Wednesday 9 October 2013

Procrastinating finishing art quilts

I am slowly progressing through a few unfinished pieces of work.  Most of them didn't have much left to do but I just was procrastinating finishing them.  When I have them done I wonder why I put them off for so long.

Why do we procrastinate?  I mostly do it because I get stuck and don't know quite what to do to work through the problem, so I just don't do it. Instead of problem solving and moving forwards I stay stuck in the same place completely petrified of making a wrong move or making an irreversible mistake.

When we stay stuck in the same place we may be safe and secure but we don't get any better with our art.  We stay stagnant, we don't progress and we don't learn anything.

4 things I have to ask myself when I get into this place is

  1. What am I scared of?
  2. What is the worst that can happen if I work on this art piece?
  3. What can I do to work through this issue?
  4. What can I learn from this experience?
When I ask myself these questions I find almost always the problem is manageable and can be worked through quite easily and the problems wasn't as hard as I first thought.

60cm x 43 cm
By Catherine Parkinson

I made the top of this quilt in one day. I loved how my creativity just flowed and everything just came out right.  But when I started quilting I just couldn't get it to work.  The quilt top was made 2 years ago and then it just sat there.  I started the quilting 1 year ago by quilting the squares in the top right hand corner and the 2 flowers.  Then I just got completely stuck on what to do next.  I wanted the pattern to come through but additional texture and line was needed.  I put it to the side and just couldn't finish it.  A few months ago I picked it up again and quilted horizontal lines in the top left hand corner and still I couldn't get any further.

It wasn't till I asked myself those 4 questions that I could figure out how to move on with this work and how to complete the quilting.

  1. What am I scared of?  Failing and getting it wrong or ruining the top I made.  I realised that none of these things really mattered.  There was no such thing as failing or getting it 'wrong' as it is my art work and I can give myself permission to do whatever I want on it.  The top only took one day to make so it wasn't really a major investment of time.
  2. What is the worst that can happen if I work on this art piece?  I might not like it,  I may have to make it into a pouch or I may need to throw it out.  All of these things I could live with.
  3. What can I do to work through this issue? Jump in and try to quilt it.  I can give myself permission for it not to be perfect and to just enjoy the moment.
  4. What can I learn from this experience? To learn about line and shape and how they all interact with each other.  That my art work is never a failure it is a learning experience.

After answering these questions I was able to see the work more clearly. I was able to stand back and view the piece with different eyes. I unpicked all of the horizontal stitches and went vertical and it instantly looked better. I went ahead and I chose some quilting lines and I tried them.  I was really pleased with the outcome and I learnt so much.  

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