Tuesday, January 21, 2014

On fear of following directions

 A friend of mine just had a realization. The discussion was about people who buy and buy supplies to make quilts/art and never use them. Ever.
Now, we all do that occasionally but some people make a science of it.

My friend realized it was more enjoyable to hunt and gather all the supplies for a project,  than to make the project. These are projects in magazines or books. She attributes this to a fear of failure.

 She made me think of this issue in a new way... first of all, that gathering thing is fun, in and of itself. It's like jazzing your imagination. And there are endorphins released during shopping, you know.

Second, of course there is the possibility of failure when you are doing what someone else did, taught, demonstrated, suggested, wrote about.

 It's only when you are doing your own thing, that there is little risk of  failure  as no one know what you were trying to achieve.  (let's not think about  the times a  finished piece doesn't come out like it did in your head, smirk)  If for some reason you don't like a finished project, you can choose to see it as another artistic learning experience, not a failure.

I'm an old dancer, and the rule was if you forgot choreography,  just keep dancing and most people wouldn't know you'd messed up. (This doesn't count if you're a guy and were supposed to catch the prima ballerina mid-leap)

Anyway, there is less chance of failure if you are doing your own thing, than when following directions, which I find increasingly hard to do anyway.Know what I mean??
playing with scraps, because there is no failure in a scrap!


  1. YES! I know exactly what you mean!! I will never forget a pencil set I received when young...and I preserved it...hardly used it. TODAY...I am the opposite. I learned from that to embrace, be and explore. As I grow as a quilter I'm finding I like to play much more than follow patterns!!!

  2. o brother. Exactly! I find I am constantly using my cheaper fabric because I don't want to use my "better" fabric. I might make a horrible mistake with that "really nice" fabric. Now how would the old cotton shirt fabric from the Goodwill qualify as "nice fabric?" It really is a constant effort to fight the urge to save it for that special project!

    P.S. I live with a man who is always on the hunt for all these "one of a kind, special deal" car parts he needs or might need to finish his classic muscle car. I've tried to get him to become the "seller" and not the "buyer!" I should take my own advice?

  3. Hmmmm I wonder if that is why I love creating my own designs. I actually use quite a bit of my fabrics and toys. I have a bad habit of buying lots of books.....love those! Thanks for sharing.
    Freemotion by the River Linky Party Tuesday

  4. That was me and scrapbooking - a few thousand dollars of supplies later, and only one scrapbook to show for it! (Oh, well, and lots and lots of neatly organized sets of gorgeous unused supplies lol.) I've promised myself I will always be better about quilting and using my fabrics : )

  5. How did you know all that stuff about me? I shopped extensively while we were still working, but never found the time to make anything. I didn't realize I was actually stock piling things for retirement. Now I shop my stash, and if there is something missing there, then I go for the retail therapy. It works out great that I bought when I had money, cause now I don't have that much, and really don't need that much.

  6. Bravo! Well said! Fear of failure is keeping many from achieving greatness. Or even goodness!!! This fear keeps people from learning new techniques and stagnates creativity. Love your drawing by the way. Especially the shopping bags! SEW TRUE!

  7. My friend Joni wrote the insightful comment to me in an email and thought I'd share
    I think that before we start, the project is always ideal. Once we start, that vision is gone. It can be hard to let go of a perfect vision.

  8. Hi LeeAnna!
    Looks like you wrote something very close to a lot of creative crafters and quilters! I'll be passing this link on to the members of the Hartjes Handwerk weekend! Thanks! Great drawing!

  9. excellent post and I can totally relate to this-I am one to gather patterns from magazines-dream a little about the piece-and then don't get to making it. I am not afraid of failure though-I just have too many interests that I can't always narrow down-and just do.
    II am stopping in from lets bee social-glad to meet you

  10. so true !I make up my own patterns or follow the muse whisper and shop my stash and when I don't have that color already available I side step and paint up that idea of a color and while it dries I continue along. Perhaps because creatives don't go in a straight line we cover a wide area of what ifs! I enjoy the journey. the scrapes juxtaposition spark off whole new color and design ideas! yippy for sorting and discovery !

  11. A lot of quilters like a part of the process more than others. I have a friend who likes to cut out the quilts best of all and she has all these quilts cut and stacked on bins. I, myself, love to piece. Another friend likes to bind, another the quilting--now if we all just get to gether and collaborate - grin.

  12. I can usually follow patterns just fine, but often yearn for doing my own creations.
    I always have good intentions to complete the project I gathered all the 'stuff' for. I can tell you about several projects that are in various stages of completion because as the process went on, they were not looking like I had intended for them to look.

    The most current example is a decent enough quilt, that took a year of work to complete the top. It is over half appliquéd by hand and the rest is made of pieced blocks. It is a pretty quilt. I started quilting the center and zip, I went over an edge of appliqué that I didn't want to. Zip, I did it again. Then, oh shock, some decent stippling! Then I caught an edge again. Big sigh. Oh well, I am NOT a master quilter. And that is ok.

    I will not pay someone else to quilt my quilt, so I either deal with the flubs or quit it all together. In this case, I am giving myself permission to love it with the flubs. In the past, it would have gone into the UFO pile. I have to make myself give myself credit for the stitches that are better than the stitches I did in the last quilt.

    That is why I adore finding the best deals…haunting eBay for a really good buy on a special doodad that is needed…searching online for an older book that I will not pay over $5 for. You see, I could CONTROL the shopping part. I haven't been able to control the outcome of the project. I get better at it, but I had to finally give myself permission to not try to achieve master-quilt-maker-perfectionism. I am finally now able to pat myself on the back for matching points better than the last time I tried. I can smile at some of the artsy stuff I make now. I've even started a little cartoon character that helps me keep in touch with my art muse.

    It was nice to see I am in such good company! I don't feel so weird about how I was or am now. Giving oneself permission to enjoy and grow and learn is making my endeavors a lot more fun! Oh, but I still enjoy finding bargains! lol

  13. Although I'm not a shopper, I do have fond memories of going to the flea market every Saturday to find cotton clothing to cut up for my fabric collection--it was treasure hunting and some of my finds were dazzling. Now I've got enough fabric to last a lifetime, but, sometimes I miss the adventure...
    best, nadia

  14. I missed this post back in January -- perfect explanation for my self-awarded title of eclectic and independent!