artistic development

Just be…

Since I left corporate America in 2002 I’ve spent the last 17 years (would you believe I found my old typepad blog still out there in cyberspace?!) setting and meeting a weavinglot of challenges for myself. I started with weaving – I took a class, fell in love with it and spent the next several years designing and weaving all sorts of items and fabrics to sew with. I had my work and patterns that I designed appear in a few issues of Handwoven magazine and I sold a lot of my handwoven items at shows. All that weaving led to my first (of three) shoulder surgery and I eventually burned out on weaving all day every day and moved on to teaching myself the art of bookmaking…

keybookoriginal1.JPGI made a lot of books, taught a lot of book making classes and eventually got published in a book making magazine (Bound & Lettered winter 2010). That led me back to working with fabric and I developed techniques to combine traditional bookmaking techniques with fabric which led to more teaching, magazine articles etc and that eventually lead to getting into surface design…


I experimented with a lot of surface design techniques – fabric painting with paint, crayons, shiva oil sticks, watercolor crayons and anything that I could make a mark on fabric with. I did indigo dyeing, fabric dyeing, screen printing, silk painting, shibori. That eventually led me to playing with mixed media techniques – creating layered surfaces using Mistyfuse which led to developing my painted textured silk surfaces that I turned into wall art and 3d pieces…tafa

You name it, I tried it and it eventually led me down the path of art quilting where I IMG_6532challenged myself develop my own techniques and signature style that didn’t look like anyone else’s. I really waned to get into the pages of Quilting Arts magazine which eventually I did (12+ times!) as well as into other fiber and quilting magazines which encouraged me to enter my work in exhibits, which led to ribbons and book contracts and juried invitationals, and solo exhibits and TV appearances and teaching gigs ….

WIP w border

And what kept pushing and motivating me through all of it was the challenge I set for myself with each new direction that I went in. Now 17 years later I feel like I am tired of working so hard! I’ve met all the challenges I set for myself, I’ve done it all which is why I find myself struggling and maybe even a bit unmotivated to figure out where to go next with art quilting, at least for now…

So I’ve decided to take a break from it and being-461698_1920Now that doesn’t mean I am not going to stop making quilts (after all, I did just add a long arm to the studio earlier this year!) but what I am going to do is take the pressure off and just make some things because I want to make them for me. Maybe I will make a quilt for my bed to sleep under instead of one to hang on the wall, maybe I will create some quilted table runners for each season for my dining room table, new quilted pillows for the window seat in the bedroom. I’ve always wanted to experiment with creating traditional style quilt patterns using fused methods instead of piecing (cause you know I live in fear of the 1/4” seam!) and this seems like a good time to play around with that idea.


Maybe I will do some of that, maybe I will do none of it…

What I am going to do is not worry about how any of it fits in with my body of work that I have build over the last 12 or so years. I’m not going to worry about what call for art I will submit it to or whether or not it is magazine or book worthy. I’m just going to do it because I want to do it on whatever time table I want and not worry about deadlines and submission dates and all the rest of that. If some opportunities to exhibit, teach, write or get involved with new projects come up I’ll of course be open to them but I’m not going to sweat it if they don’t. Like the song goes …

Que será, será
Whatever will be, will be
The future’s not ours to see
Que será, será
What will be, will be

 me w camera cropped06172019.jpgI am going to continue to work on getting better at wildlife photography.  Now that all the bird have migrated from the river, my focus until they return in the spring is going to be on creating a portfolio of backyard birds.

It’s a new day, the sun is shining, the birds are singing and my camera is calling out to me to get outside and take some photos so that’s what I’m gonna do!

4 thoughts on “Just be…

  1. That is a great idea to take a breather and just find yourself again. Take the time to do whatever you feel like doing so you can hear your own voice again. I bet that will result in even stronger pieces and style.


  2. A wise decision Sue, but don’t take long before you make a comeback. We’ll miss you and believe me it’s difficult to get going again.
    I stopped when my husband was very ill over 6 years ago only to find my creativity seems to have disappeared.


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