Monday, June 10, 2013

Oy! What kind of a Mess have I gotten myself into?


Let me start by apologizing for dropping the ball with my blog for the last eight months.  I started a new job, and life happened, and I just got tired.  But with the advent of spring and exercise, I'm now ready to begin writing again.  I can't promise a post every week, because that would just be a fat lie, so I'm going to just try to post a couple of times a month.  Hope you'll still follow me.  And besides, who really reads a blog every week?  Even some of my best friends admit that they haven't been reading the blog ( catch up, people - I would read YOUR blogs!)   Even though I haven't been writing, I have still been quilting, so I have plenty of stuff to talk about.  (As if I could EVER run out of things to say - that would be a miracle, I am sure.)  So apology made, here goes:
 I’m having a problem with my latest project.  It’s my first commissioned quilt.  When I agreed to do it, I was a little trepidacious.  First I was worried about trying to create to someone else’s specifications.  Then I heard about the colors and became even more anxious!  (Dove grey! Beige and tan with a hint of lavender!)  These are colors I have never gravitated towards naturally.  In fact, I’ve never made a quilt that wasn’t pretty much at the opposite end of the spectrum.  But that part’s okay, it’s a challenge, and I relish challenges. 

Then there came the fear of pleasing other people with my artistic vision – something I haven’t to date, done specifically.   Up to now, the way it has worked is like this:  I get an idea and it excites me and I create it – it pleases me, and I truly hope but am not overwhelmingly concerned with whether it pleases other people, too.   Also, when someone commissions a piece of art, I would assume the person has something in mind, and that’s daunting, too –what if it’s something they’ve seen that just won’t work with the colors, or something that just won’t work, period?  Worse than that, I might be forced to create something I just can’t get excited about, which would not only be hard to complete, but if I’m not excited about it, then how can I really do a fantastic job, put my heart and soul into it - which, to me, is what makes art come alive.  A scary thought – to have to spend a great deal of time on something I just cannot stand.  Yikes.  Talk about draining the excitement out of creating.
My next concern was that I would have trouble coming up with ideas.  Normally, ideas are not a problem for me – I eat, sleep and dream ideas.  Nope, it’s time that’s always been an issue for me – I have to work, be a mom, a wife, etc. and that leaves very little time for art.  Now I’d been given parameters that are a bit foreign to me, and I want, no - NEED -  the customers to be completely excited and satisfied with the product, but what if I draw a blank for the first time ever?  Or I’m unable “create on demand?”  I’ve never tried before in this type of artistic situation – could be also very scary.  I’m just not sure about this whole commission thing…but I wanted to try, so I sucked up my fears and blew them away with a nice, big bad wolf breath. 

Ironically, despite my fears, none of the above things I fretted about are the issue I’m having with my quilt.  I found materials in the requested colors that were perfect and inspiring, I channeled several ideas that excited both me and the clients, who actually let me choose which one to make – even better!

But my knickers are really in a twist because (gulp) I still haven’t figured out how to construct the damn thing!  I’ve got the basics figured out but as it turns out what seemed like a pretty simple design is actually (or should I say naturally in a sarcastic fashion?  No, I won’t say it because that would be snotty.  But I did write it, and I’m not taking it out. J) quite complex and I can’t come up with a good, clean way to put the thing together in a way that 1) pleases me and  2) is actually doable.   I worked on it all weekend, and I haven’t worked it out yet. And while I have freely and without shame admitted in the past that when I get frustrated my language could cause a sailor to blush,  yesterday I really lost it and did the most un-Zen thing I’ve done in a great while – I ripped part of the quilt apart in frustration.  To quote about a million teenagers – OMG!  I was so shocked at my own behavior I stopped quilting and went outside and spent three hours cleaning my car, something I had been dreading doing because it was so frighteningly filthy I couldn’t bring myself do it.  But I clearly needed to regroup, and I hoped that maybe I would have a Eureka moment once I let go and put my mind to another task. 

The good news is that now the car is spotless (and by golly, if my son puts his large, stinky feet on the glove box I’m going to slap them down, STAT!) but I still haven’t figured out the quilt!  I’m not too panicked yet, I still have two months to complete it, but still – I don’t know if I’m going to run into other issues , like say, with the quilting (it’s a queen-sized quilt and I don’t have a long arm quilter, for example)  And still some other unforeseen problem could crop up as well – perish the thought!  (And shut up, you neurotic idiot – don’t worry about things that aren’t happening – didn’t you learn anything from the first three paragraphs?  Argghhh!)
So I’m kind of annoyed with my brain, or the god of creativity, or the universe  (or whoever- besides myself, of course- is to blame) for allowing me to dream up an idea but not allowing me to come up with the means to execute said idea.  Not Cool, Creativity! 
I’m thinking of standing on my head for a while – maybe an idea with rush into my brain along with all the blood.  I tried yoga and meditation this morning, but nope –still no breakthrough. 

 So I’m trying NOT trying.  Just having faith that it will come together.  Because deep down I know it will.  I’m not saying there’s going to be an easy solution.  Heck, I’m not even hoping for that .  (As my excellent mother always said, “Carrie, nobody ever said it was going to be easy.”)  No, I’ll happily settle for doable. 
When the answer comes, I’ll be ready for it.  In the meantime, I think I’ll practice getting my Zen groove back on.  I fell off the wagon for a moment I suppose.  The great thing is that it never leaves without you, it just patiently waits for you to hop back on and start enjoying the ride again.  Now that’s something to be grateful about.