Art Quilting Tips: How to Overcome Artist’s Block

Has this ever happened to you?

You walk into your studio, turn on the light, look around, and are struck with the overwhelming feeling of, “I’m never going to have another creative idea again.”

If your head is nodding “YES!” and your heart is racing with dread, then you probably have experienced artist’s block firsthand. I know I have. And every time it happens, I fear that it will continue beyond a day or two and I’ll end up with a big stash of fabric and no quilts to show for all of my efforts.

“The Art Quilter” • 30" x 50" Photos courtesy of Sue Bleiweiss

“The Art Quilter” • 30″ x 50″ Photos courtesy of Sue Bleiweiss

Read on as artist, author, and quilt teacher Sue Bleiweiss not only identifies the problem, but also gives you practical advice to follow when quilting. Tips are always useful for overcoming obstacles, both real and internal, when making art.

“Artist’s block happens to every artist at some point. I’ve been a full-time artist for many years and trust me when I say that it will pass and your motivation will return. It may take a few days or maybe even a few weeks but I promise you that this feeling will pass.
Artist’s block comes in many forms and the first step for dealing with yours is not to panic. The second step is to figure out what’s causing it so you can kick it to the curb and get back to creating.

“Red + Yellow + Blue” • 30" x 50"

“Red + Yellow + Blue” • 30″ x 50″

Silence the inner critic

Your inner critic can be one of the biggest roadblocks on your creative journey. You know that voice that nags you with things like:
• I don’t think that anything I make is any good.
• My art will never have any worth because I didn’t study art and have no formal training.
• The last piece of art I made was awful so why bother to try again.
• I’m just not creative enough.

I’ll be blunt: your inner critic doesn’t know what she’s talking about and you have to learn to ignore her. Think your art has no worth because you have no formal training? There are a lot of artists who make beautiful work, teach, exhibit, write books, and lead successful careers all without earning an art degree. Don’t let a lack of formal training stand in the way of achieving your creative goals. Create your own course of study—read books on design, techniques, and color theory. Choose an artist to study each year: there’s a lot to be learned by studying the masters. Take classes and workshops with artists whose work you admire. Find a mentor who can help you set goals while providing guidance and feedback.”

—Sue Bleiweiss

“Color My World • 30" x 50"

“Color My World • 30″ x 50″

Sue knows what she’s talking about.

Not only is she a frequent contributor to Quilting Arts Magazine, the author of Colorful Fabric Collage, and other great books, curator, and teacher, she’s also a professional fiber artist.

Having a creative practice that encourages others as well as requires you to spend a lot of time in the studio has led Sue to some interesting insight.

 “Self Portrait” (detail) 25" x 72"

“Self Portrait” (detail) 25″ x 72″

Sue Bleiweiss is an award-winning fiber artist recognized for her whimsical imagery and bold, saturated quilts.

Want to learn more quilting tips about overcoming artist’s block? Check out her article in the October/November 2018 issue of Quilting Arts and learn tips to:
Prioritize your ideas
Conquer a blank mind
Face failure & rejection
Avoid burnout
Refuel and refill the creative well

Pick up your copy of Quilting Arts Magazine October/November 2018 for this and more. Or better yet, subscribe today so you never miss another fantastic art quilting tip or trick!


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