people may be able to whip out bios and descriptions at will, but I find it takes me a long time to craft a well-written 50-75 word explanation of a quilt...and I had two of these to write.

Artist biographies can go out of date rather quickly, so I anticipated I'd need to make some changes in mine. I was surprised that my revision from last year was still good. Rather than just print it out, I found myself thinking I could do better with the information there. Let's just take that little bit out, rearrange the wording here, tighten up the writing. I thought of better ways to describe things, consulted a thesaurus, rethought how I wanted to present myself. Before I knew it, I was seriously questioning everything in it and wondering if I should mention some things I'd left out. (Not unlike how I approach some of my quilt projects.)

I thought about the purpose of a biography, and realized that often the information that ends up in one is there to legitimize oneself. Who is this person and what makes her think she has any right to be here? I really think I was responding to that question when I drafted my first version of a bio some 6 or 7 years ago. Now I realize that all I need to do is present my history, my background as it relates to me now. I do not have to divulge everything I've ever done. And I don't have to overstuff it with accolades. The bio is not the place, necessarily, for that. How many people are going to take the time to read through all that anyway? Hit the highlights, perhaps remain a bit of a mystery, and invite the reader to learn more in other ways - an artist statement and resume, for instance.

I let the revised bio sit overnight, reviewed it in the morning and printed it out. Packet complete, I hand delivered it in the afternoon and felt a huge sense of release. My personal triumph over procrastination got me caught up enough to allow for some guilt-free studio time today.

I'm not ready to show you what I'm working on yet. While attending to the paperwork, my mind has been working out my idea for the February Take It Further Challenge, and today was all about sizing patterns, cutting templates and finalizing placement of the motifs in the overall design. January's challenge still languishes, but I'm quite excited about this current one. Wondering if my rendering of the concept is either too obvious or too obscure, which is why I don't want to share until it's done. Rest assured, I'm not procrastinating!

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