How are you all doing? I am thinking about you all and sending you all good and peaceful thoughts.
I’ve been going on a lot of walks in the green space behind my house (as there is not much to do outside but walk around, while keeping social distance). There are miles and miles of paved trails and I’ve enjoying seeing many families, couples and individuals out walking.
In a recent post Perspective I shared inspirational sidewalk/paved trail chalk art I came upon during a walk last week:
Well, 2 days ago, I discovered on my walk a whole path of inspirational messages in sidewalk chalk that I want to share with you.
I have captioned each message in case they are difficult to read.
I also came across in a drainage area with even more inspirational messages and kid art that made me smile.
I suspect a family with their kids did this project together. I’d like to imagine there was a family cheering themselves up by trying to cheer up others by spreading a message of positivity and hope.
To all my blogging friends who might be worrying and struggling:
A lot of people are out walking about, which is a good thing. However some days it feels like my favorite walking trails are getting a wee bit too crowded (even with people respecting social distancing).
I was quite pleased yesterday when I ventured in a new direction and discovered a lesser known/used path. I had an exquisitely peaceful walk on my own with no one else in sight for 30 minutes. All I could hear was birds chirping.
Unlikely Artistic Inspiration in a Business Publication
There is a professional publication that arrives every month in my mailbox – Healthcare Business Monthly. It comes as part of a professional membership I have in the healthcare industry.
I appreciate all the work that goes into this publication but many times the articles are fairly dry and technical; however an article by Tara Cole in the June 2016 issue (page 58), really caught my attention.
The title of the article is “Advance to the Career You Want”. In this article the author provides tips on how to develop yourself professionally and move into the career you want.
I thought the author’s tips in this article could translate into how to “Advance to Where You Want to Go with Your Art”, “Artist Development”, “Advance Your Creative Journey” or something like that.
Here is a listing of the author’s eight (8) tips which I am going to apply to advancing my creative journey:
Get comfortable with being uncomfortable
Be open to change
Use your time wisely
I embrace all these tips! Lately I have been working on #5 – Get technical: taking classes, talking to mentors, reading up on new quilting techniques, etc. I have definitely been challenging myself (the secret quilt I am finishing for the by invitation exhibit – I have been quilting this quilt myself – gasp!)
Time for a Random Photo
And now here is a random photo: Recently I returned from a long weekend visiting a friend in the Denver, CO area (see post Creative Inspiration: Travel). During on weekend together, we went on lovely walks on nature trails. One of the trails had many gopher or prairie dog holes along the path and I was fascinated looking at the prairie dogs popping up and talking to one another.
I was not fast enough with my smartphone camera to capture the adorable prairie dog that was popped up from its hole, but here is a photo of one of the holes, right after the prairie dog seeing my camera disappeared into:
But wait – I will connect this photo to this post:
Sometimes on your creative journey you have to retreat into a metaphorical hole and focus alone on your art.
Sometimes on your creative journey you have to venture into an unknown hole to move forward in your art.
Sometimes on your creative journey, you have to follow someone into a hole and see where it leads (but I was too big to follow after the prairie dog!)
Please share any thoughts you have on how this photo could relate to an artist’s creative journey (or how you are concerned that I obviously need my “special medication” adjusted! Ha!)
This morning I continue my ongoing series of posts on books I have borrowed from my local public library.
Here is the latest stack:
I have already begun nesting with a pot of tea in my favorite chair with some of these books! I usually start with the lighter “picture” book first, and I have already finished Cabins: The New Style by James Grayson Trulove. It is a book of obviously very wealthy people living in very beautiful large cabin like homes, in very picturesque settings!
The second book I am delving into, The Art of Good Habits by Nathalie W. Herrman, is rather thought provoking. Here is a passage from early in the book that really captured my attention:
The trouble with not accepting responsibility for ourselves is that we feel helpless, and that makes us grabby and greedy. It empowers the “more” mentality. We don’t realize our ability to be patient and trusting, so we push to the front and demand our share first, or demand more than our share. And the people we meet on this path are doing the same thing. We are all pushing and grabbing and trying to get there first, wherever ‘there’ might be.
I think she is spot on about human behavior.
After this book, I will move to something lighter like Materially Crafted: A DIY Primer for the Design-Obsessed by Victoria Hudgins.
As you can see, I am playing with my blog template again. Why does WordPress give me so many interesting options for my blog template? How can I ever be happy just sticking with the same template, ha! I welcome your feedback on the latest look to the tierneycreates blog: “Chalkboard” template.
Happy Monday to you all! A couple photos and updates to share with you as follow ups to various previous posts:
The flowering crabapple tree is in full bloom in front of my house and unbelievably, deliciously, inspirationally fragrant. When I step out from front door I am immediately enveloped with this incredible scent of Spring and the sounds of busy bees buzzing around the crabapple tree blooms!
I walked Pilot Butte again today, this time it took me 46 minutes to go up to the summit and back down, 4 minutes off my time last Monday (when I returned hiking our “mini mountain” in town for the first time after an 8 month hiatus after my foot injury).
The 360 degree views of Bend, Oregon and Central, Oregon continue to be breathtaking on another impossibly blue sky day here (we have a lot of impossibly blue sky beautiful days).
In the post You Got to Start Somewhere I shared that I listened to the audiobook Become Who You Were Born to Beby Brian Souza while hiking Pilot Butte. Today I continued my listen of this inspirational audiobook while hiking the Butte.
I wanted to share a wonderful quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson from this book which brought a smile to my face and a small tear to my eye from its beauty and truth.
What is Success?
“To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
Enjoy the rest of your week!
I am sure before the end of the week I will have more thoughts to share with you from all the thoughts that constantly swirl around in my head. Perhaps they will even have to do with quilting! (Smile).
(Be sure to check out Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer’s Schnauzer Snips page for her latest adventures and musing)
But First, More on “Trees of Winter”
Before I continue my series on sources of creative inspiration, let’s talk about winter trees a little more. I am still musing over the Winter Trees I discussed in yesterday’s blog post by the same name.
This morning, during our daily 2 mile am dog walk, I was struck again by the beauty of winter trees against an impossibly clear blue winter sky. Living in the “High Desert” of Central Oregon our winters have many days of clear blue skies. Compared, say to when we lived in Seattle, WA. (A fun town to live in, but blue skies were not that common; grey skies were considerably more popular there!)
So here is one more winter tree that captured my attention this morning, and then I will stop with the “Winter Trees” for a while (perhaps):
Creative Inspiration: Public Library Books
Since I was a child, I have been in love with the public library.
I remember a summer in my 10th or 11th year that I spent many days of my summer vacation at my small town’s public library. Books are magical. To have free access to all those magical books is even more magical.
For a time in my life I wanted to become a librarian, so I could spend a career among the books. I did not pursue a career in library science as an adult, but I kept my intense love of public libraries and of books.
I frequently patronize our local public library and I find their shelves filled with sources of creative inspiration. It would be very expense to buy all the books I would love to have in my personal library, and if you have read my post Craft Book Hoarder?!?!? it appears that I once tried to do that!
Embracing the minimalist, “scale back your life”, “living with less” movement, I borrow from the library, books that inspire me creatively. If the book turns out to be a “must, must, must have” then I will purchase it, but rarely.
Here is a recent stack of public library books filled with inspiration:
I have e-mailed our public library’s material purchasing department and thanked them for the wonderful selection of crafting, gardening, and home decorating books. I think it is important to let them know a patron really appreciates their well curated collection!
In future posts I will share an update on “craft book hoarding” (yes, I actually let go of a large amount of craft books); and discuss one of the recent crafting books I borrowed from the public library that I absolutely had to own (The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters: A Guide to Creating, Quilting, and Living Courageously by Sherri L. Wood).
This continues my series of posts on my sources of creative inspiration…
Two Journals, Two Different Purposes
I keep two journals. One journal for art quilting ideas and inspirations; and another journal for tierneycreates business, blogging and life in general ideas and inspirations.
The journal on the left, used for art quilting ideas and inspiration, has a handmade cover that I made during an intuitive design piecing class homework assignment. The lime green “sketchbook” on the right is what I use for tierneycreates, blogging ideas and life inspiration.
I got the idea of keep an art quilt ideas/inspiration journal from Jean Wells Keenan‘s brilliant books Intuitive Color and Design: Adventures in Art Quilting and Journey to Inspired Art Quilting. I was also fortunate enough to take her series of classes, Journey to Art Inspired Quilting, twice and see in person her wonderful inspirational art quilting journal.
In my art quilting journal I keep clippings from magazines and photos from my travels and nature that are future inspirations for art quilts. At first I had planned to use my art quilting journal for blogging ideas and tierneycreates business ideas. I discovered I wanted to keep the art quilting journal for quilt ideas and development. So I started a second journal.
I love both my journals, but I use the second journal (which I will refer to as the “tierneycreates journal”) more frequently.
The “tierneycreates journal” is where I write down ideas I get from listening to home-based business related audiobooks; books from the library on small business development and growth; quotes I find in magazines, books or hear on the media (radio, TED Talks, television, etc.); and any notes from searches on the internet (for example: What are the standard sizes for table runners that I should use for my tierneycreates Etsy shop table runners?).
I also use the”tierneycreates journal” to map out my future blog posts or blog post ideas. Sometimes I will spontaneously write a blog post, and sometimes I will write a post about a topic I have been thinking about for a couple of weeks and already fleshed out in my journal what I want to write about that topic.
I find it challenging to keep sudden ideas and inspiration stored in my mind. It seems that inspiration and ideas can come to you at any time. My journals provide a way to record them, even if they are only a skeleton of an idea that will need its internal organs and flesh added at a later date!
As mentioned in my series of posts on Nonfiction Audiobooks, I continue to enjoy listening to audiobooks while I work on quilting projects.
I recently finished a wonderful and inspirational audiobook by Anne Lamott – Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moment of Grace (Riverhead Books, 2014). The audiobook was read by the author which is always a treat for me – you get to experience what the author feels should be emphasized in the reading of a book based on their vocal inflections.
This book is basically a collection of personal biographical essays on the author’s experiences. Anne Lamott tells these stories with raw, relatable, and passionate language from a deeply spiritual yet deeply irreverent perspective! So far one of my favorite nonfiction audiobooks of all time.
(Check out Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer’s latest musing on her Schnauzer Snips page)
The title of this post makes it sound like a thrilling exposé of what really goes on behind the scenes at tierneycreates: drama, intrigue, maybe even a little scandal…
No not that exciting – just recent photos of my studio where I do my tierney-creating!
The back wall where I keep my fabric scraps by color, and my cutting table where I hide underneath those things that-are-not-finished (that brightly colored batik quilt it meant to distract the viewer from what is beneath…).
To the lower right of the photo you will see my mini design wall. I learned from a quilting friend that it is handy to have a smaller portable design wall.
My sewing machine and ironing board (two very essential items!) I got the idea from another quilter to cover my ironing board with a towel to make ironing smoother and easier. Sometimes I also use a cotton dishtowel to iron small pieces on.
My wonderful brother gave me the sewing table for my birthday last year and the leaf folds down and the table becomes a small cabinet if I need more room).
My IKEA Billy Bookcase of fabric! This organization came out of my massive fabric purge in 2015 (see post The Fabric Purge!). The curtains in the room are made from a sari my friend Jenny brought back from her trip to India for me.
My storage closet with custom made sliding doors which I first discussed in the post Rethinking a Closet. One door has sheet metal mounted to serve as a magnetic idea board. The other has batting attached to serve as a design wall (refer to all my posts on “What’s on the Design Wall).
I am not sure why I selected the color yellow when I painted this room 8 or so years ago. Somedays I think: “I am going to paint it white or some other neutral color”. Yellow can be overstimulating, but I simply embrace the over stimulation and decorate the room with brightly colored things – like this lovely quilt my friend Judy made me and several silk screen prints from an artist friend in my youth (the other silk screen is in the first photo).
I like to watch “quilting movies” (movies you don’t really have to pay close attention to) and documentaries while I am quilting on the screen below.
Another brightly colored piece of art in my studio – a wallhanging from my friend Betty Anne.
Well back to creating in the tierneycreates Studio – I better not keep that Design Wall empty for too long!
This post is really the “Part II” of the previous post: “Creative Inspiration: Where I Started…” in which I discuss my inspiration to create series of small recycled clothing quilts based on the first quilt book I owned: Quilts! Quilts!! Quilts!!! (McClun & Nownes, 1998).
The “Big Magic” of Creativity
I am currently listening to a wonderful audiobook by Elizabeth Gilbert, read by the author – Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear (2015). In the inspirational book Gilbert proposes that Ideas are entities unto themselves that move among us searching for a home/host to bring them fully into existence.
If an idea visits you and you do not grab onto it, it will move to someone else. She also discusses the concept “multiple discovery” (simultaneous inventions by different individuals not aware of what the other is working on). She proposes that when an Idea is ready to “be born”, it will visit numerous people to find someone who is going to bring it into existence. This is all part of the “Big Magic” and mystery of creativity and the creative process.
The Ohio Star Idea (magical “multiple discoveries”?)
The traditional quilt pattern “Ohio Star” popped into my head. I mentioned to my creative partner on The Wardrobe Meets the Wall my idea of making some recycled clothing/garment manufacturing samples quilts based on the Quilts! Quilts!! Quilts!!! book. I did not mention that the traditional pattern, “Ohio Star” had popped into my head.
At first she hesitated on the concept and then remarked: “An Ohio Star done with the recycled silks would be interesting”.
The Quilts! Quilts!! Quilts!!! book does not contain the Ohio Star pattern. It was like we both just came up with the same idea at the same time! I was completely overwhelmed that she randomly mentioned “Ohio Star” when I was thinking it at the same time. There are so many traditional quilt block patterns – why did “Ohio Star” pop into both of our minds.
The Ohio Star Silk Experiment
Of course, I had to try and make a small recycled clothing quilt with the Ohio Star quilt block pattern! I found an image of an “Ohio Star” on the web and reverse engineered it.
My challenge: The quilts I have made so far from recycled clothing materials, such as silk garment manufacturing samples, have been using free form, intuitive piecing techniques. In order to create a traditional Ohio Star block, I had to use more accurate piecing techniques.
Using a special interfacing, I backed on the thinner silk pieces to stabilize them for cutting into specific small shapes (such as triangles). Silk is not as forgiving as cotton when piecing a block and it was a new experience to try and make a traditional block with silks!
On the design wall photo below, you will see I have completed the basic Ohio Star block. I am working on an inner border and outer border for this piece. I will post the completed small quilt top in the future.
I consider this experiment a warm up for the project to make a series of small quilts from recycled clothing inspired by traditional quilt patterns from Quilts! Quilts!! Quilts!!!
We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we where we started and know the place for the first time.
– T.S. Elliot
This post continues my series of posts on Sources of Creative Inspiration.
I was wandering a thrift shop today with some friends, and came across the first official quilting book I ever owned: Diana McClun and Laura Nownes’ book Quilts! Quilts!! Quilts!!! The Complete Guide to Quiltmaking (1998). I bought this book in the late 1990s, I still have this book in my personal collection, but I have not looked at it for years.
I have been struggling to find a new source of inspiration for my next art quilt made from recycled clothing scraps/manufacturing samples for The Wardrobe Meets the Wall Collection. Since completing Abandoned Structure, I have been “bereft of creative inspiration” for my next piece (and if you see my previous post Terry the *Not* Quilting Husband, I am thinking about letting the sewing machine rest awhile and working on paper craft projects!)
Seeing the book Quilts! Quilts!! Quilts!!! The Complete Guide to Quiltmaking (1998) suddenly creatively inspired me!
IDEA: I am going to do a series of small quilts made from recycled clothing based on patterns from this book.
I am going to return where I started for awhile, traditional quilt making, but with my art quilting medium: recycled clothing and silk samples from garment manufacturing (which is ironically, the true traditional medium: utilitarian quilts were made from worn clothing in the old days!)
I will post pieces from this series, more to come…
Check out Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer’s Schnauzer Snips page for her updates…
I have been working for a while on downsizing my stuff and reducing clutter in my life (see recent post The Space in Which We Live).
As part of this process I have been working through my craft magazine collection (as a prequel to some day conquering my craft book collection – see post Craft Book Hoarder?!?!?!).
Since 2008 I have been reading and collecting Interweaves’s Cloth-Paper-Scissors Studios magazine (who’s tagline is “inspiration & ideas for your art and craft space).
In order to let go a a magazine, I feel like I have to read it again or at least skim it and see if there is anything interesting in the issue that I want to reference or stick in the back of my mind. So I stacked all my old issues of Cloth-Paper-Scissors Studios magazine and started going through them.
I came across this great article in the Spring/Summer 2009 issue by Lesley Riley: “Clutter Out Creativity In: 10 Steps to a More Artful Studio”, and I wanted to share a listing of her steps to deal with studio clutter. I think they are fairly self-explanatory but I have added a couple comments based on the article or my own experience.
Hoarding is a primitive instinct (but having a more limited selection may force you to be more creative!)
Know thyself (think about what colors and fabrics you now enjoy working with and consider ditching the rest)
Treat your stash like your clothes (in your closet if you have not worn something in a long time or it no longer fits you, maybe it is time to get rid of it – the same applies to using fabric)
It’s not “all or nothing” (you don’t have to get rid of things all at once, you can whittle it down over time)
Take your time (relax and find time to slow sort your stash)
Share your favorites (shared a little of your favorite fabrics with others)
Spread the wealth (I personally enjoy donating fabric I no longer need to the local Humane Society Thrift Shop as I know it can be a treasure to a fellow crafter who stumbles upon it and the proceeds help support the animal shelter)
Create coordinated bundles
The artist, not the fabric, makes the art
You control the fabric (it does not control you!)
After I finishing letting go of my already read (twice) Cloth-Paper-Scissors Studiosmagazine, I can’t promise I will never buy an issue again. This is truly a wonderful magazine with glimpses into artists’ studios and their inspiration.
As John Donne said: “No man (or woman) is an island”. I guess one could live as a hermit somewhere, locked away, working on your art, encouraging yourself creatively. That would not work for me. I appreciate and I am inspired by encouragement from others.
Continuing my series on sources of Creative Inspiration, this post is actual inspired by a surprise I found that last evening.
We all have those precious items from our past that we keep tucked away somewhere. One of my most precious items was a book of William Shakespeare’s Sonnets from my 9th Grade English teacher. I have not seen it in many years and I thought that for some reason during a move it got lost; or I accidentally donated it to a thrift shop in a stack of books for donation.
I mourned its loss.
Last night I was checking the far recesses of my nightstand cabinet, which I store books I am going to “read someday in bed each night before I fall asleep”, but never get around to reading. I was curious what I had way in the back and found my old beloved book!!! I had not opened it in 8 or more years and forgot exactly my teacher had inscribed inside the cover.
My eyes flooded with tears when I read her inscription which included the words “in recognition of her excellent writing ability”. I have always loved writing (and have written a lot in my professional pay-the-bills RN career) and I forgot how much I loved it when I was in grade school through high school. (Disclaimer: I may not have mastered grammar or proofreading but I still love to write!)
Just reading these words again from my 9th grade English teacher made me feel as inspired in that moment as I did all those years ago. Her words of encouragement from the past resonate with me now, like she is right here with me saying: “Tierney, keep writing, I believe in you“.
As far as quilting projects, I am so inspired creatively when I receive encouragement on a piece I am working on or one I have completed. I am encouraged creatively when I am uninspired to work on an art quilt and a friend encourages me to just start playing with the fabric and the inspiration with come in no time. One of my favorite silk art quilts I have made, Color Change, came out of sitting around with a friend having her throw fabric scraps at me for fun, saying “Here, why not try putting this combination together”, when I was feeling too intimidated to work on another silk scrap quilt.
Check out Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer’s blog on the Schnauzer Snips page for her latest insights from a 16 inch tall person’s point of view…
Time to continue my series on my sources of creative inspiration. In my last post on creative inspiration, Creative Inspiration: Organization?!?!?, I explored how getting organized makes me feel inspired creatively.
Recently I have been thinking about how written or spoken words inspire me creatively.
Not just any words. The “words” that inspire me are motivational words, inspirational sayings, words of truth, insights into the human struggle, words with meaning – words that matter.
The Spoken Word
In previous posts I discussed some of my favorite nonfiction audiobooks (see my series “Life is Nonfiction”) that I enjoy listening to while walking or working on a quilt. Most of these books are in the “self-help” or “self-improvement” genre and they inspire me to be bold and take chances creatively with my art or with my tierneycreates business.
Recently I listened to some very inspirational audiobook with lots of “great words” to inspire me:
Do Over: Rescue Monday, Reinvent Your Work, and Never Get Stuck by Jon Acuff
The Tools: Transform Your Problems Into Courage, Confidence, and Creativity by Phil Stulz and Barry Michels
I continue to be addicted to self-improvement books and they inspire my creativity. When a book encourages me to be brave and take risks, I translate this into my work on art quilts or new ideas for tierneycreates. These books reinforce what I already know deep in my spirit but somehow do not implement in day to day life.
There are some wonderful quotes that stick with me and encourage me to continue on my creative artistic journey:
“Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best.” – Henry Van Dyke
“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” – Lao Tzu
“Life is a balance of holding on and letting go.” – Rumi
All these quotes I have posted in my house somewhere: in a frame, on a bulletin board, or in a piece of wall art. I feel like the words in these quotes are part of me. They make me feel safe to do my art and to go where I want to go creatively.
One of the quotes is by Rumi. Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī was a 13th century Persian poet and scholar. I am currently listening to an audiobook, Pure Water – Poetry of Rumi and I want to close this post about inspirational words with one of Rumi’s poems, The Guest House.
The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness
comes as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
In my posts Look Look I am in a Book and Oh Wow! I shared my excitement of having several of my quilts selected to be in a book about quilting inspiration called 1000 Quilt Inspirations: Colorful and Creative Designs for Traditional, Modern, and Art Quilts by Sandra Sider. Well the other day my copy of the book arrived in the mail and I was…overwhelmed. Quilt images from 300 artists from 20 countries were selected for this book – and I am one of them!
I am a wanna-be art quilter and I dream someday of “quitting my day job” or at least moving to a part-time version of my health care industry day job and focusing most my energies on tierneycreates and creating. Being in this book feels like a step towards that dream. One of important things I did to advance on this path is to join SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates). Through SAQA I found about the call for entries for this book as well as call for entries for other shows I have entered (and been accepted to). I was also very inspired by an article in the SAQA Journal by Carol Ann Waugh on “Becoming a Professional Artist”. I wrote Ms. Waugh to thank her for this incredible article which outlines the steps to become a professional art quilter!
After the initial “intense floating” around the house (and around town on my errands) over seeing sections from five of my quilts in this book in person, I settled back to earth and thought about: “why am I really excited to be in this book?”
I am fortunate to know and interact with several real professional art quilters who have authored their own art quilting and/or traditional quilting books, been in endless shows as well as featured in many books. I greatly admire them and their art, however I realized that is not my goal and not why I was primarily excited about being in this book.
What is most exciting about being in this book is that something that I created might inspire someone else to create. A quilter in Des Moines, Iowa who is looking for color or design inspiration might be leafing through the book and come across my pieces in the book and go – “Aha – that is it!”. What an honor to provide inspiration to someone you never met and will likely never met. I am fortunate to have been inspired by so many talented people I have never met. It is all about sharing our inspiration and hopefully inspiring someone else to take chances, risks and be bold & fearless in their quilt creations!
Below are photos of the quilts that are in the 1000 Quilt Inspirations book. Much thanks to Betty Anne Guadalupe of Guadalupe Designs for her wonderful professional long arm quilting on four of the five quilts that got accepted!
Random not so Random, Flying Triangles, Silk Landscape and Color Changes – images from these quilts (#0246 – #0249) are featured in the book 1000 Quilt Inspirations
A quilter walks into a quilt shop and see fabric. The quilter does not just see fabric,a quilter sees INSPIRATION! In the post “Creative Inspiration: Family” I introduced a series of posts exploring my resources for creative inspiration. This post discusses another important source of my creative inspiration: FABRIC.
Have you ever browsed in a quilt shop and been strongly drawn to a particular bolt of fabric or to an entire collection? You do not have a project in mind for this fabric but you know you just absolutely positively have to have the fabric (or a sample of each fabric from the entire collection) as it inspires you to make something with it (eventually)! However, every quilter knows this is the primary source for an out of control fabric stash, eh?
Fabric/Textiles are a major source of creative inspiration for me. When I find interesting and unique fabrics they inspire me to create something that honors their beauty. Last year I was fortunate enough to be given a small collection of African textiles from someone’s estate. I was overwhelmed with the richness and colors in these textiles. This inspired me to create a piece, called African Windows, to showcase these fabrics. I used a basic “attic windows” pattern concept where shadows are created by piecing a darker solid fabric (in this case black fabric) strategically to create the illusion of a window.
Below are photos of my quilt African Windows (2014) which was long arm quilted by Betty Anne Guadalupe of Guadalupe Designs.
A friend commented to me: “I thought your blog was just about quilting…”
If you have been following my blog you have figured out it is more than a discussion of quilting techniques and ideas. I enjoy writing about the creative process which includes the audiobooks I listen to while creating, food I enjoy when taking a break from creating (so I can be adequately nourished to continue creating), organizing the space in which I create and some general life topics that some how tie into creating. Of course I do throw in a couple quilting specific posts here and there!
This post begins a series on a topic I want to explore: Creative Inspiration. I will share some of my major sources of creative inspiration and if you are a creative person I would love hear about your sources of inspiration in the Comments.
My number one source of Inspiration is my immediate family which include my sister, brother, and parents (both deceased) as well as my husband. This post relates to inspiration from my biologic family and I will discuss inspiration from my wonderful husband in another post.
My younger sister is an amazing woman and mother. She is a very creative person. She has been a major source of inspiration as it was her reaction to the second quilt I ever made (which I sent to her as a surprise) that inspired me to embrace quilting as a hobby. I have made her and her family numerous quilts over the years and they keep them until they are complete worn and threadbare and treat each one like a precious possession. How could one not be inspired to keep quilting? She was also the one who encouraged me to “get off my butt” and pursue my dream of starting tierneycreates. She worked with me on specific tasks, goals and timelines. She helped move tierneycreates from a daydream to a reality. She continues to cheerlead and be a pivotal source of inspiration.
My younger brother is an amazing man and father. While he was in undergraduate study he knew he wanted to be in business for himself and by the time he was in graduate school he had successfully started his entrepreneurial career. As a young man he told me “I just do not want to work for someone else, I do not want to spend my life as an employee”. He has such vision and drive that he has propelled himself toward the life that he wanted, despite and roadblocks or struggles. His entrepreneurial creativity example also inspired me to start tierneycreates. I do not see me leaving my “day job” in health care anytime soon but it is exciting to experience some of what he experiences as an entrepreneur.
My mother was a very creative woman and used to teach drama. She loved color and enjoyed interior decorating. I remember as a child we had many themed rooms in our house all uniquely decorated. She passed when I was in my 20s from breast cancer. I think I inherited her flair for color and design.
My father (who passed in 2008) is my greatest source of inspiration. He was an educator, social worker, civil rights activist and community leader. Growing up in the 1970s where not a lot of African American history was taught in schools, my father thought it was important that I learn specifically about great African American innovators, inventors, activists and leaders. From a young age this inspired me to take risks despite adversity. My father grew up in the segregated South during the 1930s -1940s and he was involved in the Civil Rights Movement of the late 1950s and 1960s (he even met Martin Luther King, Jr. and other great Civil Rights leaders). Despite his experiences with great adversity and segregation he taught us to always treat everyone equally and never to think anyone is less than you because they are different from you. People are just people. He inspired my openness to new experiences, new people and new ideas, which I think is important in the creative process and defined the core of who I am as a person.
My father shared many inspiring stories with us from growing up in the South during a difficult time for minorities, here is one of them:
In the late 1940s I got on a bus and sat near a man who called me a (racial slur) and loudly said “I don’t like you, (racial slur)”. I calmly responded “but if you got to know me, you would like me.” This relaxed the tension and opened friendly dialogue. At the end of the bus ride we shook hands and pleasantly parted ways. – Raoul Davis, Sr.
Are you familiar with the Tao Te Ching? This ancient Chinese text, was according to legend, was written by Lao Tzu in the 6th century BC. It it a philosophical text which provides instructions on the way to live a virtuous life of harmony. There have been many versions of this text written and reinterpreted over the years to include The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff which share practical life lessons from the perspective of Winnie the Pooh.
Many years ago, in a special publication quilting magazine Quilts with Style, I came across “The Tao of Quilting” by Stephen Seifert – a one page take on the Tao Te Ching. I have kept this page in the front of my binder of patterns-clipped-from-quilting-magazines to continually inspire me.
THE TAO OF QUILTING by Stephen Seifert
Our lives are full of obstacles causing stress and discontent.
But a quilt can be a bridge to overcome diversions and chaos.
Water ripples in the wind, never considering who is in control.
Yet its fluid nature gives it strength to serve as a foundation to life.
Soft fabric stitched together in a quilt fills the hardest heart with love and beauty.
The simplicity of love can penetrate all, including the the most cynical mind.
Rigid stone shores appear impenetrable, but their yielding surface gives rise to life.
Evergreens soar triumphantly above the lake shore, reflecting the paradox of life.
Problems emerge and seem pressing
But over time our thoughts evolve into understanding.
Nature’s silent teachings are taught without words