Friday, May 29, 2009

Creative Block

My husband's brother and father are visitng us from Pittsburgh. All the guys love to fish. We have a place on a small lake in the Pocono Mountains. After spending memorial Day weekend there with the kids, my husband sent me home to do my creative thing. With a few deadlines looming, I was getting nervous (and cranky). With this gift of time, I feel the pressure to produce. Maybe I could finish 2 projects?

Alone in the house with only my puppy! I could sew and create to my heart's content. Cereal for lunch. Salad for dinner. Nothing could stop me now. I decide to work on a bedrunner for a book I am working on.

So why does everything take 2 and 3 times as long as you plan? Sometimes you're chugging along. Everything is falling into place and BAM!, you hit a wall. It's not working. You audition every fabric in your stash. You run to the fabric store (there's no time to order on-line) and buy way more 1/4 yd cuts than you need. One of them just has to work. Then I pace. Most of my pacing ends up in the kitchen and I grab a handful of pretzels or crackers or cookies. More pacing and more eating.

Eventually, it works. Sometimes this process takes a day and sometimes days. Sometimes, I look through my creative journals, looking at pictures I have drawn or cut out of magazines for inspiration. Art/craft forms other than quilts are sometimes my source. I liken my creative process to giving birth. It starts with great expectations and sometimes after a lot of brain crunching, ends with hopefully a beautiful finished project.

My quilts evolve. I do not plan the entire project before I start. I find that fabric does not behave the same way as colors on paper. I start with the "inside of the project". Once that is done, then I work on an inner border and then the outer border, and then my favorite part - embellishing. I just never know what is going to work for me.

So I am getting ready to quilt project #1 today. After quilting and binding, I plan on beading the short edges. With 3 days left before the boys return, can I finish another project?

Do you ever have issues? What do you do when you have a creative roadblock? Do you have any special rituals, or routines?


  1. true. but just getting in there is such a big step. my stumbling block!!! want to see the bedrunner up close & personal ck

  2. Hi Cheryl, I found your blog and website through Linda Matthews' quilt artist of the week emailing.

    My creative blocks usually happen on the rare occasions when I don't have a deadline ... for some reason, a looming due date really gets my adrenaline (and creativity) going. Sometimes I'll even set myself an arbitrary deadline just to goose myself onward, LOL!

    I love your work, especially your trees.


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