Creative Spark #23: Repetition

“There is only one way to achieve the fluency, freedom and grace of the expert, and that is by doing” (The Little Spark, pg.97). I believe this quote. I live this quote. I sew a lot. I make a respectable number of quilts and chop up and sew back together a lot of fabric.

I get the impression that people think you can make one quilt and be an expert. I have made a lot of quilts and I still don’t consider myself an expert. “We get better at anything we try to do by doing it over and over (and over and over)” (pg.97).

I do think, as we progress towards becoming an expert, we gain “fluency and fluidity with the materials and…movements.” We “understand…the rhythm and harmony of the” materials, the tools and our “body.” We can feel our way through the” work ” instead of thinking…through” [it]. We become less attached to our work as we get better and we get better at telling the materials exactly what we want them to do using great economy of movement. As we get better, we are fully in control of our work and yet we choose to surrender that control to the materials. (pg.97)

“You don’t learn by thinking about doing. You might enjoy thinking and planning, but the learning comes from doing” (pg.97). Each time we make a quilt or, even, a block “a new awareness…is born. The reality is that you have to show up and do the work.

Carrie recommends that when you start to, she calls it, “throw a hundred bowls” (pg.97) that you not do it alone. In quiltmaking, guilds are great for that, but so are friends, classes and, in a pinch, the Internet. YouTube is a wonderful thing. The point is that if you get stuck and you don’t have a friend or support system, you will have an easier time stopping that if you have someone to lean on.

The text is followed by a quiz (pg.98-99), which helps determine your learning style.

Now, go make your hundred quilts or hundred blocks and improve your skills. Become an expert.

You can see the last post on this topic from last week.

Nota bene: we are working through Carrie Bloomston’s book, The Little Spark. Buy it. Support the artist. Play along. There is much more to each spark than what I am writing. The original chapters will help you. Go buy Carrie Bloomston’s book, so you get the full benefit of her fabulousness! You can see my book review, which is fueling this flight of fancy.