Not too long ago I was talking to a local artist who had recently changed paths. Although she’d been working professionally in a creative field for years, she had pushed her personal artwork to the back burner. That’s something many of us do: our jobs and our daily lives often take priority over our artistic fulfillment. While my friend was able to support herself as a designer, her career didn’t feed her soul. It wasn’t until she listened to her inner voice urging her to make time for her art that she continued her journey as a painter in earnest. Interestingly, her professional creativity also blossomed with an influx of fresh ideas.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made bargains with my inner voice: promising to read more poetry, visit local museums, or attend a concert when I had time. I knew prioritizing these activities would fuel my creative soul and result in my becoming a more inspired artist. These activities, however necessary for my own fulfillment, are often delayed because of a busy schedule at work, orthodontist appointments, and mundane chores. But avoiding them has a price. I believe that every experience we have—whether viewing great art, walking by a frozen pond on a snowy day, or listening to poetry—can change the way we view the world. And those influences show up in our artwork.
Lately, I’ve been trying to make a daily date with myself—even going so far as to schedule it on my calendar—to make sure that I keep my New Year’s resolution to make more time for art. (This is not the first time I’ve made this resolution: it’s right up there with exercise and healthy eating. I’m planning to be more successful this year on all fronts.) This issue of Quilting Arts Magazine gives much inspiration for those hours ahead, dabbling in everything from surface design to contemporary improv piecing. I’m looking forward to trying Maggie Vanderweit’s method of monoprinting that creates spontaneous map-like images on cloth. I can’t wait to pull out my collection of solids (and a few prints) to use in my next improv quilt inspired by Maria Shell’s brilliant color combinations. But most of all I’m looking forward to a few hours sitting in front of the fire, listening to a good audiobook, and hand stitching my own talismans inspired by Victoria Gertenbach’s artwork.
Who knows—as I paint, print, and stitch my way through the winter blues, I just might find that these creative moments leave more of an imprint on my personal life than they do on my art. Because if we really are the sum of our experiences, I’d rather have an extra hour’s worth of creativity on my daily calendar than a slew of chores neatly checked off my to-do list. And I have a feeling that I’m not alone in that sentiment.
Artist Q&A: A Conversation with Daphne Taylor
“At Quilt National 2011, Daphne Taylor’s piece “Quilt Drawing #13—for Maureen” stopped me in my tracks. The play of light on the off-white silk was amazing. The design was simple, yet so powerful. (The piece was awarded a Juror’s Award.) It was therefore my pleasure to invite Daphne to be one of the Featured Artists in my recent book, Art Quilts International: Abstract & Geometric, and to learn more about her work. I enjoyed going behind the scenes so much that I asked her to tell me more about her inspiration and working practices.” – Martha Sielman
“Wave patterns provide the basis for many interesting quilting designs. They create impressive visual effects—especially in wholecloth quilts. A basic wave consists of wiggles that progress in one direction. The wiggles may be periodic or may vary in spacing and height. A wave pattern consists of an array of waves in a particular geometric arrangement. In this article, two types of wave patterns are depicted: parallel waves and radial waves. Computer technology allows these quilting designs to be sewn very precisely.” – Albert Feldman
Secrets of the Art Show Circuit
“For almost 10 years I’ve been traveling around the country showing and selling my art quilts. I started doing small local shows and taking advantage of opportunities to hang my work in the library and restaurants in my community. Seeking to broaden my horizons and increase sales, I explored regional shows next, and then took the plunge into juried national shows. Here are some secrets about being successful on the art show circuit that I wish I had known before I set out.” – Cindy Grisdela
In the Spotlight: Karen Swiech
“Because I love to work in series, when a friend suggested that we work through the existing issues of Quilting Arts and create pieces inspired by them, I was definitely on board. My quilt, “Four Letter Words: Memo to Self” is the result of that challenge. The final quilt includes 27 small quilt blocks and more than 100 different techniques.” –Karen Swiech