I made my first quilt in 1998. It was made from “cheater” fabric and filled with flaws but I found tremendous satisfaction in the finished product. The picture in my head came to life. I was hooked.
For the next few years, I was a prolific seat of the pants quilter, crafting my quilts by reading technique books, listening to my gut, and eventually taking a few classes. I made quilt after quilt as gifts for family and friends, until I found myself relocating from Texas to Chicago, where quilting fell off the back seat in the wake of new city, new job, and assorted other life changes. In addition to those assorted life upheavals, I found myself dissatisfied with what I made. I wanted to quilt but I didn’t want to make traditional quilts. I wanted to make art like that displayed at Houston’s International Quilt Festival (IQF) and through Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA). While that desire to be a quilt artist lingered in my soul, I did nothing to fan the flames. I didn’t build up a collection of work; instead, I let fear tell me it was an impossible dream, that I didn’t have what it took, that I couldn’t be an artist.
Screw the fear. I’d rather know I tried.
This year, I dug a UFO out of a box and dove in to finish it. It’s not an original design but the act of picking up the rotary cutter and applying foot to pedal on my machine sparked something in me. It reminded me how much I enjoy the process and the craft. It also reminded me how much I have to learn and how rusty my skills are. But I still scribbled down a list of over 15 quilts I want to design and make. I can see them in my head, and I know there are more lurking in the background.
I’ve always dabbled in poetry and, in one of those weird, random connections, I find my poems are sparking those quilt designs. (I can’t say if the poetry is any good or not — go here if you’re interested in reading any of it — but I hope the quilts will be!)
It is my goal to become a quilt artist. I know there are many steps to take, many small and large goals to set and achieve on that path. There are classes to take, techniques to learn, wise people to listen to and learn from.
I know it won’t happen overnight, if at all. In fact, if it happens, it is likely to take years. But I’m looking forward to putting in the time.
This blog is a record of the journey. Thank you for coming along on the ride.
What journey are you on?