It’s so exciting when you are ready to start a new project. Maybe to boost your wheels of creativity you’ve attended a recent quilt show, googled images on your computer or made a trip to a quilt shop. During those moments you’ve meandered up and down the aisles gazing upon one piece after another, or perhaps browsed the infinite number of images on the internet. You’ve invested a lot of time to collect all the insight possible, because you want to be fully prepared when it comes time to move full steam ahead on this new endeavor. Then you eventually return to your sacred space designated for designing your new quilt; the birth of this amazing piece is just around the corner and then BAMmentally you’re combusting with the “how about this” and “what about that” statements. The result is that you find yourself closing your eyes with a heavy feeling of anxiety and strong sense of being overwhelmed while silently saying this:
I’ve been there and it really can suck the air right out of the “I can’t wait to start” feeling of a new project. My secret to not letting this happen is simply this. IF I’m starting a new quilt I deliberately don’t go to quilt shows, online, or into shops for inspiration. This solution sounds a bit crazy but for me it works. It’s one thing to get a better understanding of how certain techniques are applied to a quilt, but quite frankly I don’t want someone else’s finished product to influence what I am going to create. I find it way to easy for my brain to get overstimulated when I look at other quilters pieces; in order for my designs to feel organic I stick to my tried and true process of sketching. So often we don’t give ourselves enough credit that we can come up with ideas without having to use designs we’ve encountered as a springboard for our personal art. We presume gathering one idea upon another idea will make things easier, reassuring ourselves that several concepts are better than just one or two. You may want to ask yourself “How is this working for me, am I mentally exhausted?”
Do you have any special ways you combat inspiration overload?
It feels like just yesterday I planted the tiny seedling to begin my quilting journey. It is truly surreal to think how far this quilter has come over the past 13 years. So let’s take a little peek at my first design and catch a glimpse of the “then and now”.
Easy peasy piecing on this project. As I examine the piecing on this quilt it looks so basic compared to that of what I construct on some of my current designs. My fabric choice was much different back then, obviously much more “earthy” than what I find myself gravitating towards when purchasing material today.
My colors are a little brighter, and I began stepping out of my “structured box” a tad. Obviously the color choice has lightened up a bit too. I was gradually beginning to embrace what I “liked” to do when it came to creating a design. It’s so hard to let go of the “conservative” and safe way of crafting.
I’d say that this really shows how I’ve “matured” as a designer. I’ve definitely stepped into my own quilting arenas I embraced my individual style. The piecing has become more intricate, and the fabric selection incorporates brighter material. I am dumbfounded at how much I have transitioned over the years into the quilter I am today. Never in a million, bizallion, years would I have thought I’d be proud of my work and love my personal style. That is not to say that I am all grown up.
Quilting life lesson 450 million: Growth will be a forever process for me, and I am more than okay with that idea. I cannot fathom to see where my growth will take me another 10 years from now!
How have you grown since the first steps of your quilting journey? How as your quilting changed?
It doesn’t take very long before all the seasonal joy of the holidays dissipates and we find ourselves feeling the doldrums of the wintry months ahead. All to easily we can be consumed with those lethargic feelings and the constant yearning to remain in our pajamas for several hours each day is a reality. The idea of breakfast in bed which can easily transition into lunch in bed sounds very enticing; even dreamy! What keeps me going when the couch/bed potato plays like a lullaby in my head? Of course my youngest son obviously has me getting out of bed in order to prepare him for school. But what keeps me from climbing BACK into bed or onto the couch with my favorite blanket?
Cleaning My Studio! This does wonders for my spirit. After completing a project, like the quilt I just finished for my dear friend Paul, and taking the time to revamp all that appeared to be strewn throughout my studio my mind instantly cleared. Believe it or not stepping down to a clean working space invites creativity and a positive energy. Who wants to start a new design when it looks like Santa’s elves had a huge Christmas party in the studio?
Spitballing (or as Drea likes to say Brainstorming)
My lovely red-headed assistant had never heard of the term “Spitballing”.
She was quite offended when I suggested that prior to diving into our days tasks we needed to huddle and “Spitball” ideas back and forth. After giving her the definition of what the term meant she was more than willing to comply with my request. The idea of spitballing opens the door to new ideas, perceptions, and growth for future business. This can be especially helpful when your mind feels a bit “stuck”. Bouncing thoughts off of team members, friends, and peers not only bring enlightenment to my projects but often enables me to wiggle out of that heavy “stuck” feeling that keeps me from moving forward.
Nothing gets me inspired and rejuvenated like finding amazing fabric! I just bought this “Tula Pink” material, and it has me humming a tune and dancing around the studio. My web of creativity is spinning away and I am so excited to put vision to thread! A little fabric therapy does wonders for this quilter!
Motivation comes in numerous forms. Perhaps it is music, or a quote that is hanging in your quilting area. Whatever the source I would love to hear about it! It’s always nice to tuck away a new idea to prevent the winter blah’s from provoking me into becoming a couch/bed potato!