Shows and Exhibits, tierneycreates, WCQN, What's on the Design Wall

Secret Quilt and Design Wall Struggle

Lately my blog has primarily focused on my recent travels and I’ve joked I should change the name from “tierneycreates” to “tierneytravels”. Well over the past 6 months I’ve been tierney-creating a lot (when not traveling!) working on a “secret quilt” for a Women of Color Quilting Network (WCQN) show that opens next year.

The name of the show is Black Pioneers: Legacy of the America West and it opens next spring at the The James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art in St. Petersburg, Florida. After a stint at The James Museum it will tour nationally (museums across the U.S. have already contacted the curator and head of the WCQN, Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi to request that the exhibit show at their museum).

Recently I put the final touches on my quilt for the show and sent it off to the curator to be professionally photographed for the book, etc.

We were provided with a list of Black Pioneers that contributed to the growth of the American West and my quilt is about one of those pioneers.

You’ll have to wait until Spring 2022 to find out more as the museum asked for no social media images of our quilts prior to the opening.

I am pretty excited about participating in this show; and this will be my third WCQN exhibit (see posts Visioning Human Rights in the New Millennium, Part I and โ€œGiant Among the Sequoiasโ€ Returns Home). I’ve had the opportunity to participate in several other WCQN exhibits since Yours for Race and Country: Reflections on the Life of Colonel Charles Young (“Giant Among the Sequoias”) but I’ve had artist block when it comes to art quilts for a show over the past several years since my husband Terry died in December 2018.

I finally figured out what it was (beyond part of grieving) – I used to, in my previous home I shared with Terry for 14 years, work on art quilts in the giant design wall that spanned our small hallway of our home:

Working on “Giant Among the Sequoias” in Spring 2018

I loved creating textile art in that hallway and I would always have Terry down the hall watching TV, playing a computer game, or reading a book while I worked. Occasionally he would walk by on his way to the bathroom and give me an approving nod.

In my current home in the Denver metro area, I have a large design wall inside my lovely studio that my partner John put together but for me creating art quilts was about being in that hallway.

So I had to overcome that, and it was more difficult than I thought, to be able to work on the quilt for this show. I knew I did not want to pass up on any more WCQN exhibit opportunities (nor did I want to give up making art quilts) so I had to overcome this hurdle to my creativity.

All I can say is widowhood is a long road filled with potholes (some you think will kill you or at least break both your legs) and pits of muck getting you stuck.

Image credit: Firestone

But then ever so often the road smooths out and you can travel peacefully for a while. You can also learn to avoid some of the potholes and pull yourself quickly out of the muck when you slip in.

You keep learning that you are stronger than you think you are.

Glad I got unstuck from the muck to create this quilt. I will update you in the future on the creation of the quilt, the finished quilt, and more information about the show.

Feature image credit: Photo by Eric Murray on Unsplash

34 thoughts on “Secret Quilt and Design Wall Struggle”

  1. The quilt for the exhibit has me curious and look forward to when we can see it.
    Sending good vibes your way as you move through widowhood stages – and appreciate you sharing a bit about that

    And regarding the travel or any other topics that come up here – i think it all
    Falls under the umbrella because creativity is fed by living life and it is not only about projects and output.
    To create – needs dormant times away from actual creating – just like sometimes creating leads to more flow and more muse –
    So when I see a travel post – I guess I just connected it to the way you feed your kids and overall stay creative – and your travel posts usually share the artsy things related to culture and whatnot / keeping you chiseled and fed for future projects

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  2. Figuring out what causes the creative block seems like a good start to getting unstuck. I am glad you were able to make another art quilt and I am very much looking forward to its reveal!

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  3. I am glad you were able to climb out of that pothole, Tierney, because I love your art quilts and can’t wait to see it. I am sure that while you were travelling or making the draw string bags, you were consciously and unconsciously getting yourself into the right place to use your new wall. Our minds are wonderful things, and sometimes need time to work through things.
    Do you think that your art quilts will reflect your life changes?

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  4. Congratulations on having your quilt featured! I look.forward to the reveal next Spring. And I’m glad you figured out what was hindering you…hugs!

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  5. Absolutely love you could create your quilt for the forthcoming show and touring there of.

    As to the creative block that you finally worked out what was causing it, great news. And I think I also said recently travelling and viewing the world is creative inspiration – I know you found that in your quilt hop tour – the train trip with your sister – the vacation with your new man, that amazing place you stayed in. All fodder for a creative.

    What has shocked me, is the fact that a year or two back I bought a new sewing machine with intention of using it to sew around my book tags etc – and now suddenly I’m making something along the lines of contemporary art quilts in miniature mode (currently mostly in paper). Who would have thought that would suddenly appear! And then realising that the approx 27 stitch patterns, of which the majority are for sewing a garment are actually very nice looking on the paper, including one that I think is for stretch materials and another definitely not for a nice pattern stitch…

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  6. Congratulations on having your quilt features – that is just wonderful! You have had so much change in your life, it’s no wonder you had some artist’s block. It is great that you figured out what was going on and are working your way around it. You are right that widowhood is a true journey and it’s not just a simple adjustment to make. Be kind to yourself! Hugs ๐Ÿ™‚

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      1. Good – don’t be hard on yourself! You were doing what you needed to for your own mental and emotional health. Now you are more ready to be back at it! There will be tons more opportunities – you are so creative!

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  7. Can’t wait to see your “secret quilt”. Congrats on 1) being invited to contribute to the show Black Pioneers: Legacy of the America West and 2) working through your artist’s block and making a piece for the show. You should be very proud of yourself. Thank you also for sharing so honestly the hard road you have travelled since TTQH’s passing.
    BTW. I work in the hallway of our house and so pass by my pinboard of current projects many times a day. It works for me to constantly have the pin-ups in the corner of my eye, as it were. If The Woodworker happens to notice what is on the board I know I have hit the jackpot. Ha ha.

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  8. Grief is a hard road to travel, your pothole analogy is very apt, climbing out of one and being able to create shows tremendous tenacity and courage. Looking forward to seeing your secret art quilt.

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  9. So interesting to read about your design process. Congratulations on finishing the quilt, can’t wait to see it, and on being chosen to participate. Thank you also for your reflections on widowhood, it helped me a lot today.

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  10. I what an amazing project to be part of!Look forward to seeing the finished quilt. So glad you were able to overcome that block and can keep creating. Grief affects us in different ways and can be so all- encompassing. To make such progress is huge so be proud of what youโ€™ve achieved. Take care x

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