Crossroads or Crisis?

I often think about my art work in the “why” sense. Or I should say the “where is this all going?” sense.
Lately, many things have come up that have made me consider selling my art. Should I do it or not? In one case, the local farmer’s market invited me to join them, but I had no inventory to speak of to sell, and no tent, and no supplies, and in the end I think I made the right decision. I often get asked if I make my small weekly quilts to sell. Well, no. They are too personal to sell. I then think about patterns. “Oh, I’ll make patterns and sell them til the cows come home” and think about funding my hobby with the income. Right. Somehow, the art is still to great an emotional investment to part with. I haven’t found the price I would be willing to be paid to part with it (unless I was making it for a gift). So no selling for me.

I then thought at the beginning of this year that maybe I was meant to enter contests, and make art to show in that arena. I can’t seem to find the time to work on the project in enough time. The deadline approaches (or passes) and I’m not ready, or the work is very not ready. This was tough, because I wanted to “get out there” and “be seen” and “make a name for myself”. But if I work full time, how can I meet the deadlines? I love my career, but want to be an “artist” too. After several attempts at entries into shows this year, without any real success at getting the ENTRY done, I’m going to put this off until I have a year with a little less travel and more free time. I’m not giving up, just delaying a bit.

So that brings me back to “Where is this whole thing headed?” Why do I make quilts? Why am I making this art? It’s not to give away, it’s not to sell or turn into patterns, it’s not for a contest. It’s for me. Why does being an artist need to be for one of those reasons? I fi said I did it because I like it, it would be half truthful. It feels like there is much more to it than that, but I can’t put my finger on what.

I’m 35 years old. This hobby of mine has an average age of about 55-ish, so I have 20 years to perfect this craft of mine and get to a point of being comfortable with this in my mind. I’m not the first or the last who will go through this, but it kind of sucks when it’s happening to you.

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No, I haven’t fallen off the planet…

I’d love to think you’re siting there wondering “Gee, where in the heck is Cheryl? She hasn’t posted on her blog in a while.” Ok, that’s what I hope you are doing.
Well, I got called into the home office suddenly, to work on the big project. (The points of data are not making a beautiful line.)
So, when I get back home, I’ll have a big update for you, including this and last week’s weekly quilt, and last month’s journal shrine quilt. I also have an art doll to show (I know! Shocker!) I will also have results from 2 online classes I am taking to further my quilt art.
So I will update on the weekend when I get home. I am planning to run a little contest soon too. So much fun to be had!

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International Quilt Festival Chicago- Day 4

Well, it’s over.
I got up this morning to SNOW. Isn’t it supposed to be Spring?? Ugh. Off I drive to the show.
I get there a bit early, so I look to drop my stuff off in class to find that the teacher needs a “Teacher’s Pet”. Since I am first to come to the class, I get to be the one to do it if I want. Sure, why not? I am a sucker for volunteer jobs. This class is taught by Barb Broshous and we are making long stem 3-D roses. They are gorgeous on a quilt. She mainly does dimensional flowers so this is right up my alley. I thought this was a hand sewing class, but to my surprise, there are very expensive Huskvarna Viking machines in the room. The class was fun, and small, only 10 of us, which was a nice change of pace. I had a good time, and Barb is a kind and patient teacher.
I could barely bring myself to go to the show floor again, I was so tired. But I made it through the last of the journal quilts.
I was stopped by Pokey Bolton for a few words, as she folded her beutiful fabrics she just bought. (Yes, she stopped me to say hello. OMG!PONIES!!1!) I also stopped by to say hi to Frieda Anderson, who took my photo and said she would put it on her blog, as I am an avid reader of hers. We took Judy Perez’s class together a while back, so it was good to see her again. Her work is so nice, and her dyed fabrics are wonderfully bright. I also met a wonderful fiber collage artist named Lynn Krawczyk, who was so nice, and showed me some of her wool purchases, into which she plans to make evil plushies, once she saw my Uglidoll on my bag. She was very cool, and her work is so cool in person.
I met up with two of my “Fiber Divas” guild members, and shopped at a few booths with them. But after stumbling around the last few places, I decided it was time to go.
I’d like to invite anyone I met along the way to comment or email me to stay in touch!!

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International Quilt Festival Chicago -Day 3

This morning came bright and early and I was off to the show before you know it. Traffic to the show was much lighter, though it has not stopped raining. I get there and parkin a good spot in the garage. It’s 8:20 am.

I head to the Education Office because I am the “Teacher’s Pet” for this morning’s class on foiling on fabric. Tricia, our instructor, doesn’t like the term “teacher’s pet” so I was the classrom “cat”. Despite the upsetting events at the end of the class (see previous post for the long winded story), I did enjoy the class very much, and Tricia was wonderful and I enjoyed her presence very much. She is a reverend and a spiritual healer, and I think her energy in this area helped me get over what happened and be able to get on with my day. I helped clean up and returned my materials to the education office and recieved my pin for a job well done.
As I walked to the show, I was in shock over how many people seemed to be pouring in. It was amazing. But, there is also a fashion accessory show going on int he same hall as the quilt show, so many of these folks were there for that. I can only imagine what parking was like after 10 am when both shows opened…
Anyway, once I was in, it was not as bad as I had thought. The quilt area was populated about like so:

So, I was able to the entire quilt area in about 2 hours, except for the small journal quilts, which I am saving for tomorrow. I read a lot of the current 2007 journal quilt artist’s statements, so that took the longest. While there are amazing works in the show, it seemed like there are fewer than before, and I mean about the larger works, the bed sized quilts, as it were. Could be my perception though.
I ran into a fellow guild member in the bathroom, of all places.

I ate some lunch and walked to floor a bit more too. The floor was not as jam packed as I expected, so either a lot of people were eating lunch, or the busses of tour groups had left. It mainly looked like this:

I ran into Bonnie McCaffery again. I met Beryl Taylor at the Quilting Arts booth. At this point, I resume my aisle walking and complete the circuit. I shop again at a few booths that I wanted to go back to, but for the most part, my shopping excusion is done. In a separate post, I will do Show and Tell of my shopping treasures. The floor was still frustratingly slow paced, especially when the folks in front of you stop abruptly because something caught their eye. I found a seat and people watched for quite a while, but in the end decided to cut out before the floor closed in order to do some errands at home. While I sat there, I came up with new show floor rules:
1. Like driving, walk on the right side of the aisle, and let the people on the left flow in the other direction. You slow everyone down by “swimming upstream”.
2. If you see something in a booth that catches your eye, be courteous to the people behind you and step into that booth and out of the flow of traffic.
3. This should be a given, but do not take pictures of the quilts at the booths. Ugh.
4. While some bumping is inevitable, there’s no reson to be intentional.
5. Say “excuse me” if you want to get past someone, and acknowlege someone else’s plea to be excused in some way that lets them know you heard them.
So those are my rules. There could be so many others, but this would help immensely.
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International Quilt Festival Chicago -Day 2

Driving in to the show this morning was tough, because last night seemed so very very late.

My first class of the day was about making Quilting a business, which I took as an exploration, possibly to sell my quilts eventually, but aslo to explore some ideas on reaching quilters on the internet, and some web tools our industry is missing that I know of from the comic book industry (like show floor blogging and interviews… maybe next year). Morna Golletz was our teacher in this class and I learned a great deal.
Next, the show floor… again a glutton for punishment. However, the vendors area was PACKED. On Friday. And just at about noon! So about 10 steps into the show I meet up with new friends from my Riverwalk Guild. We decide to eat lunch. Yum!
Fueled for the afternoon, I spend a good bit of time in the vendors area again as best as I can manage, often getting bumped and pushed and elbowed. While I love the vendors area, I also hate it. Tomorrow will be a good example of why, and I will take photos.
I stopped at the Quilting Arts booth area to see the artists in “residence” doing on floor demos of various techniques. I spoke again with Judy Coates Perez, whos is so very nice, and chatted a bit about her painted works. I also spoke with Kelli Perkins, who was so kind to explain her work and was so inspiring also. I also chatted with Pokey Bolton again about the embellishing machine she was demo-ing. And I saw a paint on fabric technique by Julaine Lofquist-Birch which used dried on shaving cream.
I shopped the next couple of hours and No, I still haven’t walked the whole vendor area yet. I started at lane 900, and ended at lane 1400. Tomorrow and Sunday I will do the rest. Tomorrow will be mostly quilts, after my show. At this point, I am being bumped so often, I cannot stand it any more. I buy those thirsty towels on an impulse. I walk past Alex Anderson, whose line has died down. I briefly consider going back to tell her how much I love her podcasts.
Now, I scheduled classes back in January as soon as the classes opened. I did not know that the Friday night class I took would interfere with the Tiara Parade and QuiltArt Reception. Oh noes! Class starts at 6pm, reception at 5pm.
So I decide to go to the reception for an hour. I even made a tiara. In the food line, I finally MEET Bonnie McCaffery, tell her how I missed her yesterday, and she is a lovely person. I also meet Virginia Spiegel! She is also lovely. I met lots of QuiltArt list “readers” and “contributors” and I am so sorry if I can’t remember all of your names right now. But the one I enjoy immensely is speaking with Karey Bresenhan. I told her how much fun I was having at the show and thanked her so very much for holding the reception. I saw so many other quilters I would have loved to say hello to. Sadly, before the tiara parade, I had to leave for my class, as I did not want to upset my teacher by barging in late. So I left, but before I did, I had one quick photo taken of me as proof.
My class was by Tricia Spitzmueller on Tyvek manipulation. This was a fun class, and it was again very good to sit down. Here are my class projects!
Thus the long rainy drive back home and looking forward to another class and more show on Day 3!!
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