I come from a paper background first. I did not start working with fabric until a few years ago. If you had asked me a few years ago, I never would have thought I would be making art quilts or would be using my sewing machine on a daily basis. Since I don't come from a fabric or quilting background, I still don't know many of the terms or quilting facts. I approach art quilting like I would anything else - I experiment. Since I mostly create mixed media art quilts, I use fabric in a lot of ways like I would use paper. There are some modifications necessary but I use a lot of the same materials/supplies. I figure there are no quilting police around. I learned long ago that I can't please everyone. The only person that has to like it is ME! If other people like it then it is a bonus. Sometimes I am lucky enough that it gets used in an article or in someone else's art book. If not, then it gets face time on my blog.
Yeah, I get those moments of self-doubt. I just let them pass. I just remember that art is my self-expression. It is my message. Art is the only place where you are your name brand and generics are not acceptable. I made that up. Teacher in me.
Really, If I can do it, you can do it.
Belinda aka crazyartgirl
Belinda, I like that.
I had my art quilting epiphany when I went to Paducah for the Quilt Festival. I took one look at those beauties and knew that wasn't where I was headed. When we got to some of the art quilts, it rang a very large bell somewhere in my soul. I've never been one to follow the beaten path, and I've always accepted that I have limitations, or more precisely, there are things to which I can truly say, "That's not my area." Unfortunately, one of them is NOT entrepeneurial-ness. (ok, it's not a word, it's probably not even spelled right, but you all know what I mean.)
I have submitted a few a my quilts to judged exhibitions and sometimes they are rejected. This is quite humbling! I did go through a spell of doubting my talent in the quilting world and actually gave it up for a while. But somehow I couldn't stay away, I guess it comes from within and I must do it. In the meantime I've found that I do it for me. It makes me happy. Quilt Show acceptance or not.
The first art quilt I showed to my friend was about one foot by one foot. It was very densely quilted, and cute. I sat there nervously awaiting her reply. "It looks like a pot holder," she turned to me and said. At that I had to laugh. I realized that I do what I do because I like it. At least I know that I have one friend who is honest enough to tell me what she actually thinks, instead of, "It's cute." Amazing really, a week before I would have thought that comment would have been the most horrible thing. Sometimes the things you are scared of aren't that bad. But it is hard to put yourself out there and be shot down; just get back up and dust yourself off. Laugh.
PS_That special friend of mind is getting a "pot holder" for Christmas this year. Hehehe.
I just finished my 1st solo piece. It was quite an ambitious project so I'm really pleased to have achieved it. I laid it on my table and I admire it and have shown it to my friends and neighbors who think it is wonderful (so much for my doubts). Only I know there are mistakes in it, after all it is a learning project but that does not bother me at all, the fact that I made it beats everything right now. I'm enjoying the feelings right now because I refuse to get attached to anything, so one day I know it will go, just like one of my paintings went to a little girl who admired it for so many weeks and then she asked me to paint her the same, that is when I gave it to her.
I believe creating is revealing who you are, part of your spirit comes to life and is free to express itself. There are many ways to express yourself and it seems logical to me that when you're done with one thing you move on to the next, because creativity is an eternal beginning. Once my piece was done I had satisfied my need to express something that was important to me. The minute I was done, and despite my great satisfaction (I was grinning all over) I was like "and now what?" and the same night I dreamt of my next piece. It is good to learn to let go off things, they only clutter our lives and while we hang on to things we have less and less space to move about in our inner house, there comes a time when clutter also restricts our power to create. And work or art only has the value each of us attributes to it. As the product of your creativity your art will always have value and therefore by definition it is invaluable because how do you quantify creativity? Most important is that we have fun in what we do and so we move on to something new and exciting. Have fun always, I know I do, even when I'm sweating over my piece, I think I'd not trade place with anyone.
Love all the feedback. From what I'm hearing, I think it reinforces what I already felt and do. I make what I make because something inside myself pushes me to, once it is done it's done and I move on. I really enjoy reading everybody's input.
1onerach:The first art quilt I showed to my friend was about one foot by one foot. It was very densely quilted, and cute. I sat there nervously awaiting her reply. "It looks like a pot holder," she turned to me and said. At that I had to laugh.
This is so me! This happens to me all the time. Like the "so are you going to sew these little ones all together to make a BIG quilt?" I get all the time too.
Cheryl / Muppin
Do they ever ask you,"But what do you do with it?" When I tell them to hang it up, they just look at me funny. As if a quilt hanging up for decoration is out of the realm of fantasy.
Yes, all the time! The hanging it up part always gets them...
And when you show them the sleeve and provide the hanger you still get the funny look--like aren't you odd with your "little blankets."
It makes no differance if its a big piece or a little , people just look like that , unless its a quilt like their Grandmother made, I think it confuses their brains because if its a quilt it has to be traditional , luckily some do 'get it' right off the bat and those are the ones you start showing it to first :)
so true. And those in your life that "get it" are your biggest fans, defenders and support.
My standard reply: " Do whatever you usually do with your wall art>" Kind of giveds the message.
This is the story that I tell new quilters about being insecure in your abilities. Maybe it will help. It always helps me to remember art is in the eye of the beholder.
My Star Dancer
I was on my
way to buy paint for my kitchen when I decided to stop in the fabric shop to
see what was new. There was a big sign that said CHEMO
CHALLENGE. I had never heard of a quilt challenge or a
Chemo quilt or even been to a Quilt show. I had only made one quilt and a
couple of wall hangings my skills were definitely primitive but I had a lot of
blessing to pay forward so I thought I should do it. I took home the fabric which I thought looked
very much like some kind of tribal healer gown.
So I drew up a dancer and begin to sew by hand. I got the dancer finished and added ribbons
in her hands representing all the cancer ribbons. Then somewhere in my infinite wisdom I
decided to hand appliqué stars all over the top of the quilt. 77 hand appliquéd stars in various sizes
placed in the shape of several hearts. I
hand quilted the quilt in my own clumsy fashion. And
there it was my STAR DANCER FOR THE CURE.
When I went to turn it in the other quilts were hanging. Beautiful perfectly pointed quilts with the
most awesome machine quilting. I had never
seen anything so beautiful and there was a whole room full. I was embarrassed with the thought of my
quilt hanging among them. But the STAR
DANCER made me smile so I figured it might make some quirky person smile too so
I left it. And I left town.
to home to find a phone call on my answering machine. I had won first prize but of course I was
gone and missed the press photo session and the award presentation. When
the MAC unit of our local hospital called to ask if it was ok to hang it in
their permanent collection in the Chemo waiting room I was very pleased. I was also secretly relieved because I wasn’t
sure the quilt would last long with daily use or heaven forbid a washing machine.
DANCER FOR A CURE has been used along with the words on the label by the
American Cancer society to end their corporate presentations. I still hear from people who have just seen
my quilt for the first time as they go in for Chemo. It makes them smile at a very difficult time
in their life.
Why did this
quilt win? It certainly wasn’t my skill
as a quilter. You could see all of my appliqué stitches. I didn’t use premier quilting fabric (I didn’t
know the difference at the time. It was
the colors that concerned me). There was
no perfection anywhere. This quilt was just different, quirky and made
people smile. NEVER BE ASHAMED OF YOUR QUILT! It is your heart made of cloth.
I usually feel great about what I am currently working on.... Then others see it and don't "see" it the way I do, or I see simialr themed quilts or quilts with similar techniques and think...Wow there's look better. Or why didn't I think of that. Usually it's because I go from concept straight to a pair of scissors without thinking things through as long as I should. But I am easily distracted!!!
But even others may not love my quilt as much as i love my quilt. I know its all subjective. And in the end It's my opinion that matters. I usually, keep my art quilts. Mainly because very few people I know would truely appreciete them. And it does hurt my feelings when one of my creations leave for a household where they are not appreciated. My traditional quilts have found many happy homes.
I don't think giving away your quilts means you don't value them. It probably means you enjoy giving them to those you care about. It's a lot of work to make a quilt and it means a lot to give it away.
I am also always on to the next thing. Being easily distracted I don't always finish what I start!!