Do you find that you sometimes are searching for something to inspire you and you just can't figure out what "it" is?
I'm a long-time quilter. I love fabric...the colors, the designs, the textures. I love cutting up stuff (paper dolls were a favorite when I was a kid) and putting it back together again. I love the hum of the sewing machine, the peace and solitude when it's just me and my machine in the wee hours of the morning. I've taught quilting for many years (check out my website www.chickaboomquilts.com). I'm a good technician and can teach techniques and theory. But I'm not a quilt designer.
I'd like to be. I bought a software program so I could play around with creating my own quilt patterns, but I usually find myself falling back on old favorites.
I'm a candidate in a national program to become a certified quilt judge and I know about elements and principles of design. I just don't seem to be able to create something new and different.
And then I became reacquainted with beading. And working my way through piles of magazines and scores of websites, suddenly all that knowledge I've gained through the years through quilting is being put to use in beading. And the best part of all is that I look at a design and think, well, that's a fabulous idea but I'd change this, or make that part longer, or use a different style of bead, etc. Before long, I'm working on a piece that little resembles the inspiration piece...it's...my own concept! My own design! And usually I find while I'm working on that piece, I have two or three ideas of other ways to change it, or pieces I can make to compliment it. And I'm thinking about size and proportion, space, texture, all of those things quilters who care about how their work looks (as opposed to how warm it keeps someone) think about. Beading has unleashed a more creative side of me.
Recently I went on a quilting retreat weekend but took bead work with me instead. I still had a grand time. We still laughed and chatted into the wee hours. It was terrific.
And this past weekend I took time away from the beading and spent it going through some of my fabric stash. While my embroidery machine stitched away on a design on hubby's denim jacket, I pulled out not one but two UFOs (unfinished objects). I finished the top of one wall hanging and completed the top stitching on another. That only only needs a border now. I reconnected with fiber. I started thinking of projects for another quilt retreat coming up.
Beads are in my life permanently now. Luckily, they are small...there's room for both beading and quilting!