All Quiet on the Quilt Front

Or maybe not.

I have been struggling with the Tarts lately and with traveling so much in the past three weeks it has been hard to get back into the creative mode. TFQ and I had a nice looong chat last night which helped to get me back into the groove. She knows about design. Aside from the fact that we share a lot of the same ideas about design,  I really trust her judgment. If I ask for advice, she will give me good advice. I appreciate the way she helps me through the design process when I feel like I am struggling. As I mentioned in my essay, design, etc is partly an intellectual effort for me. TFQ and I can have the right mix of intellectual and creative in our discussions.

I talked with her about my struggles. She suggested that I take the Tarts off the wall for a month and let the project simmer in the back of my mind for awhile. The idea appealed to me, in a way, because I worked on the Infinity (Crazy Eight) blocks and I was really wishing that I had more design wall space. If I take he Tarts off the wall, I’ll have the space. It might be time to get the portable design wall out of the closet again…or stop working on so many projects at once.

I don’t really want to take the Tarts off the wall, because a month can easily turn into a year and by the time I drag it out again, I might want to remake all the blocks AGAIN. Needless to say, despite the merits, I wasn’t thrilled with the idea. When TFQ suggests something, I give it serious thought because she usually has a point.

That was the start of the conversation, however. We looked at the piece using the Tarts Arrangement post, the way I had arranged the different blocks and what was working and what wasn’t working. Now I am all fired up to rearrange the pieces, make some new blocks and move forward a bit more. I am not ruling out putting it away again (with a calendar reminder!), but I am not doing it quite yet.

Tarts, May 10, 2009
Tarts, May 10, 2009

I do know that the teapot block (bottom middle, mauve with blue bubble background) with the view from the top is going. It was damaged somehow and I can’t fix it. Since I have to remake it anyway, I am taking it out and putting in a new block. TFQ made a good point about that block. It is a different view than all the other pieces and, thus, really stands out. Not sure what yet. TFQ suggested another tart or pastry. I don’t have any ideas for one, but since there are only two in the piece, another would a good design choice.

You also get to see the cake plate block in it’s native environment.

FOTY Blocks, May 10, 2009
FOTY Blocks, May 10, 2009

Here are some new Fabric of the Year blocks. I haven’t pressed any fabric lately, so this is the end for the moment. I am not short of fabric to press, I just haven’t done it. I love that red polka dot. It is the same fabric I used for the to go cup.

Word of the Day: Struggle

I was looking at the photos from the recent AQS show in Paducah. I looked at them (thanks, Leslie, for posting!) and thought they were unbelievably gorgeous. The work, the time, the creativity. I also thought that there was no point in me ever enering anything in Paducah, because that work is different from what I do. It isn’t that I probably couldn’t do what Sharon Schamber and Caryl Bryer Fallert do, but I really don’t want to. I love the work that I do and want to continue on the path that I am on and not make something just to enter it into Paducah.

Today when I read the Word of the Day, Struggle, I thought of these feelings I had when looking at the Paducah photos.

Deng Ming Dao, from 365 Tao writes (abridged by me!):

“Goals  are important. Forbearance is also important. But the very process of struggle is equally essential…Without it, we cannot know any true meaning in our accomplishments.”

“A writer will write significant passages as if they were dictated. Each might say, ‘It happened so fast!’ But in reality, it took all of them years of dedication and struggle to come to that moment of climaz. Thus even the virtuoso performance is the tip of a lifetime of struggle, and the gem of meanin is set in the metal of long perseverance.”

Struggle has a negative connotation at first glance, but this passage is great because it acknowledges past work and sums up success.

I think that we have to acknowledge our past work as we achieve success in the present and the future. We have to acknowledge how much we have learned and struggled to get where we are at this point. Caryl Bryer Fallert and Shawn Fanning (founder of Napster) did not have immediate success. What appears to be immediate success has some kind of backsory. Caryl Bryer Fallert had years of machine quitling experience behind before winning best of show at Paducah. Shawn Fanning knew about the Internet and programming before he created Napster.

I don’t think that a person can have instant and immediate success. There is always something behind doing something for the first time: family, classes, related experience. There has to be a foundation.

TFQ turned me on to a Flickr group called Mod Sampler Quilt-Along. It is related to the blog, Oh fransson! It seems that this is where people are gathering now and sharing their quilts in a way that is different from the Paducah show. TFQ and I had a long talk about the AQS show and how it relates to new quiltmakers. She is starting a blog and I hope she will write more about our discussion, but if not, I will pick it up later.

Note: You can see the beginning of the WOTD project on the January 1 post. While I am still doing the project in my journal, I am only posting WOTDs here when they really related to something I have seen or done. My last WOTD post on February 1, 2009 explains a little about my thinking.