Supporting Intentions


"Choices" one of my first quilts

Last week Jon and I were in a gallery in Vermont and the owner told us about Frances Holliday Alford a well known quilter whose studio was nearby.   He said ” Just knock and walk into her studio she loves to meet new people.”  We found the studio and and when no one answered our knock Jon stuck his head in the door and yelled,”hello”.  A friendly voice answered telling us to come in and look around.  Frances  was upstairs in her studio.   Downstairs there was an impressive collection of art quilts.  Frances gave us a tour, naming quilters I had never heard of.

Upstairs in the studio two  women were working with Frances on a collaborative quilt for a competition.  They were all so friendly, telling me about the work they were doing, asking me about my work and looking at my website.  They even invited me to join their Tuesday workshops.

I listened to them talk about the hand dyed fabrics and quilting techniques.  How different competitions required the quilting stitches to  be so many inches apart and the batting a certain thickness.  They mentioned how a collaborative quilt should look like it was made by one person.

As I listened I came to realize that not only was this a  world I had never entered, but  in it, I wasn’t even technically a quilter.  I tack my quilts, I don’t stitch them.  We exchanged emails and I left thinking that maybe I’d join one of their Tuesday workshops.

As we made our way back to the car,  I started to doubt myself and my work.  Perhaps I should be making quilts the way they were.  Maybe I should be dying my own fabrics (like they teach in many of the quilting books and magazines)  or learning the latest techniques.  I had never entered a contest.  That old feeling of being left out, of not belonging started to creep in.  That’s when I knew my mind was going to a dark place.  Frances and her friends did everything possible to make me feel welcome in their group,  including inviting me to join them.  So this feeling was not coming from them, but from somewhere inside of me.

I acknowledged the old feeling for what it was, felt it, then let it go.

Our work is so  different.    We have different intentions, materials, priorities, and techniques.  I’m not anymore interesting in making their type of quilt than they are making my type of quilt.  I’m sure I could learn something working with them, but I could learn something in a drawing class too.   I think if I have a  goal or intention it’s important to do things which support it.  To choose those things carefully and not spread yourself to thin.

So I won’t be joining the workshop, I have quilts and potholders to make and Pig Barn Gallery shows to plan and animals to tend to and a loving relationship to enjoy and grow in.  That’s enough for right now.

18 thoughts on “Supporting Intentions

  1. All your art, Maria, is coming from YOU…..YOUR intentions, YOUR creativity, YOUR view of life, YOUR world. Appreciate and enjoy what others do, but don’t let their work diminish yours in any way. You are perfect in your space and time.

  2. Thank you for sharing that process!! There is a local spinning group, that I have been invited to and I have felt so guilty that I can’t attend (busy schedule with my family) and don’t really feel like I want to attend. I have often thought that my unwillingness is the wrong way to feel, but perhaps it simply isn’t the fit I need right now.

  3. Great that you can march to the beat of your own drum. And insightful that you know the depths of your personal well and can choose not to drink from it!

  4. What you say about that dark place is so true. I’m finally able to see when I am going to that place where I compare myself to others. Though not always easy, I honor that voice and then look at my progress on my goals and try to stay on my path. I now find that I am sometimes judged by others and given “advice” as to what I should do. I have learned to say “thank-you” and let it go if it does not fit into my goals.

    Thank you for your honest words. You have a wonderful way of reaching out to people.

  5. I know that feeling of being left out.Of not fitting in. Like a square peg in a round hole. From childhood into my life now. My brilliant therapist says “it’s only a feeling.” So I can acknowledge it,feel it and let it go. Guess it’ll be a life long process. 🙂

  6. I hate that feeling that “piecing” gives me, it’s too much work to be so exact, getting the points and corners just so. I can see how that would cause you to not feel good about your work. I try to keep my quilting simple. I think I liked doing crazy quilts because nothing matched, no corners, nothing. Made those for my brother’s children when they were younger. I made up my own crazy quilt process. Didn’t attend any classes, or read anything about it. Just did it. Nephew seemed to like it.

    I like your quilts Maria. They are paintings with fabric.

  7. Not only trusting ourselves but honouring our creativity and ideas. This has always been hard for me because I see such talented, skilled artists and artisans everywhere. All the amazing ideas and level of skill and work can be inhibiting if you let it. I admire you, Maria, for being your own person amidst differing ideas and levels of talent.

    1. I just saw a video of 2 choirs in Germany. One for people who can sing and one for people who can’t. I think as long as we’re being our authentic selves, no matter what we do or how well, it will be beautiful.

  8. I love that your blog, quilts, streaming pieces, etc. inspire others to create. Who knows how many?? I hope you enjoy your work and when it is not so rewarding, put it down and dream of something else to do for awhile.

  9. Maria, non artist speaking here, I think your work is beautiful and unique and I think you are beautiful inside and out! I am so impressed with the process you went through to reaffirm yourself and I thank you for sharing.

  10. Dear Maria,

    Please don’t fall into the pit of being like everybody else just to fit in. At first when I saw your quilts and potholders on your Blog my traditional “quilt-eyes” got un-focused (don’t know what word in English can describe the feeling) as if I couldn’t adjust to the pictures because they were so different from traditional quilts but after a while I started to feel the freedom to be able to do a quilt from your heart and not from pattern (that is how i felt maybe you have a lot of patterns before you start to create the quilts) And so you liberated my pile of fabric that has been laying in a closet for 15 years after a quilting-class where I patiently made the “log cabin” piece by piece and I’m afraid it is not finished after 15 years. Need the back and the borders and I’ve been dragging it out because I need to find the right color, or textile and on and on. You are unique and precious and one of the kind and please don’t feel left out (I do understand the feeling though) because you have a God-given talent to see what I and other “fenced in” people also need to see but haven’t the ability on our own. I’m glad I stumbled over your husband’s and your Blog. It gives a daily pleasure in my otherwise ordinary life.

    1. Thank you Ida, It makes me so happy to know that my work can be an inspiration. I do create from the heart as you said, it’s one of the things I love about this type of art, really any one who wants to can do it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Full Moon Fiber Art