I look and admire other peoples work daily. Wow, what a great idea! or How did they think of that? When it comes to my own work I am full of insecurities. Is it good enough? Did I express my idea well or not? Will anyone be interested in my designs or quilts?
I often wonder if other people suffer these self-doubts or not. I feel driven to make the quilts I make. There is no logical explanation other than a need to share a part of myself with others. I am not a trained artist, I am self taught. I truly love the journey of designing and making a quilt.
I talk to women who have stacks of their own quilts piled up in their homes, I keep none of mine. Does that mean I don't value my work? I have always thought it was because once I have finished a piece I was ready to move on to the next idea. Do any of you have these same thoughts?
I think most everyone feels this way (at least I do). I tend to not keep my work and give it away for a couple of reasons: 1) I see flaws, and hope they wont be as glaring to the recipient, and 2) I'm ready to move on...
I suggest if you are going to give your quilts away, take pictures first. Many times I have not done that and when people ask to see my quilts I have kicked myself for not documenting better. Secondly, if you are on the fence about keeping something, keep it. Stick it in a closet for a while, then bring it back out again. My guess is that afte a little time has passed, you will see merit it in and it'll make you smile.
Founder of Quilting Arts Magazine
TV Host, Quilting Arts on PBS
Everone has self-doubts, that normal. My self-doubts only occasionly deal with the art in my quilts. Now that doesn't mean they are perfect, far from it. But nothing is perfect.
My art quilts help me to stay sane, I have a need to create things. Some times it is cooking, sometimes it is an art quilt. One of the things I love about art quilting is that I can combine so many art techinquics together in one peice. But one thing to remember, each person sees art differently.
Enjoy your art. Make it for your self. You are the only one you have to please :)
I understand about the picture thing. I now try to photograph my quilts also. I don't have lots of quilts to show so photos are my substitute. I think my biggest insecurity is about showing my work. I often wonder what venues to enter and worry that what I do is not up to the standards of the quilting community. I think I do good work but question my objectivity.
PS: I used to sell my work. I have been outside the quilting world for a few years for family health reasons. I am now beginning again and trying to decide my direction. Sometimes too many choices are confusing, but it's always interesting.
I really liked your post on this subject, Dinah. I agree with you, you make art for yourself but you also would like feedback.
Arlijohn- What a great topic!
I'm in the "keep everything" stage right now. I just can't release my work for some reason. I'm sure it will happen someday, just not yet. The works I make to give are specifically made for that purpose. (I do photograph everything.)
I don't think that you value your work less if you are able to send it out into the world, I think it's just the opposite! There's tremendous confidence in being able to let your art out into the world.
Up until very recently I was not confident in my abilities as an artist. I made lots of good work that I felt was good, but was it appreciated by others? Did they see it as art as I did? Would the quilters in my guild turn their noses up at it? Would my family understand "what it is" if it was more of a mixed media piece? Lately, those are not the kind of insecurities I feel. Now, I make what I want to make, and let the world come to it's conclusions and I tend to not worry about that as much. But it took me a LONG long long time to get to this point. So I know exactly how you feel!
Cheryl / Muppin
Yes......and no. I think second guessing yourself is a constant no matter what you work at and I think if you are working in the arts, all the moreso. It's like a spider pulling her web from her gut and working it until she's satisfied. Hard stuff that is quite akin to breathing in its necessity. And when you've finished a piece and someone close to you says, Yeah, what is it? you start to wonder if the time it took would have been better spent cleaning closets (the answer to that is always NO).
Now that is a question! I ask myself all the time, will they "get it" will they "like it" ect... Sometimes I wonder what am I doing? The friend that introduced me to quilting calmed my anxiety about perfection by telling me that imperfections were humility spots. I have many in most of my quilts. Sometimes I point them out and other times I let it go and wonder if "they" will notice. Most of my work now is about what I want to do but I will still wonder will they get it. I give most of my stuff away or sell it. I try to remember that I have a lot to learn and have patience.
Just to give you insight into the self doubt thing. I jumped over to this site to nose around for awhile because I don't have enough of a certain fabric and can't find it anywhere on line. That means that I either rethink my project or make the 2 hour round trip to get more of the fabric. What to do, what to do?! For now I will have dessert......
I always remember that only God is perfect and that helps put things into perspective. On the other hand, a person is curious to know if they are on target or not. What I mean by that: if you are creating it is nice to find out if your work speaks to anyone but yourself or not. Doesn't mean you would quit creating but you might approach your work differently.
If we didnt doubt our work we wouldnt be human, they had to throw Bonnard out of the Louvre where his art was hanging because they caught him fixing just one more thing :) I have a hard time with picking what quilt to show and take here or there because they are like my children , all differant but I cant say which one is better than another,and it seems everyone likes differant ones best .no one ever agrees on a favorite, so I guess that is a good thing, at first I had a hard time letting people even look at them but thru the years that has become easier, now some think Im a show off or something :) but I do value what people say about them so I have to show them to find out,
I find it reassuring to know others have the same doubts and insecurities as myself. As a fairly new art quilter with no formal training I always feel my work is somehow not good enough to show people and tend to hide it away. The best thing for me has been joining an art quilt group where once a month we show and tell and critique each others work (kindly) The other girls have lots of helpful suggestions and ideas so now if I feel a piece is not working I can take it to the group for ideas on how to improve it. It is a really supportive environment and has helped me to feel more confident about puttiing my art out there. Three of us are going in for our first national challenge in February so that will be a biggie! Wish me luck!
Wow, that's a great project to work on. It is helpful when you others to show what you do and get their input. That's what I am trying to find now.
I think that working through some of the art quilt workbooks out there really helped me get comfortable with my artwork. There's lots of them out there, and if you follow the chapters (even once a week) they can only help you be a better designer/artist. I haven't picked up Lyric Kinard's new book yet, but it looks like it would be a grat one for this purpose. Jane Davila and Elin Waterson's books are great. So is Katie Pasquini Masopust's.
I've bought Lyric Kinnard's new book. It has some great exercises in it. Just love having plenty of reference books to go back to.
I have bought Lyric Kinnard's new book. It has some great exercises in it. Just love having reference books to go back to.