Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Routines continued...

The older I get, the more I rely on routines to get me through the day.  Families are busier than they used to be, and ours is no exception.  In order to remember where I need to be, or what’s to do during  any given week,  I make lists, and I still keep a paper appointment book.  The structure of the list gets things done.  Menus get planned for the entire week, and shopping only happens once/week.  Nothing takes longer than half an hour to prepare, so I know that at 5 pm I can check the menu on the fridge, all my ingredients will be on hand, and dinner will be on the table at a reasonable hour.  Chores like laundry or cleaning the bathroom happen on regular predictable days, so I don’t have to think about them.  (My brain is full enough these days that I don’t want to have to think about the little stuff.)  

Now, when it comes to quilting, my routines are a bit more tenuous.  When I’m under a deadline, I’m happy to get up at 4:30 or 5:00 am to sew (and I never miss a deadline, even when it means losing a bit of sleep.)  The rest of the time, quilting fits into the corners of the day – cutting patterns during my son’s swimming lesson, trimming threads while I wait to pick him up after school, etc.  For the last five years, I’ve been selling my work at local craft fairs during the summer/fall.  This year, my plans are in flux and I need to develop a new routine.  My energy is shifting toward entering more contests and finding galleries to host my work.  I want to start new series, tackle some larger pieces, and be done with the small items that I only do for fairs.  Much as I love the craft fairs, they are not my most lucrative venue.  

My routine is out of sync, and I don’t have much creative momentum going at the moment.  (Spending part of the month on Halloween costumes has put a dent in my quilting time too, but it’s fun, so that’s ok.)    And, by not much creative momentum, I mean that I have five small quilts laid out and ready to stitch, another large piece half done, and fifteen ideas in my head.  But, none of them particularly motivate me at the moment.  I’m curious to see how my art will change over the next few months.  When the time is right, a new routine will emerge.  In the mean time, I don’t mind sitting through a period of change.  Sometimes, the best creative work emerges when I don’t overthink but turn my brain off for a while and spend time enjoying the season, spending time with family, and witnessing the world. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012


Been a while.  Time to write more often, as the season turns cold and my thoughts slow, clarify, and turn inward again.  Summer was wonderful – I made a purple cow lap quilt for a child thousands of miles away.  My show in the Hosmer Gallery of the Forbes Library (Northampton) went well, with six sales resulting.  My family enjoyed a week in a Vermont state park, complete with canoeing, the most intense rainstorm of my life, and a hike up Mt. Mansfield, VT’s highest peak, via its steepest trail.  (Those three events were, fortunately, on different days.)  My son’s blossoming friendships resulted in many summer  play dates by the river, and we settled into a routine of time outdoors and assorted summer camps, punctuated by trips to museums and brief visits by family.  

My new autumn routine is to sneak out of the house every morning around sunrise with a cup of tea or coffee to watch the sky and listen to the birds wake.  I can’t stay out long, my son wakes around the same time, but these little moments of solitude are my favorite part of the day.  Last month, a pair of Carolina Wrens stopped by.  Every morning, they sing – more musically than any Carolina wren’s I’ve heard before.  Perhaps they’ll stay the winter.  The first time I snuck out, the air was full of mist, the wrens were singing, and the ground was covered in damp yellow leaves.  Watch for a mini-quilt version of that morning.  I plan to enter it in a Quilting Arts Magazine challenge.  Did you know that these wrens say “tea kettle, tea kettle, tea”?  

Yesterday, our first frosty morning, the sky was that clear rich blue color that you only get just before sunrise or after sunset.  The air was so cold and still, I could hear leaves popping lose and falling from the trees.  There was a narrow crescent moon rising in the east above the sun, and Venus glowed above the moon.  I walked to the edge of the woods behind the cemetery next door, and a large flock of crows passed over, headed east.  My impression was that they were headed into the sunrise to warm up!  Watch for more crows in my quilts too!  Here’s the piece that I donated to the Forbes Library’s silent auction at the end of this month.  Auction details are here.

Recycled Sky - Ravens