In the spirit of the New Year, I think it’s time for all of us to engage in a cathartic, quilt-related confessional. For the most part, we all start our quilts with the best of intentions. No one wants to waste materials, time, or precious quilting energy. But sometimes your inspiration slips away mid-project or another too-tempting distraction comes along, and before you know it, you’ve got a UFO.
Yes, we all have them—and for many of us, UFOs are guilt-inducing objects that make us feel like noncommittal and unproductive artists. But it has recently occurred to me that perhaps they're not really anything to be ashamed of after all. When I moved into my new apartment a few months ago, I left many of my UFOs behind, but soon realized that a studio without a few half-complete projects tucked in its corners is just a tad lifeless. It’s as if these unfinished endeavors continue to emit their creative juices, as if they’re in some transient state of becoming that makes them even more alive than those pieces which we have declared complete.
On that note, it’s time for all of you to share your UFOs with the Quilting Arts Community in the UFO Gallery! Just go to Photo Galleries, select Quilting Arts Challenges, and post a picture with the tag "UFO Gallery." You can share one, two, or several of your UFOs and tell us your thoughts on them. Do they make you feel ashamed—or do you proudly consider them badges of past quilting adventures? To view others' UFOs, click on the "UFO Gallery" tag on the right hand side of the page (in the "Tags" box) or underneath the photo of your own UFO.
Don’t be shy. To get the ball rolling, I’ll share one of my weirdest UFOs with all of you. It sits in this large tin on the floor of my studio:
A few months ago, my boyfriend cleaned out his closets and ended up with a large pile of Polo shirts that he no longer wears. I’m too much of a fabric junky to let anything fiber-related go to waste so I insisted on keeping them all. I washed them, ironed them, carefully cut them up into rectangles, and made big plans for some kind of funky Polo shirt collage (in retrospect, I don’t know what I was thinking). Here’s how far I got:
So my UFO is basically a pile of cut up fabrics—but I’ve grown to love it. I’m comforted by the thought that if I ever run out of projects (not that this has ever happened), it’s there for me to turn to—or, more likely, it won’t ever evolve beyond this point and that’s just fine too; a little reminder that we can’t win them all.