Being true to my creative self

Frequently, I’m asked “How long did it take to make that?” I really wish I knew. Sorry, but I don’t time myself, it could be very depressing to know. When people ask, I usually answer them with the amount of time its taken from inspiration to completed quilt. This literally could be years. I think what they really want to know is how many hours it took me from cutting the first piece of fabric until I stick the label on the back and hang it. That’s much more difficult to quantify without timing myself along the way.

However, the other day, I was working on a new piece (I blogged about weeks ago) and I happened to notice that I spent nearly 3 hours cutting and positioning little bits of black fabric. I took a picture of my progress. Great! I’m half-way through this step! … right? ….uhm?

I left it alone overnight and when I looked at it the next day I knew I couldn’t live with it. Something wasn’t right, so I referred to my reference photos. Sure enough, I couldn’t live with what I had done (you may not even see the difference in the 2 photos).

My saving grace was that the black bits where only pinned to my design wall. Sometimes, I’m not so cautious and fuse (glue) the pieces in place without giving the design some space to percolate in my brain. Once something is fused I’m usually stuck. I either a) live with it, b) come up with plan B to fix the issue, or c) scrap it and start over.

I’ve blogged about the “point of no return” that I frequently face when I create my art quilts. There are layers and layers of process in my pieces. Literally, each step could lead to fatality. This is one reason I may step away until I feel emboldened to tackle the next step.

With this new piece, I re-grouped and fixed the problem. I’m much happier with where its going, but many hours later I’m not much farther along than I was a few days ago. There’s still plenty of work to do. I’m really OK with this, its how I do things. The finished piece has to fit what’s in my head, otherwise what’s the point of making it?

I do, however, have a problem with the fixation on time. I really don’t care how long it took me. That’s not why I’m doing this. I try to work faster/smarter, but I also work very hard at not beating myself up about it. I’ve accepted, this is how I create. Anything else is not being true to my creative self.

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