Sunday, March 15, 2009

Forget being practical . . .

I am in a transition with my work. I am always in transition in March. The biggest changes of my life come in March. Maybe it is the long winter can seem endless, but March is the time for big changes for me. It has always been that way.

I read and thoroughly enjoyed lots of blogs this week, but one in particular stuck with me about following your passion. Lisa Call is an artist in Denver who does "textile paintings". Here is her blog if you are interested in her journey. She is a woman with a clear vision of her work. I read every post for the past year. I don't know her personally, but her work and her commitment to her journey are amazing.

I bought my longarm in 2005 and I knew clearly what I wanted to do, but I felt I had to make it seem "responsible" - especially to those who thought I had "slipped a cog" as I had not done any piecing or quilting. And, I have always been known to be a bit "off center" and for some reason thought I needed to change. I am, what I call, an artist waiting to bloom. Lisa Call talks a bit about that in her blog - the late bloomers. In my younger years, I have done lots of commercial art, taught art in junior high and been considered an "artist" by ability, never by a body of work. But it always felt like I was always waiting to bloom. I love fabric and it is my medium - always has been - so I sewed - clothes, pillows, window coverings, wall hangings - always things that were practical. And then I saw the longarm - like a huge pen and brush all in one that could paint, draw, and doodle on fabric. To me, the longarm was, and is, a magical tool. But, I had to be "practical". I had to learn to be a "quilter". I didn't want to be a quilter - not that there is anything wrong with that - it just was never my dream. I wanted to create beautiful things with fabric and stitches and thread and design. Was that quilting? Yes, for sure! I wanted to learn all about it, but it was just a set of tools toward my destination. Somehow I got bogged down learning to be a "quilter" rather than learning the tools and processes I needed for my journey.

Like, if I was on the Oregon Trail - always my comparison, but it works for me. Instead of staying on the trail to Oregon, I thought I had to learn to build the wagons, learn to plan the necessities for the trip, learn to plan how to overcome the hardships, learn how to get myself and others to Oregon. I don't want to take others to Oregon. I want to go there in my own way, on my own trail.

And then I saw the movie, "The Bucket List" a year ago - it was a good movie and people always say, "what is on your bucket list?". I couldn't answer because it wasn't a trip anywhere or a daring activity - it was to create my art - to finally bloom.

I have had to come to the realization this week that maybe it is easier to dream, to envision, rather than to do - no chance of failure that way. It was then I read Lisa Call's blog. I need a different set of emotional tools for my journey. I have them, they are just packed away due to too many years of needing to be "practical". If any of this sounds familiar, take some time and read her blog for the past year.

I am now in transition - being quite clear, but not at the same time. Somehow I got off on the wrong road for me. Even time last year in Laramie was a meaningful effort to try to get back on my path - although it was not my path to create my art, but rather my previous journey in education that I loved as well.

And, it all started when I wanted that longarm and then thought I had to make the journey "practical". It is not my time for being practical - that time is long past. It is my time for my dreams - which can only happen if I do the work.

Thanks for listening - more later . . .


Jan Thompson said...

I decided to read a couple of blogs today, and went to yours, as I so enjoy it when I have time to read. This post really struck me. I definitely will go over to Lisa's blog and read.

It's funny - I bought my longarm, having never pieced or quilted before! And I bought it to create art! I, too, was too practical at first, thinking baby quilts would be a good way to go. I made a lot of them, but sure did get bored. Made a few bed quilts, too, but that just didn't do it for me either. I never quilted for the public - I knew that was not for me.

I am finally on the right tract with my art, though. It brings me such joy. I love my art quilts, but the liturgical pieces are what really inspire me, and give me a sense of peace and well-being. I still have deadlines with them, but the joy is there.

I wish this for you, Carol. Take your time in this transition phase, and find what it is that brings you joy.

Carol said...

Jan - your response to this post is so timely for me. I have read it several times today and I thank you so much! It is an interesting time and it is soothing to know others have walked this path successfully. Thank you!