Sunday, October 02, 2011

Going to Ground

The internet is a mixed blessing. I often wonder what my life would have been like if it had come along earlier. The internet—it works really well for me! I joined the cyber world in 1993 when I got an email account and discovered the online quilting world. I have established, for myself, a whole community of quilters and fiber artists that have meant the world to me. And it is a blessing that I can't even fathom sometimes.

And still, there are times when it gets too noisy for me and I have to pull back. It's not you, internet, it's me. I posted something on the QuiltArt list a week or so ago about how I missed some of the great interactions that seemed to happen in the early days of the list and how lately it seemed to be more about self-promotion and less about art talk and sharing of ideas. And it's true I think. Sometimes the Me, Me, Me of the messages and  competitive nature of a lot of the posts gets me down and I just want to back away for awhile, hide out and do my own work. I don't need to know what I should be doing. I just need to do what I do.

Anyway, just as I was feeling all this I got an email from someone who had read my post and wanted to take it on. She disagreed. About everything I said. And didn't I think this and didn't I think that?  And weren't there different paths to enlightenment (yes, she really said that) and so wasn't her opinion as good as mine and couldn't we all be artists in our own way and who needed an education or any discipline when we could just all be artists in whatever way works for us. And really, my post she was reacting to was just about missing the really good discussions we used to have and my observation that no one wanted to talk about how to improve and grow as an artist, or discuss someone else's art besides our own, seemingly not interested in serious art talk in favor of promoting one's new video or what show they were accepted for. Her email made me tired. And a little sad. I did my best to respond, assuring her that I wasn't picking on her, I was just expressing a viewpoint. And she responded again, with more questions and challenges, apparently in the belief that we now have a dialog going. Sigh.

So I retreat. I painted cabinets in the new studio. I actually started a new small piece in the old, chaotic and messy studio. But it felt good to fiddle with the fabric and work on this Steller's Jay.

So, if you don't see me on the internet, know I am in need of a little break, keeping my opinions to myself, and I am busy in the real world for a bit.


  1. I'm with you on that...

  2. I often retreat, either by continuing to read but not contribute, or by not reading at all. It helps me regain my perspective. I left that particular group several years ago because it was too strident and competitive for my liking. Haven't missed it at all.

  3. I often hide. It isn't just the internet. Socially, people seem to be so interested in getting everyone to think the "right" way, which of course, is their way. It is exhausting sometimes to be in a conversation. Your Jay is wonderful. I like how you got the subtle shadings and the personality of the bird. They are such pretty and self assured birds. Wishing you a quiet & peaceful week.

  4. I'll miss your voice. AND your opinions! Love, Del

  5. I stopped the QA list earlier this year. Recently there was a glitch and I began to receive QA posts again, for about three days, I think.

    I don't miss it. Now I just read blogs. Yours is one of my favorites of a handful. I hope your disappearance from the web will not include your touching posts.

    I love your new studio. And I love how your husband has the greenhouse now. It is like a grownup play house for both of you.

  6. I understaand.
    for me it is at the college where I work. I am enjoying the students and the teaching part. but now my Department head is job sharing with another lady, who seems to find something or other to nag about every week.

    It would be nice if she ever rang and said "thanks. Cuts have made it so you have to teach 5 different levels of the course in one class, but thanks for trying."

    Instead, I feel like I want to hide away and not answer the phone or put on the computer incase she is lurking there to bring up something else she thinks I ought to do/or should have done differently.

    But, anyway, you didn't need my problems on your shoulder either! Please don't stop your encouraging posts. you speak with wisdom, and plenty of us appreciate your moments of sense that come through in the list.
    Sandy in the UK

  7. Hope you come out of your playhouse occasionally to blog again.

  8. Though I don't say hello too much, I do read and would miss your postings.

    I have become pretty selective in what I read. I want to read things that make me feel good and not bad. So, I look for good general discussions about art and making art and how to learn. I stay away from things that are too "bottom line" like you must do this, that, and the other thing in order to be an "artist." Lastly, this sort of stuff isn't confined to the quilting world. I am a painter and it crops up there too. Seems like everyone has an agenda and is shouting about it. Lots of shouting.

    Take heart-you have that beautiful new studio to go to and hole up in for awhile:)

  9. You expressed my feelings exactly. Which is why I lurk.

  10. The saddest thing about the internet is the keyboard bravery. People will say things that they would be a bit more thoughtful about were they face to face with you. (But then ... there is the occasional bitch who will say anything to anyone, lol !!) I DO enjoy your blog and your work and will see you when you DO post.

    Gale, who also lurks on QA

  11. Anonymous5:42 AM

    I'll miss you while you "regroup". Just know I think you write a terrific blog!

  12. I love your blog and your honesty about your work and thoughts! Thanks for sharing with us... Terry you are truly an inspiration...

  13. Sharon L7:28 AM

    Unfortunately, yes, the interaction of the list is gone, and I agree that it is all about "Me." I stopped receiving the posts about a year ago and just check in every couple of months. Sad. I don't miss it.

  14. I stopped the QA list about a year ago for that very reason, and haven't missed it for a day. I keep up with the artists I admire through their artowrk on blogs and their interaction on the SAQA list (which also gets mired at times). The important thing is to keep the connections, block out the static of nastiness, and keep your eyes on the prize of your own evolution as an artist.

  15. Please keep posting on your blog, I get so much inspiration from what you do.

  16. Keyboard Bravery! Ah, yes. Saying things we would never say in person. That's why I use the Delete button so frequently, but not often enough to stay out of trouble.

    The psychology of the Tea Party seems to be infecting all aspects of life these days. People wanting to corral and correct everyone who has a different opinion. My boss even accused me of creating economic woe by voting for "your President". I asked how he "knew" he was "my " President? And how on earth does that affect the sale of shrubs???

    Now we seem to have people in the art community with opinions are the correct way to blog about art and creativity. I never found the QALIst comfortable.

    I do find your posts very enjoyable. And you put up with my moments of "underuse" of the delete button. The jay is lovely. The new studio is lovely. And as a gardener, I would like Ray to show us around the greenhouse when he has it going.

  17. (((((sigh))))) I basically lurk on QA now. Even when the art discussions start up, the "I know more than you know" aggravates me. I can happily delete and filter what I want to read and stay out of the fray. I know you will continue to blog. You have so much goodness to share.

  18. Jean S.9:11 AM

    Terry, you've inspired me with your work and your points of view. I hope you won't back away from your blog. You are one of the highlights of my day and I always enjoy what you have to say. We can only be who we are and if someone else doesn't like or understand that, it's their problem. Please don't hide for too long.

  19. I enjoyed your thoughts posted here, Terri. Thank you! As the country song lyrics go..."you got to know when to hold em, when to fold em... Got to know when to walk away! Retreat is good. Appreciate your wisdom, it reflects that which I will hope will return to others.

  20. Anonymous9:47 AM

    Boy, I can relate to all you say, Terry, and feel the same need to hide out and have down time. That is when I turn on some favorite music and get out my paper and glue and put my head down and do what I need to do until I can face the noise again. Breathe in peace, breathe out stress. Repeat. Hug a grandchild. Your Stellar is wonderful.

  21. I think some of the reaction to your post has to do with how we read e-mail. Anything at all critical is read as though it is spelled out in CAPITAL LETTERS! There's no tone of voice or the subtle emphases on words that we give in speaking. From years dealing with a discussion list at my place of work, I have concluded that substantive discussions with differences of perspective are not a good use of a list with a lot of people reading. Maybe too bad, but it's just something about how it works.

  22. Hope you'll be back again soon, as I always look forward to reading your blog, but if I had a beautiful studio like yours, I don't think I would ever come out! (Well, maybe for food.)

  23. I hear you girl!!! I stopped being a member of the QA List a long time ago, and like many other comments here, I do not miss it one little bit. Your jay is lovely. We've been seeing so many blue jays here the past weeks. They love to steal my peanuts. I haven't seen the Stellar's Jay in person...not sure if it comes here.

  24. Leigh1:04 PM

    It's good to take a break now and again. I'm looking forward to your return already. :) I stopped getting the QA emails a long time ago. The deluge of emails was too much for me, and the content just didn't seem like it was worth the effort of sorting through it all. There were some challenges that were fun though.

    I really like your jay - and I recognize the green/yellow mottled fabric - were you in my stash? Just kidding.

    Enjoy your new studio and come back soon.


  25. Anonymous4:21 PM

    I look forward to your blog. It is a calm moment in a sometimes hectic day. I learn from you, but I always revel in your comments and find I look and look and look to see if maybe, just maybe you've posted two days in a row.

    If you need a break, so be it, But I will miss you.

  26. You're on my Google Reader list so when you blog I will see it. I've enjoyed watching the progress of your studio--congrats!
    Martha Ginn

  27. Another reasonable voice bites the dust! :o/ I have all the people I like to hear from on QA coded so that I can go to you immediately. I've noticed that I see the codes less and less and that makes me sad. I wade through the glut of email by reading just the first line of each--unless something grabs me. It seldom does anymore. Now one less reason to pay attention. sigh...

  28. Anonymous9:41 PM

    I am at least ten years older than you and YOU are the first on my blog list. Take no notice of the negative folk just do what you want to do,I will still follow you, you give me great pleasure. Sheila from Australia

  29. Sigh. I too have been beaten up by voices on the 'net lately--most recently by a young woman I watched grow up. (The moment she hit "send" she must have wished for a "retrieve" button, because an immediate lukewarm apology followed.) I apologized for any offense and lightly suggested she just hit "delete" next time. Of course there won't BE a next time but my advice stands: just hit the damn "delete" button, peeps.

    I've backed off saying much of anything for a couple of years, so it's all the more icky to be attacked for the few things I have ventured to say. I read only "pretty" blogs now--including yours (which isn't just a "pretty face" but actually offers something of substance, offered with dignity, humor, and thought). I'll keep watching for your return.

    xoxo, Jane Ann

  30. Haven't actually unsubscribed - dip into the list postings from time to time but lately there has been little of substance - I agree with you on all counts.

    And I love the mix of colours and fabrics in that jay - it is wonderful.

    And as the (probably schoolboy) Latin has it "non illegitimum carborundum" - don't let the b******* grind you down!

  31. I think computers and the internet are great tools. And I am glad I have "met" you through this medium. But I do think some people get carried away with it and maybe even become obsessed.

    I like reading blogs and looking at artwork on the computer, but after awhile I just want to do work. There are so many things to do.

    I also have trouble sitting at the computer for long periods of time. I have no problem reading a book all day or all night long for hours on end. I just can't do that with a computer.

  32. Terri
    I love reading your blog ...if I didn't I'd go some where else ....ignore people who find fault with everything.... You have given me inspiration to try new things .... I have loved watching the studio going up .....and am looking to the future to see what exciting things will be developed within those walls
    Take care
    From Blueys Beach Australia

  33. I rarely look at QuiltArt list anymore, although the unread emails keep piling up in a folder (over 20K now, haha).

    I'll look at SAQA list about once a week, just to see if there are any interesting discussions, but lately it's gone more the same way as QA.

    It's too bad that someone felt they should send you a email in reference to your post. That's a bit like harassment. If her comments were relevant, she should have have made them on the list.

    I'm sorry that happened to you! Congrats on your new studio!

  34. I SO get it. I spend more time on Google Reader browsing blogs than I do trying to have conversations through email anymore. It seems like pretty much everything I say gets misunderstood, or offends someone, or something, so I started believing I'm not as clear a communicator as I used to think.

    Then, I ran across this article that's really helped me understand interactions with others in Cyberspace: