Thursday, November 02, 2006

Going Solo

There's a tradition in quilting in which women form quilting guilds to get together and socialize while quilting. It must have worked very well when all quilting was done by hand and you needed as many extra able hands as were available to cover the innumerable hours and stitches needed to finish a king-size quilt. I've always found the idea comforting and appealing. What a great way to provide for your household while enjoying the support and companionship of your women friends.

Today, despite machines having taken over the quilting world, quilting guilds are still very popular. Women get together and teach each other new techniques, or they challenge each other to create new designs, or each member contributes a block and the guild creates a group-effort quilt that often gets donated to a good cause and/or gets entered in a quilting contest. I have never been a member of one such group.

There are two quilting groups here in St. Croix. Membership expands and shrinks with the comings and goings of the many snowbirds that winter here. I was invited to join one group recently, and I attended one of their luncheons. I enjoyed meeting everyone and seeing some of their work in progress. I learned that as a group they have created a number of quilts over the years, which they have donated to local charities for fund-raising auctions. I left the luncheon thinking that I might return to the group, but wondering if I could really commit to attending every week.

Well, it's been about six weeks since that luncheon and I have not returned. A part of me says, "You're a quilter, it'll be good for you to be part of such a nice tradition and to enjoy the companionship of other quilters." But because there's very little that I can physically do in terms of quilting while sitting at a restaurant, another part of me responds, "Those two hours are better spent at the studio doing more productive work." So far, this part has won out every week.

Maybe there will come a time when I'll be ready to become an active guild member, but right now my strongest instinct tells me that this is a time I need to go solo. I'm still in the process of shaping my creative vision, of discovering the many ways I can flex my creative muscles. For me this discovery process must be done alone, in the cocoon of my creative space, where there is stillness to tap into that inner guidance that knows the way.

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Anonymous maria said...

Wow, look at you go. Three blog posts already! Wooohoo!

I'm a big fan of going solo myself. I find I can be too susceptible to other people's tastes and suggestions otherwise -- especially in the beginning of some new project -- which then leaves me confused and somewhat paralyzed, creatively speaking. It took me a lot of years to figure that out, though, especially when there seems to be so much pressure to 'network.' Networking is good, of course (otherwise I'd never have met you!), but the dog has to wag the tail and not the other way around ... hmmm, got that? You know what I mean, I think.

Perhaps there is a way to participate as you feel inspired in a few more luncheons before you make a final decision. Or you could form your own small support group with a couple of other people that combines quilting and networking, and provides just the amount of structure you each need and no more. You'll know when it's time to be around other artists/quilters/people, though.

In the meantime, revel in your solitude ... there's nothing I love more than the days when I'm home in my little studio/office, working at the table in front of the window, with the dog sleeping on the chair and a podcast or audiobook playing on the PC ... and maybe a cup of tea. Sheer heaven.

11:36 AM  

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