letting go to personal vision
For my birthday this year, I gifted myself an online class - A Quilt is Something Human. I vowed to keep it for myself and not bring it into my work. It’s only been a week and such beautiful things are already unfolding, I can’t help but bring some of it to this space, to share pieces of it with you.
Yesterday evening, I sewed together gathered strips of fabric - a pair of my grandmother’s pants and a tee-shirt she used to wear when she would visit Arizona, a pair of my pants, an old pink napkin. I wondered what would happen if I cut the fabric I had just sewn together into long, unwieldy strips just to sew them back together in a different way. Then I froze.
What if cutting it that way ruined it?
What if splicing the fabric made the pattern feel too busy and silly and amateur?
Full of fear instead of trust and wonder.
That’s no way to make art, I reminded myself. That’s not how you create your pots, it’s not how you live your life, and it’s not how you should make your quilts.
The beauty of my art, of the way I live my life, is in the improvisation - in trusting that what will be will be and it will be beautiful in its own winding way.
Along with a sturdy brown sewing machine, I inherited a quilting book from my grandmother - The Quilts of Gee’s Bend - purchased at the Milwaukee Art Museum many years ago, where she met some of the quilters themselves - their signatures are sprawled across the book’s pages. I’ve been burying myself in stories of the women this past week. Our lives and experiences are vastly different, but I align my own practice of improvisation with theirs. They call this practice of trusting their personal vision My Way. No one else can make things your way, how beautiful a realization. Pattern free, ‘no rules, no rulers’ as my teacher Mar puts it. Much like how I make my pots, each one meant to be different from the last, even if they are siblings. No one who buys my art has the same piece as another, it is theirs alone and it was made My Way, with my hands.
So, as I stood there frozen with my unfinished quilt top, staring at the sewn together strips of fabric, unsure of whether to cut them up again, I reminded myself that My Way can’t happen if I don’t let it. Without surrendering, trusting myself and my hands and the universe, my art would never be made. So I cut.
Wishing us all the softness and strength to go our own way.
After a bit of a hiatus, I’m sending out my January Mindful Pottery Subscription next week, focused on self-love and positive self talk. I have one more spot open for this month - you can join here, if you’d like to get in on this month’s mindful loving!
I’m working on bringing my desert collection to fruition before we head back to Brooklyn and this week is focused on firing my pieces. Wish me luck as I navigate a new firing system and wish my pieces luck as they face the heat.
My studio photo this week is not in the studio at all because I took a week off of work to recharge! So here is a photo of me holding my sweet five-month-old niece on the front porch where my family spent a week resting and playing in the California mountains. I’m grateful.
The personal peace toolkit is your own catalog of accessible mindfulness to fold into your life in 30 seconds, 5 minutes, and 10 minutes, bringing a little more thoughtful calm and creativity to your days.
This week is focused on a sunny moment, doing something small for yourself, and a beautiful obituary.
If you’re not already a paid subscriber, I hope you consider joining and building some peace and reflection into your life with me <3
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