Deadlines and commitments

Traditional Rose of Sharon BlockI received a response to an email I sent a couple of weeks ago to my oldest DD’s music teacher this morning, and he apologized for the lateness of his reply. He said “I put the band back together I should have my head examined.” My instant thought was “been there, done that.” I wrote back: “Isn’t it funny how we work so hard to do something we think we want to do, and then once we’re in the middle of it, we wonder if we were crazy? I do it all the time.”

Not with a band, of course, since I absolutely don’t play any instruments, but I definitely do over commit myself to myself and my art, and it needs to stop. Take this last quilt for example. I’ll let the cat out of the bag here: the Grasping Reality: Fifteen quilt is headed for the MAQS New Quilts from an Old Favorite contest this year. The theme block is the Rose of Sharon (one variation is shown here), and I brainstormed for a year off and on to come up with an idea for a design. The Rose of Sharon is one of those quilt blocks that I’ve never liked, and I’d never make a quilt out of it using the traditional block, so I thought it would be quite a coup if I could design a quilt that I love based on a block that I dislike.

I’d given up finally when nothing seemed right, because I didn’t want to be rushed on it by a deadline and time was marching on. Unfortunately, though the conscious part of my brain knew that I shouldn’t keep thinking about the contest and a design, my subconscious was still hard at work, and when I saw Chelsea’s drawing, I was inspired to make it into a quilt for the MAQS contest and time was already a bit short.

Maybe I should have had my head examined. If it hadn’t been for the fact that I’d involved another person in my art, I’d probably have jumped ship on this one, at many times for many reasons. I was over-committed, and stressed about finishing the quilt on time in addition to many other personal and business projects that all needed to get done at about the same time.

I’d said to myself when I finished the last big quilt under a deadline that I wasn’t doing any more quilts with deadlines attached. But there I was a few months later with the MAQS deadline staring me in the face. Don’t get me wrong, deadlines are good because they prompt you to be working on your project all the time. On the other hand, art shouldn’t be rushed. I’m going to stick with my “no more quilting deadlines” resolution this time, or perhaps worry about personal deadlines only, not “received by” dates for quilt show entries. Maybe now that I’ve put this out there for all to see, I’ll do better with it. Hopefully I won’t need my head examined again in a few months time!