I had all of the intentions of keeping my blog updated more often in 2016 but I soon realized that if I wanted to accomplish any new work, or continue the projects in progress, something had to give.
First off, I am an artist. As an artist, it is paramount to my existence to create. If I am unable to fill my creative tank, I wither and become very unhappy. With the change of environment in the quilting industry that now honors less than ideal basic skills, crafting and quick finishes, I found it easy to be swept up in the need to crank stuff out just to TRY and keep up and not become irrelevant and I was exhausted and disillusioned by the experience.
This “quick as you can” runs against the artistic process. I found I could 1) spend most of my time online trolling social media telling you how great I am (tongue in cheek) with nothing tangible to back up that claim, or 2) create the work and although a time consuming process, I am able to visually express myself and my talents in a visual and tangible form.
Guess which solution I went with? If you said #2, give yourself a gold star.
I know many of you think my absence means I have moved on from quilting (oh the emails!) but this is far from the truth. Yes, I spend a lot of time in my garden in the late spring and summer but……I am also spending much more time stitching and as I said, filling my creative tank so I once again, have something to share with you.
Quite frankly, I was running on empty (fumes really) and for the first time in five years, I had four months together with no commitments away from home and I needed a break. After completing three teaching engagements and the preparation it takes for the first three months of the year, I then took a holiday and after that, I got back to creating.
I have new discoveries I am excited to share with my students in my upcoming classes and I have more to show. I am still on the fence a bit about showing works in progress on the blog because I have had such a horrible time emotionally when I see my ideas and work that I post here in booths at market and elsewhere. I am hoping my relatively long online absence has sent the trolls on to their next victim, but I doubt it.
If I didn’t mention it before, the next block in the Naturalist’s Notebook series is the English Robin and a bazillion little circles that make up the many blackberries. OK, grab a paper bag and breathe! there aren’t really a bazillion little circles, but you will never have a problem with circles again I bet! I know, I am evil. Just call it tough love when it comes to making you applique goddesses and gods.
With the industry’s focus on all things Modern, it has become increasingly difficult to find decent fabrics (batiks) to work with. Shops have decreased their stock of batiks and the manufacturers are trying to design them with a Modern approach. So what to do? Did I mention my fabric purchases (which is a lot of $$$$$) was half the usual last year? <mouth open>
I am playing and experimenting with a variety of media to alter these fabrics into something I can use and yet not change the fabric’s inherent qualities. I want to keep “artificial enhancement” to a minimum since I want the fabric and thread to be primarily responsible for the visual impact.
I am also working on completing the large Margarita Quilt and this has helped so much to re-charge my batteries and fill the creative tank. I am enjoying the process again. I am really excited about it.
I am not offering the Margarita block pattern for sale. The design is a workshop only project until the big quilt is done. The next workshop with this project is with Superior Threads at their corporate headquarters in St. George, Utah September (26-29) of this year. A beautiful location, wonderful people and onsite shopping in a WAREHOUSE of fabric. Be still my heart. I am excited to do some serious shopping and enjoy sharing applique with my students at a beautiful location.
I hope this catches you up a little bit and also lets you know I haven’t skipped the country (yet) and the next block in the Naturalist’s Notebook series is on the table so no worries.
For now, I spend half the time with my hands in dirt and hauling stone and the other half of my time holding a needle. All of this when family allows that is.