How to be a Creative Quilter

How to be a Creative Quilter

These are the colors you should use...

This is how you use value in your quilts...

This is how your points have to look...

Binding should be done like this...

You should iron your seams like this...

This is the proper way to do this...

You can't do this...

You should have done this...

Ever heard anyone say anything that sounded like this? There are a lot of people who are quick to tell you the right and the wrong way to make a quilt.

But what if there is no right or wrong way to make a quilt? 

Would you go into a painter's studio and tell her that is the wrong way to paint a painting? "You can't splatter paint like that-- your paintings need to look realistic!" (Lots of people tried to tell Jackson Pollock that one, good thing he ignored them!)

You wouldn't tell a chef what types of herbs he should or shouldn't use in his chicken dish, you wouldn't tell a sculptor what shapes she can create and what angles to use. 

Why do we cling so to "rules" in quilting? How could there possibly be a wrong way to sew 3 layers together? 

Now, don't get me wrong, I think having a strong foundation and understanding the basics is essential. Learning how to sew a good 1/4" seam, baste well, and apply binding is important. But once we have that solid foundation, I think we can give ourselves permission to stretch those "rules". 

Picasso said, "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist."

Once you have that steady foundation, you can experiment. You can try a new way of doing applique or an unusual color palette or quilting motif. 

It's in this experimenting, this trying something new that might not work out, that the magic happens. The happy accidents, the surprises, the projects you're most proud of. Don't get me wrong, this approach leads to lots of "failures". Though I never see any mistake or project that didn't work out as a failure, I always see it as a learning experience. Even if all I learn is "this crazy method of doing applique does not work at all because of...", this usually leads to the next idea and the next experiment.

Eventually, something spectacular emerges.

This is the creative process. This is how it works. You show up, try something new, evaluate, try something else new, and repeat. 

If you never give yourself permission to experiment-- permission to "fail", nothing original can emerge. The creative, exquisite things that are waiting inside of you can never come out. 

I believe with all my heart that every human is creative. I think humans as a species are definitively creative, so it's redundant to even say "creative human". I think everyone-- including you, my dear-- is a once in a millennia miracle. That everyone-- including you-- has spectacular things inside of them that are just waiting to be unearthed.

It takes a lot of bravery to unearth these things. To stretch the limits of our creative potential. It takes bravery and audacity.

Todd Henry wrote a beautiful book called, Die Empty. The book is fabulous, but the title alone is inspirational in itself. I love this idea. I want to unearth all those hidden gems within me. I want to reach and stretch my creative limits-- my creative potential.

This is my vision for my life and my company. I want to explore my creativity and express myself as fully as I possibly can, and I want to help others do the same. 

This is why I created the Meander Guild. We are a group of quilters from all over the world with the shared philosophy that there is no wrong way to make a quilt, that we are all capable of making extraordinary things, and that we want to explore our own creativity and style, and encourage each other to do the same. 

If this sounds appealing to you, I'd love for you to join us in Meander. Enrollment for Meander opens soon, in the meantime, you can get a taste for what Meander is all about in my free workshop, The Quilt Style Workshop. (You can go start watching now!)

You are a once in a millennia miracle, and there are treasures inside of you, waiting to be unearthed. Have a beautiful day. Now go make something!


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