Thursday, 6 October 2011
"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary."
There have been moments in my life that have a profound effect on my life.
When I was little, my dad would encourage me to draw and to look at art. He told me that I could do anything I wanted to. The only failure would be to not try.
My high school friend JS told me that I had great vision and creative talent.
During my university years, I worked at the head office of Mutual of Omaha for the summer. At the end of my time there, a company newsletter mysteriously dropped on my desk with a quote that was highlighted. The message said, creative people should follow their instincts and persevere, not be afraid of those instincts or to let others put them down because they're not popular.
When I first started in the quilt industry, it was a tough sell because my work was really bright in a sea of primitives and country colors. There's room for all but timing is everything. The pattern buyers at Checker Distributors were amazing. They believed in me and told me to hang on.
The editors at American Patchwork & Quilting have been awesome to work with over the years. Whenever I propose something, all they say is "make things bright and lively, you know, your usual style."
My friend, Mark Lipinski, and I share dreams of how some things should be and our conversations are wonderfully energetic and lively. Whenever I've had to work with him, he's given me the freedom to do what I've wanted.
I have been fortunate that these people have crossed my path along my journey.
I've admired Steve Jobs and his vision since the beginning. I'm not saying that I am the same as Steve Jobs but when it comes down to what he lives for, I have lived with the same passion for most of my life. There have been moments where life did get in the way but his words have resonated with me ever so deeply. There have been times when I've had a hard time explaining why I would rather do what I do than to go back and work in the pharmaceutical industry.
My designing life has been at a cross roads where I have made some decisions on direction. It's not a bad thing. My kids are getting older and more independent. Some of their quirks and issues have worked themselves out. Technology has rapidly evolved. Digital patterns are now much more popular than ever. Business is so different from when I started. I don't think that the quilting industry has grown in leaps and bounds creatively for a while but I think that things are starting to change.
Change is good. So is living with an inexplicable, gut instinct and a vision.
Thank you, Steve Jobs, for reinforcing all that.
Friday, 12 August 2011
When I am working a project for business, I often find myself engaging in a mindless yet equally inspiring side project. A simple granny square project allows my mind to process issues that I may have in a project yet accomplish something beautiful along the way. For those of you who have heard me describe my design process, you know that I do all of the designing in my brain. I literally can't get it down on paper until I have a general idea in my brain of what's going on in the book or design. I can then work out a lot of my design issues in my mind while I crochet two or three double crochet stitches.
Does having a side project help you accomplish something bigger?
Wednesday, 3 August 2011
One of the things that I've been successful at is just that - making my own rules. That's what makes me tick. Is it always successful? Absolutely not! However, it gives me satisfaction and pride in what I do.
When I first started in the quilting industry, it was a bit of a struggle. Muddy, primitive and country were all the rage. There's nothing wrong with that but look how times have changed! I stuck with it and I had a few wonderful supporters in the industry who made all of the difference.
I meet a lot of quilters who are always afraid that someone is going to say something critical about his/her work. Unless you are harming someone else, does it really matter? No! Then there's the type who has some difficulty choosing fabrics or who has to have that exact fabric as in a sample. As a designer, I try to make my designs unique yet universal enough so that the consumer can change up the colors and add his/her own spin to the design. Go ahead. Add your own flair to a project.
It's fun and it's liberating to make your own rules.
Wednesday, 27 July 2011
No matter what you do, whether it's scrapbooking, quilting, making jewelry, photography, or any other endeaver, branding is still important even if you aren't a large corporation like the Coco-Cola Company. Perhaps your brand isn't as fixed or firm as theirs but it all focuses you and your presentation. With that said, it all doesn't mean that you can't ever change. Change is good.
There are endless ways that you can brand yourself. Ask yourself what sets you apart from others? In the case of quilting, is it your color sense, your piecing, your quilting or your applique? Is your look bold and dramatic or tea-dyed and romantic? It doesn't matter if you're out to market yourself for a job or step out as an owner of a designer firm, a little focus is a great thing. You'll have a story and a sense of confidence that is relatable and connectable.
Which brands come quickly to your mind?
Monday, 25 July 2011
[Shibuya Station, Tokyo, credit: wallpaper.com]
Two artists that I admire persevered in their craft and they did it with passion. Tadao Ando is a self-taught architect from Japan. He started out as a truck driver and then a boxer. Amazingly he never received formal architectural training. Much of his buildings are comprised of cast-in-place concrete but his use of space and light are extraordinary.
[Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art, credit: tadaoando.org]
[Church of Light, Osaka, Japan]
The late Itchiku Kubota's devotion was amazing. Little did I know that an exhibit at the Smithsonian would affect me so much. I walked into, Symphony of Light, and was mesmerized by the kimonos of Itchiku Kubota. I cried because his perseverance touched me deeply.
[Itchicku Kubota Art Museum]
Both of these men had something in common that I could relate to in my pursuit of creativity. Passion. My passion drives me and it shapes the perspective from which I create. It doesn't matter what's right and wrong. All that matters is that it is my vision and my creation. What drives you and your art?
Friday, 22 July 2011
One of my parents' properties was featured in a book called "Old Ontario Houses" a few years ago. The first thing that struck me as interesting was the beauty of the workmanship. The lofty gables and the beautiful fascade of each of the buildings illustrated the beautiful workmanship of that era.
The quality of work that I do is the same but the way I work is very different from when I first started quilting. Although I love hand applique, it is now a luxury. Getting samples finished and out the door is the main goal. Machine applique and quilting rule the process. I have committed some time to doing more hand applique this year. I believe that it will bring me a different sort of inspiration and calm in an otherwise crazy, fast life! Are you looking to do more hand applique [or other forms of craft] or are you looking to do more machine work so that you can get more things finished?
Thursday, 21 July 2011
The beauty of quilting or any other craft is that you can try out a different look each time and not feel invested in it. I can grab a piece of fabric and distress it, paint it or do whatever I want with it. Liberating! Lately, I've let my kids have a piece so that they can draw monsters on it. Then i sew around it and leave an opening for stuffing. Instant softie and they made it themselves.