Tag Archives: personal

My Creative Manifesto

Is it like this for other avocations? Do hobbyists in other arenas continually question what they do, why they do it, where their mojo will come from? Or are quilters unique in this way?

I’ve written about it. Why do I quilt? What do I get out of it? Is it enough? What should I do when it is not enough? How do I define myself?

Others write about it, too. They write about being in a slump, a funk, at a cross-roads. They wonder where inspiration will come from, how they can get their mojo back. Examining who they are as crafters and why they quilt may lead them back to more joy and excitement.

Sarah at Thrift Store Crafter wrote about how she defines herself. She says

I have read some things on blogs lately that have inspired me to start drafting a personal crafting/quilting manifesto just to clarify my own thoughts on what kind of artist I want to be. This is a work in progress and the items are in no particular order.

Her list includes things like

  • I don’t have to finish it.
  • I will share my knowledge.
  • I will be open to learning from others and grateful for what they share.
  • I will consider my creations art.
  • I will credit those who inspired me. (Hello? It’s called ethics!)

I love the idea of the list (I love lists!) because when we consider our self-image as quilters, when we see who we are today and who we want to become, we also consider where our satisfaction stems from. Is it from design, execution, giving, teaching? If you test patterns for others and don’t find it nurturing, is there a reason to do it again? If your love is in sharing your knowledge, don’t you need to find more ways to do that?

I think self-definition helps provide the inspiration and motivation to continue growing in our craft.

With no further ado, and totally copying from Sarah’s format, here are some thoughts on who I am as a quilter, and “what kind of artist I want to be.”

  • I am creative, which means I create.
  • Transforming things creatively is part of transforming me.
  • Writing is part of my creative expression.
  • I include me in all of my work.
  • I try new things, even if it scares me.
  • I practice skills and don’t wait for the skills fairy to wave her magic wand.
  • I learn from frustration.
  • I take advantage of opportunities to grow.
  • I don’t have to do everything or like everything I do.
  • I help, teach, encourage, and try to inspire others.
  • I credit others for their work and words.
  • I value others’ work, even if I don’t like it.
  • I respect the history of quilting by learning more about it.
  • I respect the present and future of quilting by being part of it.
  • I am open to new ways of doing familiar things.
  • I say “thank you.”
  • Materials are to use, not hoard.
  • I share.

Some of these are aspirational, but saying them as statements of what I AM helps reinforce that this is the person I want to be, and can be.

Who are you? What is important to you as a quilter? What would be on your manifesto?

I Am a Quilt Designer

Early Thursday Jim and I headed for Oklahoma to see our son. In May we moved him to Vance Air Force Base, where Son is now immersed in pilot training. This week, assuming all goes well, he begins to fly the T-6 trainer planes, one of three types of trainers they have at Vance. And next September he’ll graduate from “UPT,” undergraduate pilot training, and head to another base for extended training.

I don’t usually talk much about personal or family matters here, but keep it on the topic of quilting. The blog Jim and I run called “Our View from Iowa” has a broad range of material, including a few essays that are very personal.

But I wanted to mention our trip for a couple of reasons. First, while gone for four days, I made no physical progress on either quilts or blog posts, though I spent a lot of time thinking about both. Second, at a moment while gone, I experienced a big shift in how I see myself.

I stopped in a quilt shop in Stillwater for a few minutes. It isn’t a big shop, but there was an interesting selection of fabrics, different than many things near my home in Iowa. My choices for purchase included two brights and one more muted.

Often shop employees ask, “What are you working on?” Well, right now I’m working on medallion quilts, samples for the Medallion Sew-Along. In truth, however, my focus is on designs rather than quilts. Process, not product…

And the answer I framed began like this: I am a quilt designer

The thought shook me a little. I have always designed my own quilts, from the very first one I made. But never before did I call myself a quilt designer. Never before have I named myself with that title. Yet, it fits.

I am a quilt designer.