Before QuiltCon I felt like I was in a good place with my quilting. I felt good about my ideas. I felt good about my skills, although I know I still have so much more to learn. And, I was starting to envision a bit of my quilting future. I even launched this little website and had some business cards made. (BTW, both were designed by my sister-in-law, and she is awesome.)
Then QuiltCon happened. I met some amazing people, saw some breath-taking quilts, heard some intriguing lectures, and took some classes that really got my mind turning. By the last day of the convention I was exhausted (although probably nowhere near as exhausted as the convention organizers). I was fine with this. What I wasn't enjoying was the confusion that seemed to be replacing the confidence I once felt. I know longer felt like I knew my quilter-self and returned home a little grumpy.
Since returning home I have been pushing on. I finished a twin-sized top for a friend of mine and am currently figuring out how I want to piece the backing before I take on the monstrous task of quilting it on my Bernina. I put together a "modern improv sampler" for a class I will be teaching in April. I've started another baby quilt, and have been taking part of a skill build BOM. There are a few other WIPs hanging out on my WIP cart that I also need to finish up in the next few months. Part of this need to "push on" is due to a challenge I gave myself at the beginning of the year. I didn't feel like I made enough last year; therefore, I told myself I would make, do, or craft something everyday in 2013. (I've been documenting this on my Flickr page, but please keep in mind I am not a photographer.)
The other reason I kept pushing myself forward is because I knew I would eventually figure whatever this was out. Slowly I have been having these moments where I feel like I am grasping what is happening. About a week after returning I was thinking about the redwork embroidery class I took from Rachel Hobson the first morning of the convention. Rachel is a very talented embroidery artist, and I used to read her contributions to Craft zine. While staring at the embroidery I started in her class I realized the class had opened my mind to a new way of thinking about quilting. Okay, well, a new, old way- redwork isn't exactly a new thing.
I have continued to process the realization and have been asking myself a lot of questions about my work and the quilts I saw in the QuiltCon show. They were all beautiful and clearly made by very talented people. There were a handful of quilts, particularly Sherri Lynn Woods' work, that stood out to me. The one quality their quilts had that I really admired was an organic feel to either their design, quilting, or fabric choices. I decided this is something I have to integrate into my work. Again, time for more processing.
I had two ah-ha moments within the last 24 hours. The first was when my curious nature led me to google the history of the park across the street from my house. It led me to this. The second was when I stumbled across Art Forms in Nature: The Prints of Ernst Haeckel. There is something about the rich history of the beautiful park my house overlooks and the delicate shapes and features in Haeckel's print work that are calling to me.
I am filing these two new things with my desire to integrate embroidery and an organic quality into my quilt work. Although I don't have a fully formed vision in mind I am beginning to feel more confident about my quilter-self and where I am going. The grumpy quilter slump appears to be subsiding, which is a good thing. I don't enjoy being in an unhappy place with my quilting. Onward and upward with my chin up and creative brain a-buzzing.