Tuesday 30 January 2018

A late start!

Hello everyone! Nice to meet you all!

When I first saw the title "Nature" I thought "Oh, that will be quite easy" ..... Nah!

I have to admit I had trouble getting started, although I had the idea of working from this photo right from the word go!

The Flashing Scissors

I started with ideas of drawing the branch with leaves and berries, but soon realised that including leaves would be too complicated in the time I have left!

The Flashing Scissors

I hope you will visit my blog where I am sharing more details with all my blogging friends.

Barbara xxx

Sunday 28 January 2018

Dipping Into Nature

I am very glad to be a part of this group.  Participating in the themes and challenges will spur me to try new subject matters, materials, and techniques.

But what a huge theme to start with -- Nature!  So many ideas are swirling in my head -- how to pick just one?

When choosing from among a wealth of possibilities, here are three tips that work for me:

1) Start from where you are.

I am very fortunate that, after decades living in cities and suburbs, I get to divide my time between two very different rural properties.  (Texas is more or less divided in half, with the eastern half being green and humid, and the western half being tawny and arid.)  I have spent a lot of time over the last eight years, trying to learn and document all the species that live in these two places.

East Texas farm in November.

Central Texas ranchita in November.
And when I am in more urban settings, I still notice touches of nature that managed to survive and thrive, and I take pictures of those too.  So for this project, I will start with an image I already have, and some techniques I already have experience with.

But that still gives me so much material to choose from.  Capturing the ideas on paper in quick collages and sketches clarifies my thinking -- it's like each idea is happy to be noticed, and it stops chattering, "Pick me! Pick me!"

(For years I have told myself I would start an art journal, and this group has provided the impetus to finally do that.  So that is already source of satisfaction!)

But that leads me to my next point --

2) Do not go overboard in researching a direction.  For me, this is not the time to seek out and study dedicated artists.  Even at the art journal stage, lots of people produce phenomenal, finished work that overwhelms me and makes me think I should give up now. I avoid looking at a lot of websites and look more intently at the subject I am working on.

3) Small strokes.   As in canoeing or kayaking, small strokes can help you progress.  I realize that this is not going to be the Great American Quilt on Nature, or even (I hope) my own Ultimate Nature Object.  This is just one step. Maybe some day these small strokes will bring me into the rushing rapids of creativity, and I will develop a recognizable style, but if not, at least my own thinking  should become more creative.

My project this time is going to be very low-key, but I am enjoying the time spent on thinking of possibilities, and on enriching my work habits!  

Friday 26 January 2018

Just A Tease

Thank you Catherine and Janine for forming this group.  I have enthusiastically thought about the theme and what I will stitch.

If I had not had a battle with two bouts of the flu that rotated through our house, and a wedding in our home, I would have done more research on the technique I chose.  My project is hand stitched.  As I went along, saw mistakes.  I corrected some and others I let stay.  I accept this piece as a challenge to myself to learn and grow.  I'm excited to see what the NEXT project will be.

Here is a sneak peek of the project I am working on.

I would be interested to know what other member's take is on their reason for participating in the group.

Tuesday 23 January 2018

About Procrastination

I am really looking forward to this being a communicative group because I love seeing what other people are up to and following their creative process, so I had good intentions of making a work-in-progress post as my contribution.  Sad to say though, I have not even started on my quilt.  There are some valid excuses for this - some events have taken up a bit of time and emotional energy recently and for the last week I've had the sort of cold that makes you want to lie on a chaise longue, clutching a lace hankie while bravely protesting in a weak voice that you're alright really, or in my case sprawling on the sofa, sniffling and watching re-runs of CSI Miami.

But the main reason for not having started is Procrastination.  Every time I make something to a deadline I leave it to the last minute which causes a lot of stress and every time I think I will start earlier next time.  So I was thinking about procrastination, and instead of a WIP piece (or actually even just getting on with my quilt, oh the irony!) I thought I would write about that instead.

Procrastination is the thief of time (Charles Dickens, I looked it up) and it's definitely the curse of the crafter.  Why do we do it? (I'm assuming I'm not alone.)  

Personally I can find many reasons to procrastinate, including:

1 there are always other things that need doing - clean the bathroom, put on a clothes wash, etc, etc
2 I'm never sure where I've put all the bits of fabric that I need and the thought of hunting for them is wearying
3 I use the family dining table when I'm working, and it's always covered with stuff so I need to claim a bit of space before I start, and I need to clear it away again when I finish.

But these are feeble excuses because 

1 nothing truly catastrophic will happen if the bathroom is a mess for a bit longer or if everyone runs short of socks
2 half an hour spent sorting the stash and retrieving the necessary bits is not arduous and would be doubly productive
3 again, this is a dispiriting activity, but no big deal!

So I don't think these are the real reasons and so, again hoping this is not just me, why do we do it?  For me part of the reason is lack of confidence and the fear that what I make will fall short somehow.  Social media is a blessing and a curse because the opportunity to engage with other like-minded people is so lovely, but it's too easy to fall into comparing yourself with other people.  There's also the fear that my work won't match up to the original grand ideas. 

Part of the reason is fear of commitment.  Fear of committing limited resources (time, fabric?) to a project and somehow 'wasting' them.

I think we have to hang on tightly to our own identities, the idea of making what we want to make and what interests us, doing it as well as we can, and try to enjoy the process and the constant discovery.  Nothing is a failure and nothing is wasted if you have learned something.    Also, you don't get interest on unspent time and you can't take a fabric stash to the grave!

Is procrastination ever a good thing?  Well yes.  Even when I'm cleaning the bathroom, or putting on a clothes wash, I'm thinking about the project in hand.  It's an absolute luxury and source of happiness to do this and it's why I enjoyed taking part in Four-in-Art and why I wanted to keep going with a new group.  

Putting things off also means that you can take advantage of lucky events.  Since the random number generator picked this theme, Nature, from the list we'd all contributed I've followed a lot of trains of thought and had come up with a couple of ideas that 'would do', but last week I was wandering back and forth in front of my dining room window while chatting to my sister on the phone and I looked down into the neighbour's garden and saw a scene that really inspired me.  Now I have a definite plan, and just hope I can pull it off!

So now that I've banged on ad nauseam about procrastinating, please tell me I'm not alone.  Do you procrastinate?  -  if so why, and how do you get round it?  I'd love to know what gets in the way of your creativity.  If you don't, I admire and envy you!  

Thursday 18 January 2018

A Little Peek

Before the February 1st reveal, I thought I would give a little peek at what I have been working on for my NATURE themed project.

It is also a practice run on posting here on the blog. Come back in a few weeks!