I am way behind in reading my quilting magazine. I only subscribe to QNM anymore. In the one I'm reading, there is an article by Leni Weiner about finding your quilting voice. She talks about trying lots of different types of quilting, finding what you like, and pursuing that with vigor. Her illustration was that she was standing near one of her quilts and two ladies walked up and recognized it as hers before they looked at the tag. Her voice is her distinctive style that can be recognized on sight, from a distance.
So, what is my voice and why did that article resonate so strongly with me?
First, what do I want to do as a quilter? What do I want my voice to "look" like.
I am a traditional quilter, inspired by the quilts of my Mother, Grandmother, Great-grandmother, and Great-aunts. Modern is fun to look at and to admire at shows, but modern is not my voice. I'm not an art quilter...although I think of my quilting as art. That same issue of QNM shares that there is a new definition of the art quilt. I can't remember what it was, but it wasn't my voice (likely why I don't remember what it was). In fact, if I look at my quilting, I haven't moved forward in time to pick my patterns. I've moved back in time, beginning with really old traditional patterns and then moving up to the patterns that were popular in the late 90's (think Karen K. Stone) when I started quilting. And, I moved backwards from there, including patterns from the 80's, 70's, 30's and earlier (think Ruth B. McDowell). And, one of my upcoming projects is a Birds in the Air quilt or a Square within a Square quilt using Civil War repros (think Barbara Brackman's inspiration from old quilts).
My original aspiration was for whole cloth quilting and I have done a few of those. Minimalism in the fabrics, but quilting the heck out of them with tiny background work. Here is the influence if Diane Gaudynski, Leah Day, and Harriet Hargrave.
If you go back and read my blog, you'll read about quilting. And, then parenting and quilting. And, relationships and quilting. And, politics and quilting. And, knitting and quilting.
Always, the theme of quilting with whatever else was going on.
And then, sometime recently, there started to be a lot of work and crochet and tatting and distraction from quilting.
Just as I was finding my quilting voice, I got distracted by new and shiny things. And, my voice started to get diluted instead of further purified.
Okay, so the work thing cannot be avoided. As much as I'd like to become a full time quilter, making commission work for huge buildings and opera houses, it ain't likely to happen any time soon, so I need to be good with having to go to work because that is what makes all the other stuff possible.
Knitting and crochet will likely stay and will likely still be my go-to projects for portability. Unless I'm working on a full sized afghan, I can do it in the car, while I wait for the kid...you know, everywhere. And, most of the time it doesn't take more supplies than can fit in a lunch bag. Some quilting projects are that portable, but not the ones that require a machine. Not even a featherweight will fit in a zip top baggie.
But, tatting (which I don't really enjoy) and ebay-ing (can I use that as a verb?) and worrying about how much I'm not getting done need to drop to the wayside because they are diluting the sound of my voice.
Thanks to the clear words of my friend and fellow Texan, Pauline, I need to be okay with doing the priority stuff; work, parenting, housekeeping, budgeting. And, then enjoy the stuff I do for fun. Without feeling like the one is keeping me from doing the other. Think life in balance without too much focus on the serious or on the fun.
And, hopefully, if I can keep my priorities straight and avoid distraction, I can get back to finding and perfecting my voice.
Everybody have a great Tuesday. Lane