Monday, June 30, 2008


I'm not sure I should admit this publicly, but a little soul searching leads me to only one conclusion: I've been lax, lazy and inattentive in regards to my quilting, and it's high time that it stops. Oh, I've had spurts of motivation, inspiration and industriousness, but nothing that I've worked to sustain for any length of time. I'm trying to rectify that over the next two weeks, really focus and really put in the time every day to bring several works to completion and get my latest idea off the ground by starting several new quilts. I think I've hit that point where I have to consciously shut out all distractions, be ruthless in protecting studio time, get back into the habit of getting in there and getting down to business. The world, for the most part, will have to wait. This is something recommended by Twyla Tharp in her book "The Creative Habit" where she notes, "The act of giving something up does not merely clear time and mental space to focus you. It's a ritual too, an offering where you sacrifice a portion of your life to the metaphoric gods of creation." OK, the sacrifice begins today!

Funny, it didn't feel like sacrifice, though. It felt familiar, comfortable, normal. It began with something quite mundane but necessary as a first step in my azalea palette project: Washing and ironing fabric. Not every part of the creative process is glamorous, nor does it involve sitting at a machine or wielding a needle or paint brush. Some of it is prep work akin to grunt work. Lucky for me I rather enjoy processing fabric. Here you see two greens I bought specifically for backgrounds for the mosaic idea. The orange is a batik I'd purchased back in May that just happens to fit the palette I'll be working with. I have the rest of my unwashed fabric from recent purchases clipped, labeled and sorted into piles ready to go through the washing machine. (It's hard to get going on an idea when the fabric isn't ready to play...)

While waiting for the washing machine to run through its cycles, I pulled my March TIFC off the design wall - time to quit prevaricating and move forward. I'm trying a different way of edge finish which will create a border after the quilting is done and wanted to mark where the edge of the border will fall. I'd placed pins like cropping marks, but they can't stay once layering and quilting begins. I decided some quick long basting stitches would adequately mark the line and put them in by hand. Then I threaded up the machine and tacked the lichen in place. I made a last adjustment to the sheer leaf print positions and fused them down. There! This one is now ready for layering.

Thinking about how the session went, I was reminded of several things. First and foremost, I really do like having more than one piece going at one time. I like being able to jump from one to another as time and inspiration permit. However, there comes a time when I tire of having so many half-finished projects cluttering up every available space. Second, I need to be willing to do what I have to do to get to where I want to go. Isn't that what all the experimenting is about, all the trial and error with different techniques and materials? Some of it is not my favorite thing to do, but is the best way to get the effect I want or aide my efforts. And isn't this what "doing the work" is all about as well, putting in the time even when it's not convenient?

I polished off my work day following lunch, basting on my applique for 1/2 an hour while sitting in the shade of a tree. Yup, it didn't feel like sacrifice at all. Tomorrow may be different.

1 comment:

Exuberantcolor/Wanda S Hanson said...

It sounds to me like you were just in that lull, almost a let down after a show. I usually have a hard time getting going again after something major has finished. And you had finished a lot of pieces to be in the show.