Just this morning, while thinking, “I’m in the mood to write but I need an inspiration”, I took the clip out of my hair…which promptly popped out of my hand, landed on the floor tile, bounced across the room as if a giant magnet was pulling it and it popped perfectly in the center of the toilet. What?!? Really? Distracted from my train of thought, I commenced the rescue and clean-up operation. No big deal…I’m a Mom and a Grandmother. And the water was clean.
When I came back around to the thought, “I’m in the mood to write but I need an inspiration” I realized the inspiration was right in front of me: Happy accidents, unexpected events, distractions, and the proverbial start-and-stops in life. You know…that moment where two divergent ideas collide to make something unexpected.
Last week I attended QuiltCon, the Modern Quilt Guild show, in Austin. It was a tremendous show with hundreds of quilts. Having submitted 3 entries and none were chosen, I was excited to see my competition. The categories were familiar: Applique, Handwork, Improvisation, Minimalist Design, Use of Negative Space, Piecing, Modern Traditionalism, Group or Bee Quilts, Small Quilts. I strolled, I looked, I soaked it in. I took over 300 pictures. My overall impressions? Creativity. Tons and tons of creativity or maybe rows and rows of amazingly creative art. Color: from monochromatic to bold. Contrast: from minimalist to jarring. Competence: from pieced circles that didn’t come close to matching to absolutely perfect execution. Bottom line: Wow.
I had several unexpected events while there:
a) I met the Michael Miller Fabric Challenge, 2nd Place winner, Paige Alexander from Picken, S.C. (she knows my 4th grade home/neighborhood in Greenville). Her quilt, After Dinner Mints was pieced and quilted by her! She was delightful!
b) I found “My” quilt design in a vendor booth—all made up in a modern palette and met, in person, the maker!
c) I experienced the start-and-stop of attending a lecture that was not “for me”. You know, the “oh…this is not what I thought it was going to be and I would stay if the panel of famous folks were not all shy and monotone and boring.”
d) And, in the vendor/exhibitor hall the distractions were endless: “ohhhh, I want to go over there…but wait: look at that fabric/ruler/design/color/celebrity/pattern/thread.” I drove myself crazy and it finally became overwhelming.
Alas, I’m home and I cannot get past what I want to ask the quilters about their process. Yes, I want to interview the quilt makers and designers…winners and non-winners alike. I want to ask
1) Where did your inspiration come from? Was it a moment in time? An event? An Ah-Ha moment? Tell me…please.
For me, I can tell you exactly where and when an idea formed in my head. Like the ‘Mr. Trask-Radio-Trask-Radio” scene from the movie “Working Girl” with Melanie Griffith and Harrison Ford. Oh, you haven’t seen it? Go watch it… it’s a classic. Yes, Oscar nominations and all.
2) Was your quilt well-thought out and planned in detail before you started? OR was it a series of happy accidents?
I’m wondering if “the hair clip pop out of their hand and landed in a toilet…and Viola!?” Or, was it like an engineer’s bridge design?
Because I design my own quilts and have only used someone else’s pattern once in my 200+ quilt making experience, when I design a quilt I usually start with one of about three or four ideas:
- “I want a Christmas quilt” which means I start with the theme and basic color palette first.
- “Madeline needs a quilt” which means I take the personality of the individual, their favorite colors, motifs and designs into account and go from there.
- Or, “Michael Miller has a Quilt challenge using the spring pastels” and I design from there.
- Often I see things that I think “That would be a great quilt” but rarely do those ideas materialize (literally).
3) Were you confident that your quilt would be selected? Why or why not?
For me, I’ve never been confident about my quilts nor my quilting designs. Not once. I’ve really liked some of them…but competition? Totally willing to accept a rejection and keep trying but never, ever confident.
And, then, to wrap up the interview, I’d reserve the last few questions to magically be inspired by the predictable series of happy accidents and unexpected answers, distractions, and the proverbial start-and-stops in a conversation. I’d end the interview with what are you inspired to do now?
If you’d like some inspiration go see the write up on the Modern Quilt Guild’s site: https://themodernquiltguild.wordpress.com/2015/02/18/congratulations-to-our-2015-quiltcon-winners/
So, please tell me: what are YOU inspired to do next…and where did the inspiration come from?