Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Brainstorming for 2012

I have not been able to coalesce my thoughts as to where I want to go with my art this year and other aspects of my life. Instead, I've been leaving bits and pieces of ideas and perhaps longings all around the internet on other sites. My focus for months has been these up-coming exhibits and it's difficult to think beyond that. As day 3 of the new year arrived, and I continued to run across my favorite bloggers lining out their goals for the year, I knew I needed to sit quietly in the studio, sketchbooks and notebook at hand, and organize my thoughts a bit better, scoping out not only "the plan" for this month, but the peripherals that also must be addressed in the next three months.

Earlier in the day, I'd checked out the sale on and discovered they had some of the floater frames I fell in love with on deep reduction. I was sitting at the library using its high speed connection so couldn't do my usual check and ponder here at home. I decided to make a few quick decisions, casting about in my memory to recall what designs I have pending that would look good in these frames, and then what sizes I might need. It forced me into decisions I otherwise might have put off until too late to take advantage of these prices, but it did something else too that surprised me. It made me pick a size for a quilt idea barely fleshed out, and by doing so, I suddenly felt I could confidently move forward with the idea. That's pretty much backwards to how I usually work but by doing so I felt it propel the idea forward. That's when I knew it was time to gather my thoughts, brainstorm a bit and clarify my direction.

What I found was that each of the exhibits are so different that the quilts for them are scattering my focus. No wonder I feel like I'm jumping from one thing to another, no continuity in what I'm doing. I don't think that is totally bad, but it is, I realized, keeping me from pursuing several ideas that exploded in my head as options for a series. I'm not sure I can do anything about that at this point, but it is a reminder how quickly I can become distracted from exploring an idea and really developing it.

I became the most concerned about my ArtWalk exhibit. I only need two pieces done and photographed by April to submit with the application, but need additional pieces to display by the opening at the end of June. I'm planning on Masks to be the centerpiece of my exhibit and suddenly questioned whether the quilts I'd jotted down as possible ArtWalk ones, especially the ones for the application, work with that quilt. During my time exhibiting with POAC, I've learned the value of a cohesive grouping, works that follow a theme however loosely. I need to give this more thought in order to set my priorities over the next few months.

So instead of getting any actual sewing done yesterday as I had planned, I worked on a plan, keeping in mind my resolution phrase of balance and harmony. I'll be needing both as I work towards these exhibits and keep on top of the rest of the daily activities. I did better than I thought I would addressing the goals on my December list. It has given me courage to come up with a list for January equally as ambitious:
  1. Finish quilting the 3 x 3 discharge piece. Resolve cutout/suspension detail.
  2. Quilt background for found jewelry piece (as tryout for motif to complete above quilting.
  3. Stitch/threadpaint purple seedheads.
  4. Consider companion pieces for Masks.
  5. Sketch and/or mark quilting pattern for Palouse on silk over felt.
  6. Continue developing abstract willow. Test runs on pieced background?
  7. Continue hand quilting on Masks.


Sherrie Spangler said...

You would've liked our quilt guild speaker today, a professional organizer who emphasized setting limits and narrowing our focus so that we don't become scattered and overwhelmed. I'll do a blog post about it soon.

Connie Rose said...

IMO, Sheila, you should create what you feel moved and drawn to, and try to get into shows with that work -- rather than making work specifically to suit a show's requirements or challenge idea. The first way you're responding to your heart; the second way you're responding to something outside of you that's being prescribed. Just a thought...