Six month review

I am done! I just finished the three monsters- all are bound and sleeves are carefully sewn on the top and the bottoms of these pieces- ready to go to the photographer to be shot. And I feel great!
It is such a relief to know that they are done.
What have I learned through this process? Well a lot.

1. Take the time to do it right- especially the finishing. The last six months has taught me to perfect how to square a quilt, how to make a quilt lie perfectly flat- well perhaps not perfectly but pretty damn close- and how to attach sleeves that will help a quilt hand properly. I admit that I have been hasty in the past- even to the point of ripping the pieces of cloth to make the bindings instead of cutting them. Well- that will never happen again. In fact I am in the process of looking at my previous pieces and dismantling them to redo them the proper way. Not something I relish- but I believe it is necessary if I want these to shine.

2. I have to quilt my own work. I so admire the work of many of the talented artists that are focusing on long arm quilting and are making some of my favorite artists' work sing. Their craftsmanship is amazing and I know they work to some pretty hard deadlines. I had thought long and hard about sending my work out. And I decided against it. I think that was the proper decision since while I have fought with my large works as I was quilting them- I can see that my quilting has changed and morphed into an additional element that I quite like. Perhaps one of the benefits of working on 5 pieces over the last year has been that I can actually look at the progress of the machine quilting and have realized that there is a complexity that I quite like.

3. I am still as anxious about my work as ever. Well- actually that is not something that I learned over the last year- it is something I have felt forever. I look at the three pieces I am submitting and the fourth that will hang in Color Improvisations and I worry how they will stand up to the other artist's works. I remarked to David as I looked at the four pieces that I was worried that this is all I have done in two years. It seems like an insignificant amount of work. And I worry that it will not show well.

4. I do need outside affirmation that my work is good. My own opinion is not good enough for me. And yes, this is a problem. One I have to get over. I did not enter any shows over the last two years with the exception of Quilt National and Quilts=Art=Quilts. And I do get jealous when I see my contemporaries getting in shows.... I marvel and wonder how they had enough time to produce so much good work. And I am left wondering IF I would have gotten pieces in if I had entered them. This my friends is a lesson in frustration and absolute insanity and does nothing to make me happier.

5. I like to talk. I really enjoyed my trunk show at the Schweinfurth and I have been asked to give a presentation to a group in early February. And I have found that the preparation that I put into these presentations is quite valuable... it has given me a platform to look back at my work and understand it in a different way. I like looking at my work with a critical eye- and I now understand how my work has developed and changed and where it needs to go.

6. I need a deadline and I hate deadlines. I very much doubt that I will work on projects with two simultaneous deadlines. I found that very stressful and I want to eliminate stress from my life as much as possible. On the other hand I know that a deadline is seminal to making me work harder. So a compromise is working on one project at a time.

7. Where I work is important. I can not wait to get into my new place. It will afford me the space to see my work and a wonderful atmosphere. But my space can not be an excuse for either producing or not producing work. I have worked in a cramped space for all these years, and when I am in DC I will still have to. But the opportunity to work on more than one piece at a time is a luxury I can not wait to have.

 8. I am ready to move on. I have so many ideas that I want to explore. And I want to have fun. I can not say that the last year's work was fun- but I think it was important for me. Now I have to take that next big breathe and dive on in. ... the work begins.

by JudyK