Archive for August, 2007


Lest you think I am so good at avoidance that I get nothing done, I thought I would write about two major checkmarks.

Today I finished my quilt for the Journal Quilt Project to hang in Houston this fall.  It’s against the rules to post images of the quilts before the show, so, alas, no picture to show you.  I’m happy with it — and dreading the task of writing the artist’s statement.  That’s next.

Speaking of writing, I received confirmation today that I will have an article in the January/February issue of Quilter’s Home Magazine.  I’ve written about overcoming quilter’s block and I included scads of tips to jumpstart your creativity.  If you read it, I’d love to know what you think.

This week, I’m working on an article for a brand new magazine called Machine Quilting Unlimited.  I’ll tell you all about it next week when I turn in my piece for (dramatic pause) another checkmark.


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Too Much Soul to ControlI always look forward to the Houston show, but I’m really eager to go this year.  This quilt, Too Much Soul to Control, will hang in the IQA judged show at Houston this year.  Too Much Soul was commissioned by Linda Lee Kaye to celebrate the life of her husband, Michael.

Linda Lee brought me bags and bags of treasures to incorporate into this quilt.  We talked about Michael’s life, his loves, and his energy.  They loved film and so it seemed natural to fit the many faces of this charismatic man into the frames of a movie.  Each frame represents a different aspect of his life. 

All of the fabric, buttons, embellishments, and artifacts in this quilt came from Michael’s extensive closet except for the plain black fabric I used for the filmstrip.  The “sprocket holes” are painted on with irridescent black Shiva Paintstiks.

While I was working on this piece, I listened to the soundtrack of Michael’s memorial service.  Frank Sinatra, Bruce Springstein, the Neville Brothers; the tracks were as diverse as the man.  It was a joy to work on this quilt and it will be an honor to see it hang in Houston.

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Listen to the Muse

Do you ever find that you have way more on your list than you can fit into the time you have?  How do you manage your time and your workload?  I can’t promise any magical cures to being overworked or overbooked, but I can offer these words of wisdom: listen to the muse.  Whether you believe that your muse is your own inner voice or some outside influence that you channel, the muse is smarter than we think. 

Fiber Inspiration Yesterday, I tried to be creative and work on my Journal Quilt.  Yes, the deadline is looming bigger and bigger on the horizon.  I finally gave up because the words were bubbling to the surface for a magazine article that’s also due soon.  The Muse said, “Put away the fabric and go to the computer.”

Today, I could not get myself in front of the computer to save my life!  Okay, there was plenty of e-mail.  The Journal Quilt was calling (actually, it was the Muse) and I knew better than to ignore it.  Today’s writing wouldn’t have been very good if my mind was elsewhere.  The Journal Quilt, however, is quilted and bound and ready for embellishments.  Woo hoo!  I cannot show you the Journal Quilt (even in process; it’s against the rules) but I can show you all the pretty stuff I’ve been collecting for embellishments.  Think sky.  Think ocean.  And join me in hoping that the Muse will want to work on this again tomorrow.

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My studio is not a big space.  Storage is at a premium and I’m hesitant to give up any more wall space than I have to.  That said, I have the biggest design wall I can fit in the room and I still run out of design wall real estate.  Why is that? Design Wall

I think it all comes down to how I use my design wall.  Between projects, I fill the wall with UFOs, WIPs, inspirations, and ideas, but during a specific project, the wall is pretty much dedicated to the main event. 

I’ve discovered that I have a process during a big project like a commission. 

  • First, I clean my studio.  (See my previous post about productivity through avoidance.) 
  • Then I clear my design wall to make room, clearing those pesky threads with a lint roller.
  • Next I start filling the board with everything I have that relates to the new project. 

Right now, my design wall is covered by layers of luscious, hand-painted fabrics from Mickey Lawler; Burmese and dupioni silks in true water colors; hand-dyed fibers of all shapes and sizes; and all kinds of gems, beads, and pearls to reflect that blue/teal/purple/silver palette that is the ocean.  (The picture was taken before the project started.)

I have this interim collage thing going, but I need to make some decisions and start cutting.  I am temporarily paralyzed by the fear that I will make the wrong decisions and ruin the whole thing, but this will pass.  Tomorrow morning, I’ll pour myself a second cup of java and the Vision (with a capital V) will become clear. 

I don’t post pictures of commission work in process, but I’ll write about it throughout the next month and I’ll post pictures once it’s done.  Until then, I’ll use my design wall and embrace the process.

How do you use your design wall?

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Have we met?  (I’m extending my hand so that we can shake.) 

I’m the Queen of Avoidance.  On my more productive days, you may call me Princess Plans-A-Lot.  It’s a quarter till midnight and I’m finally sitting down to initiate my blog.  I’ve been planning to do it for weeks, but I’m just now starting.  I’ve considered and forgotten tons of pithy and insightful “first blog” posts, but now I’m left with “Hello.”

StudioDoes anyone else do this?  I can be quite productive when I’m avoiding something.  Here’s how it works.  I make a list of everything that needs to be done.  If I’ve already done something, I add it to the list so that I can cross it off.  Then I search for…no, not the highest priority; I search for the task that I would least hate to do.  Sometimes it’s laundry, dishes, cleaning the studio.  Right now, my studio’s in pretty good shape, thanks to avoidance.

Thank goodness I can sometimes escape the avoidance trap.  When the planets are aligned, the dog is calm, and all is right with my world,  I can sometimes sit down to that daunting, scary task that I’ve been most avoiding.  Today, I started a commission that I’ve been putting off.  It scares me a little.  I have the vision, but I really, really want to nail this one.  I’ve set the bar high and now I have to produce.  Once I have something to show, I will.

Oh, and I finally started my blog.  Now what we’ve met, I hope we see a lot of each other.  The Queen of Avoidance is a long name; you can call me Cyndi.

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