Mar 24, 2012

Coloring Outside the Lines

I've never understood what seems to be the over-preoccupation with precision in the quilt world. It seems to me that the making of art has very little to do with staying inside the lines." Gwen Marston, quiltmaker

Here it is...getting closer to the end of March!!! In just one week, we had a 69º where we gardened in shirt sleeves, the next day we had a huge hail shower, then after that, we had an enormous wind gust that knocked over a 100" tree .....across our driveway, across our property and touching the fence of our side neighbors of our 2 1/2 acre property!

And then, with company coming to stay and visit with us (from Anchorage, Alaska..where they had 10' of snow and were trying to escape)........we had SNOW!

Snow on the second day of SPRING!!

Yep...nature is coloring outside of the lines....trying to get us to climb out of the boxes....and push out from the walls that we have all built around ourselves!

And if Mother Nature is trying so hard to crack the shell of life's patterning....

Why shouldn't we???

If you are like me, it's just too easy to get stuck in the day to day doings of life...and then of course, spend FAR too much time on the computer, or in the laundry room.....or trying to do a million things that someone ELSE wants me to do....and not enough time letting my inner child out......and just having fun with my inner artist!

Well, this week, I was lucky! Our visitors brought along a one year old. My precious little great-niece not only showed me that my house is a fun "free-for all" filled place (with the most interesting objects with infinite uses.....i.e. NOT child proofed) but that we could play with ordinary objects, use them, or decorate with many different kinds of ways...and still have a great deal of fun!

This beautiful little one year old spent half an hour just tossing my polished rocks and crystals from one container on my coffee table to another! And yes, I smartened up and substituted plastic kitchenware fun in a hurry but obviously not too big of a hurry ;) since I let her do it and observed her doing it. While I deliberately chose to 'let her do it', I was releasing constrictions in myself about what things are most important to me.... and how I act, and react accordingly.

I don't want to always be judging, and labeling, and restricting life ...I want to color outside of the lines! I want people to be more important than things, and relax (but not completely let go) of boundaries within my self.

It reminded me of my own need to break free from old patterns and everything I do, or make. To stop my inner judge from trying to tell me how to live, and allowing my one year old self to come out and enjoy life, as it is..and not how I think I need it to be!

Sometimes we forget that sewing and quilting are art forms...fabric and textile arts have been around for centuries... and the need to create runs deep within so many of us. But letting the creative juices flow, and being able to try new things, is always a bit of a challenge.

We tend to and want to, continue to do and make things in the same old ways .....and we substitute seeing the use of new patterns to try, or the latest fabric as being more creative. It is...and it isn't!

So, like a lot of others...especially those of us who seek to be 'liberated quilters' I am taking a look at what being liberated as a quilter means to me as an artist and not just someone who sews. And I am working on sensing the process of aligning my energies to get into the flow of creativity .....and just have fun with everything I do!

I promised myself to strive to be creative every day this year and encourage myself to try something new each day in that process! And I decided that once a week...I would 'make art.' Making art is like making just bring new creative energies into your life. So, each day, is an art day for me in that sense. Yesterday, we all made art from the ordinary, today I made art for a cause, tomorrow I may make art just for no reason.....except to make art and feel happy about that process.

No matter how tired we are, busy or stressed we feel, or how life's challenges or other people's expectations affect us....if we have just one thing to look forward to in a's all worthwhile!

Think outside of the box, today...and be sure to color outside of all of the lines that you set for yourself that keep you from having fun !


Celia said...

Wow, I should print this off and put it on my wall.

jenclair said...

What a great post, Michele! I loved the bit about watching and releasing constrictions before getting out the plastic bowls.

I love the Gwen Marston quote and all of the segues -- including the way Mother Nature is coloring outside of the lines.

Thank you for the inspiration!

Alaena Diamon said...

Beautiful writing, Michele! Loved it!!

Anonymous said...

Marvelous blog hon, yup babies and infact all children (even the 39 year old childlike partner of mine)really do have many lessons to teach us 'conformists'!!!

I personally see me as a conformist none conformist... some rules are meant to be followed others are just guidelines to be interpretted by the reader.... So interpret this, Two pairs of jeans, hacked up and created one bag... what would you imagine this bag to look like?

I show mine on my blog.... its not what you'd do, but they will never follow a rule 'cause jeans are trousers - not bags!

art work in the form of creation and 'upcycleing'

Thanks Michele, life is a learning curve, as long as we keep in touch with our inner child, we willnever lose sight of our ability to smile x

Janey x

Unknown said...

This was a good read! Gets one thinking, that's good. Speaking for myself, I get in a rut. My husband reminds me the only difference between a rut and the grave is the length, lol. Unfortunately I forget that too often. Thanks for the refresher!

Shelina (formerly known as Shasta) said...

So eloquently written. Superb! Makes me want to go and play!

KathyE said...

Great post, Michele. It was a great read as I begin this busy week. I need to squeeze in a creative escape. Thanks for the reminder

Bee Quilter said...

I loved this post.I am too hard on myself and always stuck thinking and quilting traditionally. When I read about your life and its challenges and then I realize how you are still cheerful and always leave us such nice notes I know I need to be more like you and have fun and appreciation for quilting for others and not being so cranky about being perfect all the time. You are the nicest blogger and your ability to make and do so much for others in ..especially all of inspiring.

Anonymous said...

Hi Michele, once again i feel so inspired by your post!
I always "colour" outside the box as you know and it is specially liberating when
i forget my own expectations and just play with fabrics.
I make quilts just to have fun!

Michele Bilyeu said...

Thank you for ALL of your lovely comments. I'm not answering email comments right now due to real life taking over for a bit but I'll be catching up very soon :)

Lynne said...

What a great post, Michele. I was recently away on a retreat where I got the chance to paint. I have everything I need to paint at home - materials, time, space - but I don't because there are more practical things to do (knitting and making quilts for those less fortunate for example). Your post reminded me that I need time to just be creative too!

BTW, if you want to read about a breakthrough I had on that retreat, don't miss my post this Monday.