It’s Creative Play Date Day! I was falling asleep last night thinking about a new piece that I think I’ll get started on today. What about you? Can you find a few minutes today for some creative time?
As you read in my post on Thursday, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about art and commodity exchange and have decided to try an experiment. If my art is a gift and not a commodity, then I can’t put a price on it. So, I’m going to post one piece of art a week for a 72-hour auction on eBay. We’ll see what happens. Each piece goes on the block Monday at 9 AM ET. If you’d like a reminder email, you can sign up here.
The fourth quilt in my Arabesques series has been sleeping the winter away in a heap on my work table. (I last posted about finishing the top in June!) I’d done some basic quilting over the summer (?) in the fall (?) but put it away after that. I knew that it needed more quilting, but I just had no idea what so it sat. . .and sat…and sat until yesterday. I can’t explain why yesterday was the day when inspiration finally struck, but it did. I drafted up two quilting designs, found that I even have the thread I need (It’s a miracle!), and am ready to get started quilting over the weekend. Here’s one of the designs:
I know that sometimes quilts need a little time. I wouldn’t have thought it needed all of the fall and winter, but it did. I also can’t explain why yesterday was the day the quilt finally decided it was ready to be finished, but the months of hibernation did give me some experience working with more complicated quilting designs and led me to the books where the design inspiration came from. I guess sometimes a little hibernation is just what it takes.
I’ve just added a few more quilts for sale in my shop. Now all of my favorite art quilts are available for purchase, including “Circles,” which I created last year.
I’ve seen a few “Year in Review” blog posts lately and decided that it is a great idea. I have long done that in my personal life and it seems like a good practice for my quilting work too so here goes:
- One of my biggest quilting accomplishments this year has to be publishing “Ravaging Rio and the Ghost in the Library.” This project had been on my mind for years and this year, I finally finished all of the quilts for the pages, photographed them (learning how to take good photos of quilts in the process), and self-published the book. While a graphic designer and professional book publisher could have done more with it, there is nothing like having a book that you created in your hands and it was great to bring it to fruition.
- I made 10 other quilts this year, in addition to the Rio ones. Most of them were wall hangings and many were created as small projects for the monthly BirdZeed challenges, but 10 completed projects is pretty exciting.
- I also began publishing my Creative Play Newsletter this year, which has legitimized all of the time that I spend reading and thinking about creativity and has given me a good excuse to buy more books on the topic.
- Lastly, I re-energized my teaching by participating in the New England Quilt Museum’s Meet the Teachers day in October. Self-promotion is not my strong suit, but I had a wonderful day meeting with guild reps and talking about the workshops that I offer. Actually enjoying that day reinforced for me that a quilting career is indeed the right path because I’ve never had that much fun talking about consulting.
So, what’s up for 2017? Well, 2017 represents my 20th year of quilting. I feel like I should have a celebration. I don’t know what that will be yet, but it gives me something to think about. Otherwise, here are my goals for the year:
- I’m hoping that my sister finishes another Rio book and I can start working on some new illustrations.
- I have several Arabesques quilts in mind so I would like to continue work on that series.
- I would like to teach more locally and get back into teaching online. If you know of anyone looking for a quilting workshop, send them my way!
On this day of thanksgiving, in between the turkey and the really awkward conversations about politics with family, I want to take a few minutes to thank you for being here. After some struggle, I am finally living the life of my dreams, pursuing the work that I believe to be my calling, but that at the very least brings me great joy. I want to thank you all for being part of this journey with me, for reading my ramblings all of these years and for your support. I am extremely grateful for all of you.
These blocks are the first four of the 49 I will make for the victims of the shooting at the nightclub in Orlando just a few months ago.
Last week I learned that after 47 years, Quilter’s Newsletter will cease publication. I am so filled with sadness by this news for many reasons. IMHO, Quilter’s Newsletter is very different from the other quilting magazines available because, though it has patterns in it, it includes articles about quilting history, quilt artists, the quilt industry and so many other topics that go beyond simple patterns for quick quilts. This diversity is the reason that Quilter’s Newsletter has been the only, the ONLY magazine that I have continuously subscribed to for about 15 years.
Quilter’s Newsletter was also the first quilting magazine to publish something I wrote, which means it will always be near and dear to my heart. I wrote a short “humor” piece (I put that in quotes because I don’t think that I am that much of a comedienne.) that they published in 2010. Here it is:
Thank you, Quilter’s Newsletter.
A year ago today I posted here about “Launching My New Life” and finally pursuing quilting as a profession. I thought I would use this Throwback Thursday post to give an update on that. I am happy to report that I am still on this path. I didn’t quit yet to get a “real job,” even though my bank account has dipped dangerously low over the last year. I have done some consulting gigs to keep money coming in and have enjoyed those, but have truly started seeing my primary career as that of an artist. I still trip over those words a bit when someone asks what I do, but I am getting better at it.
I have also really enjoyed my quilting work this year. I have done my best work to-date and feel like I am coming into my own as an artist. I have several projects going on right now that I am extremely excited about:
- a self-published children’s book that my sister wrote and that I illustrated with pictorial quilts
- a soon-to-be launched monthly newsletter focused on creativity
- a new quilt that is too nascent to mention yet
I have found true happiness working in my studio every day (or as often as I can when not doing consulting work) and I look forward to continuing to live this life.
I wrapped up my year-long journal quilting project in 2012, two weeks after my daughter was born. It was a terrific project for me and one that I am tempted to repeat. If nothing else, I had something on my to do list every week that encouraged me to get into the studio for some play time, to try something new and to stretch myself a bit. I have found myself using a lot of the techniques over the last four years that I first experimented with during the project, including some of the design practice that was required to complete a new piece of work each week.
As I wrap up my #TBT posts here, I’d like to share some lessons learned from the project:
- A weekly project that prompted me to create something new was a terrific exercise for creativity. Some weeks were less creative than others, but I pushed myself to try new things and some of the results were wonderful.
- I learned how to design. I learned that I needed to set aside some time for quiet reflection and sketching and how to keep pushing on a topic until the spark came. I also learned that sometimes, it just doesn’t work and that it’s okay to pitch something in the trash and start over.
- Practically, I tried a wide variety of techniques that I might not have tried otherwise, explored many of those stitches on my machine, and improved my binding skills.
- The final lesson learned – you never know what’s going to happen. If you’d asked me at the beginning of the year to predict some of my subjects, I would have named 100 things and never mentioned “pregnancy.”