It’s time. I’m done. I just have no desire to actually make anything out of all this fabric, beads, fibers and “stuff” that is sitting in my studio. It’s been three and a half years since I really felt like doing much at all with any of it, so I think it’s really time to just say farewell to it all.
I never thought I’d do that actually, but honestly, it’s been a long time coming, even before I discovered Inchies and created Inchie Quilts. I remember having a conversation with my mother in early 2008. I don’t remember the whole of it, but I distinctly remember saying to her “Maybe it’s time to just be done with all this quilting stuff.” I was working on Elemental Changes and having some design issues and it all just seemed like too much effort to figure it out. I was also developing Inchie Quilts at the time, and I even remember where I was sitting in my studio when I was talking to her. The thing was though, after quilting for probably 40-60 hours a week for so many years as both a hobby and a job, I wondered what I’d do with myself if I didn’t quilt. Quilting was just a part of my life, like ITMan, the girls and the cats. It was soothing when I was upset, it was inspiring, it was fulfilling, and it was an escape. What would I even do with all of those hours if I didn’t play with fabric?
Then Inchie Quilts exploded when AQS wanted to publish it, and it was the dream I’d been working toward for fifteen years at that point, and it swept me away and into the world of the professional quilter. I can now say “been there, done that” but I’m not sure I got a t-shirt. I did get a lot of experience though and I learned a lot from it, especially about myself. In the beginning I’d planned for at least a second book, and I had ideas for a third one too, and even other books about different techniques.
After that whirlwind trip to the States for the Des Moines quilt show in late 2009 though, I was tired and burned out. I hate traveling and I’m not all that fond of teaching. I needed a break, and that break turned into years. My editor called and asked about that second book; I worked on it, designed and made quilts for it, even designed a new ruler and tool set for it and had prototypes made. But I had to force myself to do it, and my heart wasn’t in it.
I finally did get a real proposal together for the second book after we moved back to the States and I drove to the AQS show in…yeah, can’t even remember where that was…Knoxville maybe…to meet with the editor and submit the proposal in person. About a month later, I received word that AQS wanted the book, so I kept working on it. It was like pulling my own teeth out with a string and a slamming door. Just about anything was a good excuse to avoid the studio, even vacuuming. The quilts were good (they still are), the techniques would be fun, but it just wasn’t speaking to me. Not only wasn’t the art process itself as exciting and inspiring as it had been for so many years, I knew that it wouldn’t end with writing the book; after that there would be traveling and teaching and publicity and blogging and…yuck.
My heart still wasn’t in it, and I was forcing myself to do it anyway since I’d told AQS I would. After telling my editor once that it wouldn’t be done when I’d said it would and targeting a date farther out, I finally had to just admit to myself and AQS that I didn’t want to do a second book at all, not about Inchies or anything else. It was a really hard decision to make, and I was very emotional about it–still am really. It’s kind of terrifying to realize that you’ve spent 15+ years working toward a thing, dreaming of doing it, and then once you have done it, realize that you don’t want to do it again.
So what now? Something else that’s terrifying is the amount of fabric, beads, fibers, tools, supplies, UFO’s and quilting-related “stuff” that I have in my studio (and in boxes throughout the house, it must be noted). It takes up a huge amount of space, and I think about the thousands of dollars tied up in it–and hope it’s not into the tens of thousands, but it probably is. It sits there and makes me feel guilty about not being artistic, about not being inspired by it, and about not using it up. I’m done with the guilt too. Just done. Stay tuned…