Thursday, January 30, 2014

To do a series or not?

There is a lot of pressure in the quilt world for us to work in a series. I can certainly see the point of working in a series, but what if you don’t create a series of quilts? You begin to feel like a failure. Why can’t I get it together and create a wonderful series like everyone else is doing? Why do I hop from project to project and explore different ideas instead of focusing on only one?  Maybe I have no attention span or am easily distracted by all the wonderful things out there to work with. We get that pressure, too. More and more stuff for us to try and we will be missing something if we don’t try them. I better dye, paint, and marble my own fabric. I better stamp and do monoprinting. I better use unusual things in my quilts like dryer sheets, dryer lint, plastic, recycled materials, photos, sheers, silks. I better plan my quilts in a sketchbook and make an art journal. I better take more classes. All of these things will lead to wonderful quilts we have been told.

This quilting thing that we do is supposed to be fun and sometimes putting all these expectations on ourselves is turning it into work instead of fun. Quilting is the thing I do to escape from the real world and I don’t want the stress of that world coming into my creative time. But it does seem to come in….big time!  I become  super critical of my work, I get frustrated when I make mistakes, and I compare myself to others that I consider more talented. I keep taking more classes. I would be ashamed to tell you how many Craftsy, Quilt University, and in person classes I have taken. I have some projects to show for all that effort and have learned something from all of them, but was it worth it? Sometimes I wonder if all these things are like hoarding.

This is the closest that I have come to a series. I have made quite a few quilts with the Moon in them. I am sure that they would not fit the definition of a series and were not planed as a series.

Fabulous Night for a Moon Dance

Call of the Wild 

 Connected to the Moon

Do you work in a series or do you feel left out because you don’t? Do you put too much pressure on yourself and forget to enjoy the fun of creating? Do you feel torn and frustrated because you are expected to try all these new things and yet have no idea how you will ever use them?

I am on Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday. Check it out.

http://ninamariesayre.blogspot.com/2014/01/1-down-11-to-go-off-wall-friday.html

Thanks for reading.

Chris

8 comments:

sonja said...

reoccurring themes can become a beginning of series. as you work you get ideas that don't need to ALL go in this piece so you, I, make another piece to see what this idea looks like, to see what I was thinking. the moon is definite a good start..please don't guilt yourself, just say poof! exchange doubt for "What if" and do the work of your heart.

quilted fabric art said...

Your quilts are great! Do what works for you and don't worry about what other people think or do. Learn from others and whatever gets absorbed by you will make your style and make you unique . Make your art for yourself first and foremost and enjoy the process.

Anonymous said...

Series can be deliberately planned or just occur because of an interest in the subject. Setting yourself a goal of working in a series--just not repeating the same work is a way to stretch your artist capability. These pieces look like a great start to a series. If you cannot think of anything to add to them, maybe it is time to consider a new one---Trees?/Critters?
sylvia in Beaumont Texas

Chris said...

Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting. I think I was in a grumpy mood when I wrote it. I know that I don't usually let people tell me what to do, but I guess I was letting the art quilt police get to me.
Chris

Amy Art Quilter & Fyber Cafe said...

It is similar to a quilt author who asked what is your style? Do I have a style? Finally after much thought, I too, jump from project to project, I realized my intense rayon thread quilting ties it all together. Your reoccurring theme of moons, ties your work together, not necessarily as a "series" but it is still "You." I Love them all! Just keep creating and forget the quilt police, I've never been fond of them.

Linda Kennedy said...

Chris, When I read your blog post I felt like you were writing about me! I can't wrap my head around working in a series and I have continually beat myself up over this. I too have taken numerous classes and am always trying new things. My New Year's resolution was to forget about what everyone thinks I should do and just do what makes me happy. It's my art, and I do it for my own enjoyment, and if I never find my own "style", so be it, but I'm going to enjoy the journey!

Hilary Florence said...

If working in a series helps you to explore multiple possibilities, do it. If it cramps your creativity, don't do it. If you feel it pushes you boundaries and makes you dig deeper, do it. If you feel it locks you in one direction and style, don't do it. It's a balance, but that can be a challenge to find!
Hilary Florence

Hilary Florence said...

If working in a series helps you to explore multiple possibilities, do it. If it cramps your creativity, don't do it. If you feel it pushes you boundaries and makes you dig deeper, do it. If you feel it locks you in one direction and style, don't do it. It's a balance, but that can be a challenge to find!
Hilary Florence