Monday, September 17, 2012


Oh my. Oh well. I have a lot to say, but hardly know where to begin.

I will warn you that I am in a very inwardly contemplative mood. Thinking very self-absorbed thoughts, probably not pretty, about the artwork that I have been doing. It has not been very satisfying lately. I am tired of myself and what I have been doing and been in severe need of a whack alongside my head. (Figurative, not literal. Don't touch my head!) The nasturtiums were probably the final straw. I know a lot of you said you liked them and I appreciate that. It wasn't so much the final product that got to me (though it does strike me as a bloated and desperate piece), as it was the experience. My heart wasn't in it. I finally (finally!) realized that I have gotten onto a detour somewhere and bogged down in technique and materials and curlicues and themes! Oh, the themes. Everything I have done for months has been for some show with a theme. I think I said more than a year ago that I wasn't going to do that anymore. Then I got right back on that theme horse and there I have been.

I have made some work, using the show theme that I loved doing—that "Fire" piece for example. That was really fun. One of my favorite ever pieces was this Douglas fir cone. There is a clean, simplicity in this that is really where my heart lies. It was also made to a theme, but the theme hardly mattered. This was something I wanted to do.

So I am making an effort to step back and reconsider some things and shake myself up. I started by taking a class from Elizabeth Barton last week. Our guild brought her to Portland for a two-day workshop and it seemed the perfect opportunity to experience a new point of view. I have long loved her work. (Look at the quilts on her web site. They really speak to me.) Her blog is one of my very favorites. Her class was called "Working in a Series" and she has inspired me to begin a series about architecture in Latin America. Her class was not about making quilts exactly like hers, it was an approach to planning and preparing and the discipline she believes is needed for work to be good. My wish is to work looser and with simpler forms and I discussed that with her.

I came away from the class with sketches and value studies and an idea. It is interesting that I started this year talking about some of the same things I am talking about here and I did not follow through. "Intention" was my word, but I did not grab hold of that intention. Perhaps now I can. I have made a start.


  1. It takes time. Time to know a change needs to be made. Time to start working toward the change. Unfortunately life seems to be a bit like a bus, when you have decided you are going the wrong direction, you have to wait until the next stop before you can get off. Okay, stupid metaphor, but you get the drift....stay off buses.

  2. Terry, I have been thinking about similar things - being true to yourself and your own vision. It is so easy to get sidetracked by what comes up or into our minds that is good and forget where we meant to go. I have done that twice lately and intend to honor my vision from now on. Intention. A good word. I will make it mine for the remainder of this year.

  3. Terry, I wish you luck on your attempt to work more loosely and with simpler forms after your workshop with Elizabeth Barton. The crispness and realistic aspect of your work is what I admire about your art, and I have enjoyed contrasting my work with yours. Example, your four elements were unique and surprisingly different from mine. This is not to imply that either of us was more right than the other--just interestingly different! Mine are pictured on my website:

  4. It is hard to move off the path we know so well and walk on the unknown path.

    Sometimes we have to keep doing the same old thing in order to "get it out of our system", like flushing the drains. Now you are prepared to start over. Something fresh.

    I have been dealing with these same feeling for quite some time. Wanting to get "struck by lightning" and find what I am wanting. I think I will have to do as you have done--and WORK my my out of this.

  5. Anonymous5:49 AM

    I am excited to see what you create next!!!! Enjoy yourself.

  6. Whoa! I love those colors! I will be watching!

  7. I think you are finding a new path to head down and hopefully that will keep you inspired. I like the simpler and cleaner forms and lines as well. Sometimes less is more.

    Sounds like a great workshop. Sometime I should drive to Portland and take a workshop. We just don't get those opportunities here.

  8. Her quilts speak to me too, and I really enjoyed the Quilt U class I took from her. Really gave me some things to think about and use. Glad you figured out you were stuck. Sometimes things feel uncomfortable and you just don't know WHY! Then it hits you (hopefully not like jeri's bus) and suddenly you know what to do next. Hopefully the next steps will feel 'right'.

  9. Seems like you've opened yourself up for change and Elizabeth provided some tools. I hope you can work it all out.