What happened this week
- Worked on finishing up my submission for the Phat Quarter swap. The theme was anatomy. (I’m super excited because MrXStitch was assigned to send his to me!)
- Made more progress on the sorting and organizing in my apartment. Hopefully after tomorrow I will have good pictures to post.
- Finally finished up the stash project and got the giveaway prizes ready to mail.
- Worked on the method for joining my mini quilts into a journal format. Really excited to show you this one.
- Commiserated with many people have already discovered the magical, curative powers of showering in the dark. Here’s a list of fellow weirdos who’ve come forward so far: Emma of Furrybees, Montse from Kismet-M, Stacey from disco underworld, Deb of Emma Tree. If reading their comments doesn’t convert you, then nothing will!
Gorgeous photos and generous tutorials moved Rachel Griffith’s P.S. I Quilt out of my “Auditions” folder this week. (Warning, site plays music.)
Comments you should read
Lots of good responses on my post, What to do: Make do, encouraging us to use what we have and explore the concept of enough.
Thank you for the reminder. I’d like to think that working with less could increase my creative output but I just get so mired down in lack of. Lack of space, time, energy, whatever. I’m going to keep the words MAKE DO in the forefront of my mind and see if it helps. (Amy of A Commonplace Life)
Although I still haven’t completely conquered the desire to purchase fabric, when DH and I hit a rough financial patch three or so years ago, I developed a mantra w/regard to both quilting fabric and quilting books:
“I don’t have everything, but I have enough.”
What I found was that, if I turn the “I don’t have enough XYZ” complaint on its head–and who on Earth would ever have “everything”?–I do have enough. Enough to get started, enough to do *this* quilt top, oooooh enough to do *these* borders, etc.
And, when I made a concerted effort to use up some thread, I was astounded at how long it took to use up a large spool (like the Star brand cotton thread). So…I *definitely* have enough thread to do *these* quilt projects I’ve already cut out or pulled fabric for! (Cynthia, no blog but wonderful contributor to the discussion over here!)
Love your post. Most of the time I have more than enough. If by chance I think I need something, than comes the question what will also add something special? Use this technique not only when I’m busy with my embroidery but also when I’m cooking or any other creative work. (Elizabeth from Landanna)
Goes back to the WWII chant — use it up, wear it out, make do or do without! One more step to becoming self sufficient! (Melissa from Brinkley’s Place)
On What to do: Push boundaries, I talk about trying new things. Great comments there, too.
Experimenting is a very good thing. However, it requires discipline as well, or you may find yourself *just* experimenting :} I gave myself a year to play with new materials, processes and end results, and finally realized all the “new” things i was trying were still possible with my old favourites of needle (whether by hand or machine) and fabric and thread. It’s easy to jump on the bandwagon with everyone else and trying to keep up can be exhausting. I also found that because there was a new material didn’t mean i couldn’t do the same thing with the old standbys—new media and tools can get quite expensive, and i am very budget conscious :}That being said, if we didn’t let go once in awhile, with no expectations, things can get rather stultifying! (Arlee from Albedo)
I’m self-taught in all of my favorite media (fabric and stitching, collage, 3D soft sculpture)…and frankly, the processes in which I’ve had actual training (drawing and oil painting) are my weakest art skills. Being self-taught has meant, for me, that I fall in love with a material, bring home a little of it, and play. I might glance through a book about it or look for info on the Internet, but mostly I just experiment. It’s not about doing it correctly, but about having fun doing it. And limitations are a fabulous form of structure for me, because with too many choices, I freeze up and do nothing! (Tracy from Unfolding Moment)
On Some Days, I talk about feeling frustrated and the power of doing one small creative thing every day.
Very nice post. Just what i needed to hear. Not a Lot going on creatively although my brain works all the time at it. Sometimes creativity comes out in, how I can creatively get my daughter to sit for a shot at the dr’s office, or how I can creatively spruce up the same meal I get in a rut making over and over… How to creatively talk to myself into making my bed each day,( which I usually prefer to skip altogether) but in the scheme of being creative with my daughter and teaching her to make her bed each day, I make my bed… creatively. and so on and so on…. (V of Bumblebeans)
Mal, thank you for such an honest and thought-provoking post. To be equally honest in reply, I’d have to say that I am having an unwelcome run of these sorts of days… it feels like nothing in my life is going well and creativity is struggling to emerge at all. Like you though I do see small things, a general facing-in-the-right-direction-ness, and hope above hope that warmer, happier, more expansive days will come. (Sue of Mousenotebook)
It is this precise struggle to keep all the eggs up in the air all day, every day which makes me characterize the phrase “shadow artist” as mean-spirited. Our creativity in our *own* service must, much of the time, be used in the service of others. But does that make it less genuine? If we are engaging with the world in a constructive way and *not* creating our own artistic ivory tower (the perfect atelier, the perfect studio, the perfect 100% artistic life, etc., ad nauseam), who has the moral right to say that we have made the wrong choice, a “shadow” choice?
The non-negotiable human need for food, clothing, and shelter must be satisfied, either by us personally or by others on our behalf. Then we fulfill our obligations to others in our circle, however small/large it may be, and *then* we might have–what?–2 seconds to think about creativity before crashing into bed.
And what if one has a chronic illness? chronic pain? small children who need tending 24 hours a day, each and every day? sick pet(s)? an ill spouse?
If one’s “bigger vision” is to improve the future world, the cultivation of the minds of the young has got to be ranked right up there on the list…teaching, helping, parenting, healing, feeding, and so on.
It takes a very strong person to persevere with everything Life can throw at us *and* keep the desire to create anew, alive. Developing and nurturing this strength is, itself, an exercise in renewal and (dare I say it?) creativity. (Cynthia again, no blog)
Interesting stuff from around the world
- Allison from Allie’s in Stitches has a great post about stepping away from a project for a while. She calls it letting a project “go to sleep.”
- Arlee from Albedo and I have been having a comment/email discussion about letting your stitches show (or not). She’s also exploring the line between craft and art (art quilts vs. textile art, etc.) and “neatness” in her work. She also has a great post about finishing things and what motivates her to (or not to) participate in internet swaps.
- Lainie from Red Thread Studio posts another essay about slow cloth and sustainability.
- Jude from Spirit Cloth uses a small project to improve her mood.
- Ashley of Film in the Fridge gives a great tutorial about string quilts made with paper piecing.
- Aneela of Comfort Stitching is generously giving away a whole quilt to celebrate her 100th blog post. Way to raise the bar, Aneela! (I say nervously, from my 90th post…) It’s gorgeous.