Thanks to the Sew Mama Sew’s series, I’ve been casting back and thinking through where I’ve been so that I know where I want to go. Like any number of people, in past years I have wanted to come up with something *awesome* for the new year, something to work towards, something that at the end of my goal, I’d be able to pump my fist high in the air like Rocky, maybe, with a most excellent theme song running in the background (do you know Rocky? Hm. May need to reevaluate my references). My resolutions, they’ve run the gamut: healthy ones (whole foods, diet, exercise, drink water), work ones (finish grad school without losing myself, being fully present when I was teaching, um, get a paying job), and home ones (how not to go crazy being a SAHM, finish that painting project, what do you mean the oven just exploded?), and quilty ones (start my own business, get published, get out there, grow in my work).
And 2013 has been a wild, wild ride, and none of them were resolutions beyond starting a longarm business to quilt for others. I had my first two quilt patterns published by Modern Quilts Unlimited (wrote about that here and here), and MQU asked me to speak about one of them, my Greek key/Log Cabin spiral “Modern Spin” at their sponsored talk at QuiltCon.
My other quilt, “All Together Now”, is now on my son’s bed (after visiting MQX for a bit, in the juried show):
I took loads of classes: some were on things that I knew something about, and some things I didn’t (hand applique with Debbie Esch, an improv workshop with Denyse Schmidt). I learned so much, about teaching to people of so many backgrounds and ages, in particular, and I learned the kinds of classes I want to take and what I wanted to offer. I taught some classes at my LQS. I entered a modern mini challenge with another of my designs:
I made a quilt for my daughter and realized that while I am not hugely inspired by precuts, I lovelovelove having a whole line in little bits:
I went to MQX. And Quilt Market, where I made this quilt for RJR:
I am working on that book that I wanted to do (with Stash!). Maddie over at Bad Ass Quilter’s Society asked me to talk at her networking shindig, which was a hugely inspiring event and really thought-provoking–where are we as an industry, as makers, as women? Where do we want to go, and what do we want that to look like? And not even close to being on my bucket list, I worked with Craftsy to make a free class.
I got to go back to the highschool I used to teach at and lecture on archaeology and reading material culture as text (podcast with my good friend isn’t up yet). There’s so, so much more that happened, and I don’t know quite how to fit it all in. And some I still can’t talk about. So, when I think about 2013, it was the year of simply being present, being open, and being adventurous enough to do things even when the jump seemed long, and the pants might be scared off me.
The things I accomplished, I accomplished because of some very real and authentic connections I made with other women who also love and are passionate about this work and art we do. My first kick in the pants came from Angela Walters, who first told me to submit my quilt to MQU, and then who became a mentor and friend (seriously, check out her new website, the Business of Machine Quilting if you’re thinking about quilting as a business). Lisa Sipes, who offers inspiration and help, suggestions on what to think about and where to find information (and a fun roommate at Quilters Take Manhattan!). Maddie Kertay, Bari J., Melissa Averinos, Rose Hughes, Molly Hanson, Ebony Love, Annabel Wrigley, Nikki, Ivy, all the gals at ModQImprovB… these women give so much of their love and passion for this work, and they offer so much of themselves to others. And they are always, so very much, truly themselves.
After all of this year, I came away feeling like the people I have found and made connections with are truly authentic–they make the quilts, the quilting, their lives and their work truly a reflection of who they are. Good folk. They are proud of their work and look to be better, always, as human beings and as quilters and as supporters of each other. And I find it really, really inspiring. And also, I think, the beginning of a groundswell to something new on the horizon.
I don’t know that I am really resolved to make resolutions, so much as I am setting my intentions for this coming year: I’ve been working on form and technique (don’t we all, though?), I’ve worked to still my mind and be present, and, more than that, I feel like I’ve defined what it is that I want to truly be in this weird blended world of art and craft, industrial business machine, social media, and self promotion. I’ve been doing some of these things for a while, and it feels right, so I am setting my intentions to
- be authentic.
- be a resource (can’t seem to break free of that teacher life I used to lead)
- be inquisitive (remind me to tell you some theories on gender, social class, quilting, the Victorians, and how modern shows reflect all that)
- be kind, especially to myself, since I am the one I feel like it’s OK to be harsh on, ya know?
- be forward. Forward thinking, forward moving, forward … forward. Outspoken. An advocate.
I find that the written word helps us formulate our intentions more concretely. We are more likely to remember and honor them. Feel free to share your intentions for the year, if you wish! I’d love for us all to realize a few of them, if we can. Happy quilting, my friends. May your next year be full of growth and happiness!