The next couple weeks I’ll be spending a great of time in my studio. Yesterday I dusted off the Behemoth (aka my HandiQuilter Sweet16) and started stitching. A frequent question from people looking at my work is “how long did that take to make?” My snarky comment is 55 years, because its a culmination of many years of experience.
I know what they want to know, but it’s difficult to factually testify the hours spent on any given piece. Are they talking time since the idea was conceived? Or, time since I actually started cutting fabric and stitching? Either of these figures are abstract.
I don’t think I know anyone who can actually sit and sew day in and day out. It beats up your body. It takes a lot of energy to push fabric around. You have to take breaks. There are a few art quilters who work full time at their craft. However, full time means stopping and starting frequently to do other tasks. Then, there are people like me, who work at it part-time. I may be on a roll for a day or two, then I have to spend time on class prep, marketing, addressing email inquires and … the other stuff in my life. My art is constantly being interrupted by life.
So today, while I was working, it occurred to me that I spent a consistent amount of uninterrupted time on the piece pictured here. This is merely the start of the background for an art quilt. I still have to add color with paint and apply the appliquéd design. When that’s finish, there’s the backing, hanging sleeve, and bound edge to add. This densely quilted, 22inch x 22inch square took me 3 hours to stitch (to include a few short breaks to rest my neck and shoulders). I’ve watched abstract painters complete an entire 40inch x 40inch painted canvas in the same amount of time … or less.
So back to the question, “how long did that take?” I’d rather be snarky with my answer, because the reality of the time I’ve put into it may be overwhelming for both of us to hear. I would rather not think about it, just simply enjoy the process.