Thursday, December 6, 2012

Risk, Process, Create! Wow!

When I wrote yesterday's post, I was worried I'd come off as a pompous egotistical snob. I didn't mean to.  I've always had strong opinions, and alas, I have a history of speaking my mind. I never expected to be applauded. Thank you ladies, for leaving the very supportive comments yesterday.

My friend Becky, who owns Quilted Threads, and I have long lamented customers who: buy all the fabrics in one line; make quilts from patterns or kits only; and otherwise rely on safe, proven and predictable methods of making quilts.

I have given this subject a lot of thought.  WHY do they do this?  I think many quilters do not feel comfortable mixing fabrics or breaking rules, and I think it could be for a few reasons.

1. They don't want to waste their money.

2. They want it to come out "perfect."

3. They don't want to make a mistake and look stupid. In other words, they are afraid.

All are perfectly understandable, and perfectly logical.  What I said about Jelly Roll Race quilts is true: they're great for quilters who otherwise are incapable of taking a real risk.  A jelly roll quilt is pretty much a known commodity.  The more creative quilters regard them with disdain, because we can see them for what they are - contrived.  But if making a jelly roll race quilt gets quilters ever so slightly out of their own comfort zone (also known as their "box") then it's not necessarily a bad thing. If it helps them to then look at it and say, "Well, gee, that was fun, but the end result just doesn't do it for me... what could I have done differently... " that's a learning moment.

Students learn because they have entered the psychological state of "being teachable." They've opened the door to learning something new.  But opening that door means you have to take a risk.
 We have to encourage other quilters to see the world outside their own boxes. It starts with just one step. 

I wouldn't make a jelly roll race quilt with a real jelly roll in a million years (I can think of at least a dozen more interesting things to do), but I'm a lot farther away from the traditional place where I started than a lot of quilters are. For one thing, I view my stash as merely raw materials.  The stash isn't doing me any good sitting there on the shelf. I have to CUT into it; I have to SEW it up; I have to RIP things APART; I have to TRY, and TRY AGAIN, and in so doing, I LEARN while I CREATE. 

I guess that's the big difference. I am more interested in CREATING than REPEATING. I am less interested in the PRODUCT than I am in the PROCESS.


3anklebiters said...

one of the greatest reasons to read your blog is to hear your opinions, your successes and failures, your risk taking. no artist continues to pursue their passion without a bit of ego. right? true happiness is found when you release the bonds that restrict exploration and expression.

Anonymous said...

I love trying new things and getting away from the traditional quilts and anything in life that is the same. Maybe I just get bored too much and need the challenges of doing something different, odd and weird. I love weird.

Quiltdivajulie said...

There is a place for repetition - but there is a far greater NEED for creating, designing, risking, and evolving.

Joy in the journey is what matters the most!

LizA. said...

I agree. I look at a pattern as a suggestion, a starting point, not an end goal. As far as using one entire iine of fabric, I've never done that. I really think that a lot of people simply don't have the confidence or are lacking in the creativity to be able to put together their own fabric selections.

Browndirtcottage said...

Oh my.....Random Plankness going on!!


Cher said...

I have come to a similar space about both my stash...and patterns are a jumping off point..a big WOW on your words by the way!!! I did have a jelly roll and did the jelly roll race with it..a perfect gift for my 6 year old granddaughter..but ...not something I would consider doing for quilts for kids so much LOL. I always enjoy your blog for how unique you are and what you are very inspiring!