Writers come to the end of writing a book, and say it feels “like a kind of death”!
Artists finish a piece of work and get stuck, finding themselves without inspiration to move on.
A blogger comes successfully to the end of a month-long blogging challenge, and publishes nothing for the next month—or two, or three, or…
A quilt maker (me, the past two weeks) puts the final touches on a quilt top, packs away the sewing machine… and it might not come out again for weeks, even years!
You get the idea.
If you do creative work of any kind, maybe it’s happened to you.
You reach your goal, cross the finish line—and feel… finished! Too finished. What now?
The trouble with closure is how much it can close things: Doors, pathways, the mind.
How do you prevent the freeze that follows the finish?
I’ve read some good advice about this in recent years. I just forgot to apply it! Almost.
Nearly done with my patchwork project, and writing yesterday’s post about it, I suddenly remembered something important I hadn’t done, and needed desperately to do! Otherwise my big idea of upcycling scrap fabrics for good use was going to end right today.
What do you do if such a door is about to slam?
Get ahead of yourself! Run down the hallway of your mind and open a new entrance.
I once watched a fascinating fabric artist (Anita Luvera Mayer) explain her strategy for preventing such standstill: She always had three notebooks going: One for the project in progress; another with preparatory planning for the next project; and a third with more random clippings and samples inspiring daydreams for further down her “hallway.”
I’d forgotten this! And I knew the patchwork was about to screech to a halt!
So I paused in my final sewing of borders, and hauled out a bunch of leftover fabric from old endeavors: Greens and pinks, just because.
I scanned my sewing bookshelf to see what caught my fancy: This volume:
I brewed some tea and sat me down with this unread book that had been languishing for years in the shadows.
And it grabbed me! Intending just to skim for random inspiration, instead I got fascinated with the intricate art of good scrapwork placement. I started reading from beginning straight through, and my enthusiasm ignited.
What a dynamic art form! I might never do three-fabric patchwork again! What artistry in the way a true scrap quilt can draw people “into” it, and then mesmerize them with the varied fabrics’ interacting!
Author Roberta Horton likens the experience to her encounter with a house in San Francisco. From across the street, something about it caught her attention, then pulled her toward it, for closer inspection.
A large display window in front held the magic: varied teddy bears on shelves, facing out behind the glass. All different. She stood there feasting her eyes, looking from one to another, her view hopping all around the large window.
This, she says, is how we react to good scrap quilts. They draw us in and keep us looking, feasting on fabrics, colors, patterns, and combinations, as we would never do with a simple-graphic quilt of today. One glance at the latter tells us all we need to know. The scrap quilt is more like a treasure map that can hold our attention spellbound for some length of time.
She then explains how to achieve this phenomenon without patterns clashing or tipping the balance.
All this summons me on, to the next quilt possibility.
Admittedly, I’m late in the game. This done a week or so ago would have given me time to separate out fabrics and consider different patchwork patterns in which they’d work well. I may have even started cutting strips or rectangles and nestled them in their own basket, where they could incubate!
But I’m definitely not dead-ended.
So what shall I do to prevent blog freeze at the end of this month? Hmm… Another notebook, to carry around everywhere, and jot “things” down?
How about you? Are you dead-ended? Or headed for it soon? How can you prevent it by “going ahead” of yourself?
Happy endings—and beginnings!
For a set of links to all the other posts in this “Meandering Forward” series, go to this page, which will be updated daily as new posts appear in the blog content.