Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Pure as the Driven Slush

At last we are done with that miserable near zero weather and now we have new mooshy snow which is melting and messy. I'd rather have that than the frigid cold.
I may venture out today. I have been listening to books on tape and that makes the work of machine quilting so much more interesting, and now I have finished them all and must return them to the library and get more.
Ooooh I love this time without pressures to hurry and get back to dyeing for the next workshop.
If I didn't have a Master Plan I would be foolin' around and getting nothing accomplished. Today I will 'lovingly' quilt my new piece, nameless at the moment, but on the way to being named something with sky in the title. It reminds me of my Desert Sky quilt. Unusual colors and similar layout.
I admit that I went back to the wine again last night...only it was a good bottle of Napa Ridge Merlot which we had to get rid of after watching the film Sideways, no explanation necessary if you have seen the film. If not, make a point of going.
We began watching the new season of American Idol again. The contestants are soooo bad and Dave relates to them and their innocence and runs out of the room when they begin to sing. He had the same reaction to several episodes of Seinfeld. Obviously a very empathetic guy.

Now I have to be an uppity nagging artist type and say a few things about fabric postcards and challenges.
Several of the blogs I read are showing work that they are making as challenges for friends and guild stuff and online group things, and while all of this is fun, or meant to be fun, I find it maddening and distracting. I want to see your artwork, your real artwork.
Outwardly inspired assignments are a way of avoiding finding your own art within. I know you are going to say that they are fun. Sure they are fun, but the time is short for the art you need to be making in your own style, of your own themes, towards your own body of work.

I encourage you to learn the word NO.
SAY: I am sorry but I cannot participate in this challenge because I am too busy working on MY OWN work {to stop and fool around with something that is not part of my personal goals for my art.}
Of course you may not have personal goals for your own art.
Why not?

1. you think you are not an artist. YOU ARE WRONG.
2. you enjoy the community thing. YOU ARE NOT GETTING AHEAD.
3. you have no ideas to make right now. YOU MUST FEED YOUR MUSE.

Look, I have a reason for all this nagging. Time is short. We only have this lifetime and the demands from everyone else who want and need something from you eat up your precious creative time. One of these days you will realize you have a gift and haven't made enough of it, and will long for the days when you were busy doing those challenges.

I am preaching, and listening to myself preach.
Back to work.


  1. Ok ok ok... I'm with you. I think you are right on many accounts here. (Of course, I say this as I'm working on four separate challenges right now... but only three pieces of art. I'm "killing two challenges with one quilt" with one of them.)

    I really am striving to find my own style and create a body of work. But my next questions is: Then What? Enter shows? If so, which ones and why? Get a website? Again why? Find a gallery? Give quilts away? Sell to your friends and neighbors?

    What really is the mission in the end? Is it just to make art? Not that there is anything wrong with that; making art is divine. Is it to make money? Become rich and famous??? Use up all your stash?

    I'm not asking these questions in jest... I'm really curious how one maps one's future as an artist.

  2. Anonymous10:08 AM

    Melody, here I have to both agree and disagree. I have found the challenges I have participated in (even if I never finish) to have been of immense help to me. They have made me try techniques I have not used before. They have made me think in terms I have not thought of before. In a nutshell...they have stretched me.

    I think the danger in these is in becoming *locked in.* If you feel that you HAVE to complete the challenge and do so to the exclusion of all else, you are in trouble. However, that is not a problem I have. When I find myslef going on a current that is carrying me away from completion of the challenge, I go with the flow. But often I find the new directions are ones that I would not have taken without the impetus of the challenge.

    As for the postcard quilts....they ARE part of my art. I have sold some and my gallery rep loves them.. She has asked me for 2 dozen to put on, while I am working on the ones I send out, I put them in a pile before being addressed and let Chris (my rep) choose her favorites first. They have proven to be very popular at the gallery and allow those poeple who might not want to spend over $500 purchase something they will enjoy without feeling guilty...AND, it gets my name into their heads!! Chris has matted some and has used some of my odd little displays (I use a lot of drift wood and copper wire) to our advantage.


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  4. Hi Melody,

    I had to remove the last post, ‘cause I called you Melanie and it was getting on my nerves… I apologise for getting your name wrong. This is a copy of what I wrote:

    I can see where you are coming from. I'm one of the bloggers who has been posting about postcards and challenges. These are my first ever art quilts.

    I have viewed the postcard quilts and the S&N challenge as a way to get me started and focused. They have whetted my appetite... I want to do more, and now I know I CAN do it.

    As I mentioned in my blog, I've done postcard quilts and I've decided not to participate in another swap, it served the purpose of giving me the push and a deadline. (btw, my choice of the word 'fun' was carefully chosen to mask the dissapointment I have experienced with the cards I have recived, 50% of them are just crap but I don't want to rain on anyone's artistic parade... and who am I to talk LOL)

    Like Teri, I have found the challenge I'm working on has taken me in a completely different direction. It is that weeks of thought about 'What can I do which is unique, that is personal, that will work given the theme?' I thought of and discarded plenty ideas until I was satisfied. I don't think I would be that rigorous if I was left to my own devices.

    I'm one of the people who finds it difficult to say "I'm an artist"... my sister is a 'non practicing' artist LOL I'm an engineer. It seems pretentious to go around telling people I'm an artist when I've produced bugger all work AND not all the work I do is art, a lot of it is traditional craft (which I love) and I don't want to lock myself out of that area by declaring myself an artist then, wham, out pops a traditional quilt just to make me feel like a fraud LOL.

    Anyway, I've now decided to just go with the flow a bit and do it all LOL

    Thanks for the thought provoking blog
    (Little Fish)

  5. Anonymous9:40 PM

    Claire...practice saying: "I am an ARTIST, I AM an artist, I am an artist!"


  6. Mrs. Mel, I want you to know I keep coming back to read this entry and the one on being a trained artist. Both entries are very thought provoking and I've pulled out my work to evaluate what I've done thus far and your words about the real work and the avoidance of goals and time being short does (to my surprise) resonate some with my choices mainly due to me not trusting my skill level and wanting to play it more on the safe side.

    So thanks for the jolt...;)

  7. Anonymous4:21 PM

    I like to leave a little “wisdom” to jolt your into thinking about goals you may have set over the past few years, months and days, after a good blog read.

    Not earth shattering by any means, and you have read this before, but have you
    actually practiced it lately?

    You know – gnitteS laoG

    Jot down a few new ones today or visit a few old ones that would make you a better person, better business person or a better provider.

    I dare you!

    Today’s tidbit…

    There is a difference in setting your goals and setting them effectively. Anyone can set a goal, but doing it effectively means that it will actually get done.

    There are so many things that you can do to better your life, but if you don't know how to go about it you are stuck.

    The following guidelines will help you to set effective goals and help you manage your time in an efficient manner that will cause those goals to become reality.

    State each goal as a positive statement

    Express your goals in a positive way. That is a key component to setting goals that you can attain.

    How often have you been excited to accomplish a goal that didn't even sound good when you brought it up? If you are not comfortable or happy with the goals that you have set, the likelihood of you succeeding is pretty low.

    If you want to express your goals in a positive way, you simply have to first think of a goal that puts a smile on your face when you imagine it completed. Why would you want to set a goal that made you frown, cringe or cry?

    When you are beginning to set your goals it helps when you are talking about them to others in a manner that states your actions as positives because it will have others seeing it as a positive as well.

    That will garner you a great deal more support. In the end, don't we all need a little support when we are trying to do something positive in our lives?

    Be precise

    Set a precise goal that includes starting dates, times and amounts so that you can properly measure your achievement.

    If you do this, you will know exactly when you have achieved the goal, and can take complete satisfaction from having achieved it.

    Being precise in setting your goals is no more than setting them with exact details. It is easier this way because then you can follow a step-by-step format. That's all there is to it.

    Set priorities

    When you have several goals, give each a specific priority. This helps you to avoid feeling overwhelmed by too many goals, and helps to direct your attention to the most important ones and follow each in succession. Setting priorities will force you into the step-by-step format above.

    By doing the most important first and moving to the least important in succession, you are enabling each task to be easier than the last. It causes the accomplishment of each task to get easier and easier which will encourage you to complete your goal.

    There’s a few more “tidbits” for you at lifetime goals

    Enjoy your day – And have a GREAT one!

  8. Anonymous2:14 PM

    Keep up the good work »

  9. This one is another good one, I agree w/Karoda about re-reading this one and the one about being a trained artist. Bookmarking it! (I don't think you have this one in your "helpful links" - do you? Maybe an addition. Thanks for all you do and write!


So nice of you to drop by. I love your comments, and if you would really like a reply, please email me at fibermania at g mail dot com