Saturday, December 12, 2009

Early Reflections

A friend recently asked me if I'd started thinking about next year, in terms of my quilting, of course. Normally, I do not allow myself to think very far ahead, allowing the yet-to-be-hung new calendar provide a fierce barrier to getting ahead of myself when I have so much to wrap up before year's end. However, about mid-November, I indeed found my thoughts wandering into next year, perhaps because I'd stated I'd be doing no more "serious" work in 2009. Time enough to reflect and get a head start on next year's game plan.

The rumination began with the two things I started the year with: my resolution word, and my intent for the year. "Unfinished Business" was the shorthand I came up with to remind me how much I wanted to work through the ideas and half finished projects all over my studio. My intent for the year to finish up as many of those as I could. I did make some progress towards that goal, but oh, I let myself get sidetracked with too many new projects and commitments to make as much headway as I'd have liked. Looks like 2010 will be more chipping away at that unfinished business.

I couldn't help but wonder how my resolution word of "calm" may or may not have effected my productivity this year. Staying calm was definitely something I needed to master, and I was pleased that I usually remembered to invoke that word when things got frantic in my life. It helped a lot. However, there's a fine line between calm and comatose, I decided. Sometimes you can be so calm as to not get anything done. Calm does not necessarily give you the needed push to move forward that a little bit of panic does. I'm not willing to ditch it (nor my first resolution word "freedom"), so I let my mind work on the problem of what I was lacking this year.

It didn't take me long to come up with "focus." Too often my "calm" left me drifting, or not sharp enough to know when to turn down things that would be a distraction from my year's intention. I also realized that I'd begun to live in dread. Well, "begun" is not correct. I've always been a bit of a "glass half empty" pessimist. Maybe my resolution word should be whatever the opposite of "dread" is: "welcome," "embrace," or "accept." I have this feeling that if I could be more upbeat about the curve-balls life throws us, I could turn that dread into a positive thing, stay calm and maintain my focus. And all of this should go a long way toward my fulfilling my intent, which remains to deal with all that unfinished business. I may have to adopt two resolution words.

Of course, I full well know that there is no stopping my brain from coming up with new design ideas that I will want to act upon NOW. I can't imagine it would be a good thing to put all that on hold while I work through older ideas. I'll begin the year continuing a couple of challenges I added to my roster this year, but without regret. Both have been good for my artistic growth and remembering how to push myself to meet deadlines. One will be complete by March, the other I have some flexibility on, but in truth, have been using it to put into cloth ideas that have been kicking around for years. It has unwittingly aided me in getting to some of that unfinished business. But I sense I have to be adamant about staving off any additional commitments next year, in or out of the studio. I will have my hands full just completing enough new pieces for next year's ArtWalk exhibit (most of which definitely fall in the category of Unfinished Business), and the experimenting I enjoy but never make enough time for. "Focus" should help me get there.

I have very specific ideas about which will be the first two projects I'll tackle come January. One may or may not work, the other may be the start of a series, both call for hand quilting. I sense the year will see me doing more of this handwork, regardless of the time cost. Perhaps that will become my intent for the year as well - not just unfinished business, but a return to my roots and the hand stitching that calms my soul. We shall see.

1 comment:

Deborah said...

I like the idea of selecting a word (or words) as an expression of intent rather than resolution.