Living This Creative Life

I have two favorite quotes. The first one is by Emile Zola, "If you asked me what I came into this world to do, I would tell you that I came to live out loud". I don't know who the second one is by, but it goes like this, "If you're not living on the edge then you might as well jump". Both of these sentiments sum up my personal philosophy of this experience we call life on earth. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A Big, Creative Slump!

Good Evening Gang,
I know it's been weeks since we've chatted - sorry, but I've been in a really, really big creative slump and haven't felt like I've had anything to offer. Buying the quilt store has put into place lots of changes in my life. Store owners have been telling me over the years how having a shop squashed their artistic endeavors - I was so arrogant that I thought it wouldn't happen to me, but alas it has!

The day to day demands on my time and energy along with great financial struggles have managed to bleed dry my desire to create. I'm even struggling with teaching - which has been my life's blood for so long.

So, I've been turning to my friends, colleagues and students to help me find ways to re-kindle my creative fire. Everyone has been in an artistic dead zone - I'm certainly not the first, worst or last. What I've learned is that discovering what lead to the artistic death will help discover roads that lead to art's rebirth.

I'm so overwhelmed that all of the old tricks that I used to use to entice me to work are no longer working. What I've told my students about staying away from "eye candy" because it mucks up our artistic vision has certainly hit home. All day, 6-7 days a week I'm surrounded by and searching out the new, unusual and cutting edge books, fabrics and goodies to fill this wonderful store with. The hunt for things that will entice my audience and customers. Somehow, I've managed to be totally and completely buried in it all. So much so that I don't know where to go - artistically that is. I feel like I've been stranded on an island with all the ingredients for a fabulous feast but without an oven or stove to cook it in! Have you ever had that feeling?

So - I'm not looking for answers, rather I'm just trying to get by, ride out the storm and find other ways to get through these big life changes. I know the creative spirit will return when it's good and ready - when I'm good and ready. For now, I'm just gonna do what I need to do to relax, resolve and regenerate.

One of my favorite ways to rest is reading. I love the written word, and a great story filled with humor and grit. I just finished reading two wonderful books. One by my favorite author, T. C. Boyle called East is East and the second one called The Intuitionist, by Colson Whitehead. Boyle writes incredible novels with historical or current settings about everything from the inventor of Kellogs cereal to the sex guy Kinsey to a Japanese illegal trying to survive off the Florida coast. He has a way with words like no other man I've read - I suspect he even makes some up! (my kind of guy!). Whitehead has written three novels, the Intuitionist was his first. It's about the made up world of elevator inspectors and it's ripe with racial intrigue. He too has an amazing way with language. Some of his sentences are so good that I had to read them out loud to Tom.

A day of nothing but reading, a few errands, some laundry, cat petting and left overs was just what I needed to get re-vamped for another week of product overload! This week I must cull my fabric designs down to just 40 SKU's (out of a possible 432 options), start a series of short articles on my fabric designing journey for The Quilt Show, finish a quilt top and write it's pattern, teach a few classes, run a quilt shop, celebrate my baby's 18th birthday (does that make me officially old?) ....on and on.... life is full, life is good!

I hope you all treat yourselves to relaxing days!
Until next time,

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Artist Trading Card Group

Hey Gang -
So sorry that I didn't get around to writing last week. Wow - it was a doozie!Every time I turned around there was another pressing thing I had to do. Not to complain - life is full, just like I like it, but some days I wish I had a clone!.
This first photo is of six different ATC's (artist trading cards). They were
made and or collected by Liz Kettle. She is heading up our new ATC Trading Club that begins this Saturday. If you have never made one of these little beauties, you're really missing out on a great way to try new
techniques without big time and money investments. (Left click images to see larger)
Here's the jist of the whole trade thing; make any number of ATC's (we suggest 5-20) that are 2 1/2" x 3 1/2" (the size of a standard baseball trading card). They should be flat enough to fit in a collectors album, but can have lots of embellishments. You can use paper, but the bulk of the card should be fabric. Stitch, iron on
with adhesive, glue - have fun and be creative. Bring all of your cards (all can be the same, or
each can be unique) to the swap on Saturday, April 12 at 10:00 (or bring them beforehand if you
can't make that time) and exchange them with all of the other participants. This is a great way to get wonderful, delightful, whimsical, gorgeous bits of art from other fabric artists.

Here is a photo of our booth at the Pueblo Quilt and Stitch Expo last weekend. We had a really great show and would like to express our deep appreciation for everyone who showed up. We saw a lot of old friends and made some new ones.