Creative kismet


Sandi Henderson’s Ginger Blossoms fabrics and an eBayed Kansas Dugout quilt top both arrived today. I’m liking the Ginger Blossoms colors with the vintage fabrics. I wonder what I can stir up with the old as inspiration for the new? Which leads me to a deeper philosophical consideration…

Of course, I enjoy quilting. Who doesn’t love to play with colors and fabrics and the sewing machine? At times, however–and maybe this happens to me because I am often working with a deadline–it becomes a little rote, a little whiz-bang-gee-that-happened. Let’s just say that occasionally there is little feeling involved and I ask where is the “me” in this project?

That question hit me hard at the Sue Spargo workshop. Sue encourages one’s creativity, and her projects are rife with opportunities to make creative choices. When I was preparing for the workshop (you know, the overthinking…), I focused on gathering my supplies mainly with learning technique in mind.

At the workshop, I realized that technique is the easy part (what I mean here is that it is learned by practice and then you have it). I sat stitching down my circles and became paralyzed by what to do next. The full impact of the wish to make creative choices stopped me in my tracks. There were just too many directions in which to go! That coupled with over-caffeination led to full on panic.

In a nutshell, I haven’t been practicing my creativity muscles. And, for me, that is the hard part. It is, however, the only way to get to the “me-ness” of a project. What can I add to a project besides fabric combinations? I would like to stretch to do more. The Paper Plates quilt gave me a taste of this.

Sue described how she collects inspiration. I have long meant to do this, but I am not a draw-er or a doodler and, well, blank sketchbooks are just so pretty when they’re blank, aren’t they? I hate to mar the possibility in those blank pages.

So, I’ve been pondering these things, and then Kathy at Material Obsession summed it up just the other day. Her post about layering experience and the spirit hit the nail on the head! I have long admired the projects I see there; each one is just spilling over with creative choices.

Now I need to figure out what to do about this, to find a way to move myself forward and to shape up my long-dormant creativity muscles. Maybe I will dust off a sketch book. Maybe I will keep the Ginger Blossoms not too far from the Kansas Dugout and see what happens.



  1. pam said

    Love the quilt and the Ginger Blossom. I know exactly what you’re talking about. I have spent years making things for samples where you have some kind of rule you need to follow. Now there’s a whole new world of stuff and I can do what I want.. but what do I want to do? What is my style? I find your work so inspirational because it’s all about fabrics I never have used and techniques I’ve never tried.

  2. Jan said

    This post resonates with me! In fact, I’ve been ruminating over similar issues all week. I think that the recent explosion of projects on the internet is partly to blame. There’s so much to look at, it’s like being in a candy store…I’d like to make *this* and *this* and *this*. I’m thinking I need to step away a bit and get back to my old creative routines, pre-computer.
    I’ve been waiting for that Ginger Blossom fabric to be released. It’s a lovely collection.

  3. I also get paralysed by blank notebooks – so I have to mess up the first page. SCRIBBLE on it – then the book is ‘wrecked”, right? If I’m really really intimidated by a new notebook I’ll do a watercolour or acrylic wash over a few random pages, too – it’s much easier to draw or write on something that’s not blank white.

    I write a lot in my visual journals – even if it’s something as simple as “keep the Kansas dugout and those new Ginger Blossom fabrics together” – because inevitably I will forget and tidy them apart.

    Then when I’m feeling quite creatively BLAH I can go back and say “I wonder why I wrote that?” and be all inspired. It works for me, anyway.

  4. kathy doughty said

    That pile of fabrics and that quilt you have are great together. Sometimes Kismet is the best creative juice… but my comment is about your workshop with Sue Spargo. I watch Sarah make them all the time and wonder how she does it. I LOVE Sue’s quilts but when I go to make the choices I freeze too, I can’t chip away at the style to make it me because I already like what she has done the best. I am not giving up but rather watching it and waiting for it go morph. Sometimes I think we are just too busy or going to fast or too overloaded to hear the spirit of the project. Then waiting is the only way to go. I too am inspired by your work and love checking in to see what you are up to. The best thing about blogland is finding out someone else feels the same way! have confidence, you’re a star. kathy

  5. Diane said

    The Kansas Dugout quilt is gorgeous. Lucky you to own it. When I worked in a quilt shop, surrounded by an ever changing array of beautiful fabrics, I realized how overwhelming the decisions for any given project could be. One choice of fabric was not necessarily better than another–just different. The search for the perfect fabric can lead to paralysis!

RSS feed for comments on this post · TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: