Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Crossing lines... Excellence over Perfection

on not being perfect.

Jasmine of quiltkisses. said she might like the look of less perfect machine quilting.
I couldn't agree more, so all the judges out there, look away now.

some quilting on "Reaching...."

It's like seeing brush strokes on old paintings,  like plaster walls with dappled paint,  like rough hewn antique furniture with some dents and signs of having been made by hand. For me, free motion quilting is better when you see the maker in the movement.

I am not a fan of a BSR...or perfection. It's too far removed from the maker's exuberance.
Perfection is just so sterile, cold, machine-made.

There is something about  texture.
 Something about the connection with a maker.

 I have always, from early childhood been in love with making things. My favorite tool is my hands. I love seeing the maker in a finished piece.
Think about it, when you see an actual Monet painting, he touched it. You see where he did. 

My friend Annie commented on my free flowers quilted into Reaching. She asked if I remembered ( in the 80's ) we were told free motion quilting lines were not to cross each other? It was a rule.

Well, here's a little story of connections.
I married in the early 90's, quit social work, moved to MD with my new husband and joined a quilt guild. I had been quilting for a long time in FL and didn't know guilds existed. The first show I entered was a little quilt called "my favorite things". I just had a good time quilting motifs, and swirls and whatever my eyes wanted to see, my heart wanted to feel.

They must not have seen the value in it, as they hung the small piece near the floor in the back.

A woman who would become my friend,  Mary,  came and found me at the show. She said she just loved the rule-breaking, line crossing quilting in my free form quilt. She and I went on to form a 20 plus year friendship that continues despite her move across the country.

Like most of my quilts, that quilt is personal and tells my story. It's the kind of quilt I like to make.  I just didn't care what was acceptable in the quilt world... my style and vision were more important to my work. All my quilts are well constructed, they lay flat, have fairly regular stitches, and I try to follow the guidelines of good design.

I believe one can achieve good workmanship in one's chosen medium, as well as being original and working from your heart. I also believe

Perfection is over rated.

  Excellence is more important than perfection.
 Guidelines are more important than rules.
Individuality should shine through. Originality gives the viewer a peek into your personality.
Any artist should strive for excellence in their chosen medium, but perfection??  nah. 

For more posts on this series of Creativity Roadblocks--Overcoming them CLICK HERE


Kaja said...

Great post. I agree totally with every word.

Joanne said...

Bravo! LeeAnna! Super!
When I heard that lines shouldn't cross...I thought they were joking! What kind of "local rule"is that? Free Motion is FREE MOTION isn't it?
Do what you like, like what you do!
A great read just before I head off to check out a textile fair!
Take care,

Kathy said...

Totally agree! Your FMQ is your brush stroke, your signature. I'm never looking for the perfection requirement of prize winning traditional quilting--though I love that beauty! I want to express myself in personal art, with good technique. Sounds like that's what you want and what you do. Good for you and stick with it!!

PugMom said...

I'm sorry, I don't see anything that isn't perfect in your work! I think you are amazingly talented and you should just "go with your gut!"

Love you!

Laura Chaney said...

I think this brings up a really great point. I especially like your comparison to seeing old brush strokes on a painting!

I saw that you participate in several link-ups, and wanted to invite you to one we host called Crafty Comment Karma. It goes up each Friday and is open to any crafty, quilting or sewing links! I hope you'll come join us: http://www.prairiesewnstudios.com/search/label/Crafty%20Comment%20Karma

Jasmine said...

What a great thought-provoking post. Quilting on a quilt is like a signature. I loved hearing about you being ahead of the times with your FMQ. I just recently read a FMQ book published in the early 90s. It spent a lot of time justifying that it was okay to use your machine to quilt your quilts. So glad we have moved past that.

Shari - a prim and (not so) proper quilter said...

Oh, LeeAnna, well said! You channel my spirit with your thoughts.

Tails Around the Ranch said...

Such gorgeous work and you're right, perfection is totally overrated. ;)

Jenny K. Lyon said...

Oh so well said-bravo!

Nancy A. Bekofske said...

Totally. Agree.

Lisa said...

Rules are meant to be broken!

Mary in Boulder said...

I remember so well meeting you through your work and then in person at that quilt show so many years ago. Not only your quilting but your design and colors and style are uniquely yours. Happy Birthday, my friend!

Stitchin At Home said...

I like your post. My quilting isn't perfect but I have fun doing it and love the challenge of being able to do it on my domestic machine.

Lorna McMahon said...

Totally beautiful post. And lovely quilting, too! I agree 100%. Rules? Who says? Many famous artists were considered crazy for doing it their own way when they made their art. But now? They are considered geniuses. Follow your heart!

sonja said...

your signature piecing and quilting is your excellence!
The perfect cuppa coffee or tea is near perfection if shared!

sonja said...

your signature piecing and quilting is your excellence!
The perfect cuppa coffee or tea is near perfection if shared!

Muv said...

Hooray LeeAnna!

Perfection is boring and lifeless. Half the reason I do so many designs based on plants is that all the variations in leaf sizes and shapes, and all the stems going in different directions, makes the whole thing look more natural. Who ever saw a perfectly symmetrical tree?

Thank you for linking up with Free Motion Mavericks!

Love, Muv

Claire said...

The point where my quilty "signature" will show is in distance between lines of quilting. I cannot keep it consistent in designs in which consistency is part. So the trick is to be consistently inconsistent, so it looks clearly on purpose,I think.

Marly said...

Thank you; now I don't feel at all bad about my not-quite-on-the-spot quilting. By the way the BSR doesn't help that much in achieving perfection - it's what I use!

Angela said...

I find chasing after perfection can steal your joy! Good for you to choose otherwise.

quiltedfabricart said...

Great post and I wholeheartedly agree. There are long arms now that are computerized - you just put in a design and walk away. I see quilts in shows that are obviously done this way and think they should not be in the show. I supposes it's there because of the piecing but I like to look at quilting at a quilt show - call me crazy.

Lara B. said...

Everything you wrote here speaks to my heart LeeAnna! You expressed it beautifully too. There comes a point where perfection becomes too much like something a computer might do. I love to see the maker's personality in the quilt.

Anonymous said...

Great post! I agree. I sometimes think I would like to have a computerized system for my long arm, but no. It would make me too far removed from the work.

Ruth said...

Loved this post - I complain about my mistakes and G tells me I'm not a robot. You are both so right!

Stephie said...

LeeAnna this is wonderful advice! A quilt should be about who YOU are, not anyone else. Would we have had the fabulous quilts of Gees Bend if they did what was expected? Of course not. And it really resonates with something I'm working on today, thank you!

Krista said...

That's a lovely quilt. I agree that perfection is overrated (it's why I don't have a computer on my longarm). I love your header image! The hexagon quilt with the overlapping flowers is wonderful, and adds so much more dimesion to the traditional Grandmother's Flower Garden layout. Thanks for linking up at Throwback Thursday. I hope you'll be back next week :)