The thing about blogging is that one tends to read others’ blogs as well. There’s so many interesting and provoking questions, opinions, inspiration, everything, out there. Lately all that information has inspired me to do a lot of lurking, and thinking. Thinking about what I’m doing. Thinking about why I’m doing it. Thinking about what I’d like to be doing.
Gwen Magee’s “Textile Arts Resource Guide” post on goals came at a perfect time for me. Making sure to “define for yourself what success looks like” is fantastic advice. This goes hand in hand with something a life coach (who I knew in high school) said, “Don’t compare your insides to someone else’s outsides.” What it all comes down to is that what I’m doing has to work for me.
It dawned on me a few weeks ago that most of my best work was the work that I did with a particular purpose, or better yet, person, in mind. It allows me to focus my choices. It keeps my quality high as I want to give what the recipient deserves — and that’s always THE BEST. I am deeply inspired by Jude Hill’s work. Her wonderful creations are not for shows or competitions. They are for loved ones, and the personal connection shows. I strive to be as selfless, as dedicated to the process itself, as mindful in the messages and symbols, as dedicated to the pure enjoyment of it all as she (or at least her blog persona) is.
I want my work to have meaning. I’m still working on this. I don’t want to make big flashy political statements just to get attention, or portray heart wrenching situations. That’s not me, and I have no personal tragedy to work out through my art. But somewhere in the making should be a reflection of what’s really important to me. If I’m mindful enough, and work through the ideas enough, I should be able to create art that not only speaks to me and perhaps one intended recipient, but to a wider public as well. I think that my rooted houses are the beginning of this path.
I want to make quality work. (I find “quality” such a weird word to use since it always reminds me of the protagonist in “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” who had a nervous breakdown while trying to define “quality.” But I digress.) I believe that even the best concepts mean nothing if they can’t be communicated well. To that end, as long as I’m using the medium of quilting, I want to be the best quilter I can be. To me, that means accurate piecing and regular quilting by hand or machine. I want to honor the fabric and the history of patchwork. I strive for good compositions, knowledge of color interactions, and appropriate use of materials. Just because a technique is new or yields interesting looking results doesn’t mean it’s applicable to my message. To this end, I’ve been honing my quilting technique with needle doodles, and some day I’ll find time to enrich myself by drawing more and going to see more art in galleries and museums. I’m trying to think about the decisions I make while creating so that they have some sort of meaning — even if it’s only meaningful to me.
I’ve started and rewritten this post several times as I try to figure out what it is I want to say. I could go off on soooooo many tangents, but they deserve their own posts when and if I figure them out. I’m also unsure if I have any right to say anything publicly about meaning and quality and skill and mindfulness. I consider myself an emerging artist/craftswoman and I know that there’s a lot that I don’t know. Back to the reading of blogs; the more I read the more often I learn about other points of view, or my own naïvité, or how far my skill level still has to go. And certainly this blog is not an erudite, deep-thinking, artspeak blog. So, take my presumptuousness with a grain of salt (and a few fun craft projects and cute kid pictures).