Every year for the past 5 years I’ve chosen a word to focus on. It suprises me every time how much impact just one word can have.
Thinking back over the past 5 years I am overwhelmed with the positive direction that my artwork has taken me and the very many blessings and challenges that have come with it.
Five years is a pretty good chunk of time and I thought deserves a little recap.
For years I felt like I had creative ADD. As in I worked on a dozen projects at a time, sewing, painting, baking, embroidery, graphic design, prom dress alterations... I and my work were literally all over the place... and my house, it was a mess. I had 5 and 3 year old little boys and just felt pulled in every direction. Not to mention the weather in New England hated me. You can read more about my struggle with SADD here.
So the word listen really became a beacon for me. I needed to listen to my intuition. Focus on my fun little family and not worry about what direction my artistic mess was taking at the moment. t was a good choice too because by July our family packed it up and headed back to sunny Arizona where the weather and I could be better friends.
After a sweltering summer, which felt a little like detox for my soul I really began to listen to my artistic heart again. I realized it had been years since I just took pen to paper and doodled. Doodling led to more doodles. Pencil drawings led to scanning, learning how to make a repeat pattern, and conquering Adobe Illustrator.
Also, I was listening to my what my heart and soul needed too. It needed time with family, hugs from sticky little hands, and sunshine. Oh, blessed sunshine.
2013 left me with a garden full of artistic seeds. I just needed to nurture them some more and send them out into the world. I did. With a lot of courage, and carefully curated portfolio I sent my work out into the world to see what it had to say. It was terrifying...but it was out there.
I learned that there is no point in having a beautiful garden if no one gets to enjoy it with you. Sending my art out to art directors gave me the feedback I didn’t know I was missing. Art is so subjective, you never know what others will think. Also unlike my architecture education, it is personal. Having someone like what you create is a boost to the ego. Having someone say “yes” to my work seemed to say that I did indeed have some idea what I was doing.
I signed on with Moda Fabrics as a licensed artist and began the long process of publishing my first fabric line!
I felt more of a need to narrow and refine my processes. I developed a template for my quilt patterns, a methodology for my creative process and several mantras for my studio wall. The most impactful one has been and still is, “There is room for YOU”. It’s easy to see all of the art out in the world and think there is no way my little sketchbook is any different or unique than everyone else. However, just thinking that there is room for little ME makes sense. My eyes and my experiences are unlike anyone else and I will always have a unique way of seeing the world.
Another aspect of refine as a wardrobe choice. Random, I know. There was something about finally realizing I was in my early thirties made me think I should reconsider the fabrics in my closet. It was time to upgrade my ridiculous collection jersey t-shirts into some other materials. I didn’t have sticky fingered kiddos anymore. Generally my boys are pretty tidy, and if not they were old enough not to wipe their hands and snot on me. I’m still a lover of denim, Target, and t-shirts, but now there are some blouses and dresses too.
Armed with a new wardrobe I headed to my first Quilt Market to show off the Acreage fabric collection.
Hey there 34, Life has been pretty good. We were living near family after a long time away. Our desert home was good. My second fabric line Tuppence was coming along. We spent the entire summer at the pool. The kids started school and we had a rhythm...except for an awkward job situation for my husband.
A fall move to the San Francisco Bay area was a quick surprise for our family. We took a job, packed up, and started again in a whole new place within a few weeks. It was madness but has felt so right. Writing this now, I realize perhaps iterate was the word for our family too. We hadn’t expected to begin again so soon, but that is what the word means. To tweak, refine, and try another attempt.
So I set up another house, enrolled kids in another school, organized another studio.
Before the move, I had attempted to write a book. I had a publisher lined up too. Things changed and my project got “shelved until further notice”. I kept writing anyway.
I tried this last year to renew interest in a few wayside creative projects. Beginning with the completely new website you see here. Setting up my computer I found my book notes and decided to self-publish. One of my best decisions ever. I wrote and published in March Choose Joy: Quilting with Intention after feeling like too many social media quilts appear to be quick get ‘em done projects.
Then something crazy happened. I had extra notes from Choose Joy...and saw a whole opportunity to help others organize and sort out their Works In Progress quilts. Between the beginning of April and the week of May Quilt Market I wrote and published a whole new book. Plan to Quilt. With encouragement, I took an awkward prototype to market and sold nearly 250 copies before I left. Then I had to figure out how to publish it. (Insert gaping jaw and googley eyes here)
My 2nd fabric collection with Moda Fabrics called Tuppence was released in May at that same market... it was nuts.
Then I began to get emails asking for the next volume of Plan to Quilt. I kept packing and shipping, writing Plan to Quilt v2.
I also kept drawing in preparation for the next fabric line.
I started painting again. Maybe they will become something in 2018.
Over the past 5 years I have learned how to experiment... but I stil have doubt.
I have learned how to wait... but I am still impatient.
I have learned how to share... but still await judgement.
I have learned how to grow... but it still hurts.
This year I am going to trust.
Trust the process : the timeline : the results.