Friday, August 14, 2009

Good Advice

Melinda Bula was the guest speaker last night at the Antelope Valley Quilt Association, where I've been a member since 2002. She was warm, funny, and very inspiring. Her quilts are amazing. If you haven't seen her work, you must check it out. She is one of those "painterly" quilters, the ones that take a photograph and paint it in fabric. Again, amazing. I could relate to a lot of her background: getting scraps from her mom's sewing trash to make her own Barbie clothes, wanting to learn how to use the sewing machine at a young age, going with her mom to buy patterns and fabric. For me, that was always the best part of any shopping trip: stopping at the fabric store. In junior high and high school, I would save my babysitting money to buy fabric and patterns. I still have those patterns, and scraps of some of the fabrics. For the past couple years, Mom has been cleaning out her house, slowly divesting herself of things that she doesn't use. I was so excited when she asked if I wanted her old patterns! Among them was a dress pattern she made for me to wear to her younger brother's wedding. I so loved that dress. Also included were her patterns from the 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s. I can't wait to use them. Some of them aren't really my style, but I could work with them. Others, well, they're just too cool. I love the full skirts and fitted bodices. When I see multi-media artists using old patterns in their collages, part of me just cringes. To cut up those wonderful old patterns.........ah well, to each his own.

But I digress.

One of the things Melinda said that really hit home for me was not to be afraid to enter your work into shows. She showed a quilt, her first one, that didn't have straight seams, points didn't match, and there were wrinkles in the backing from the quilting. It won ribbons. She also said that there is no such thing as perfection. I've always known this to be true, but I'm so critical of myself and my work, as many of us are. I need to let go. I need to learn to trust in my skills. I've been sewing for so many years, I know I'm good. Yes, there will always be more to learn, and I do love to learn! There will always be better, easier and faster ways to do something. But I am artistic. I love fabric, pencils, paints, paper, etc., etc. I will let go. I will put myself, and my work, "out there" for all to see. It's time. I have begun........

1 comment:

  1. Michele, I played with Barbies long after girls my age were doing so, but the playing was really learning how to sew clothing for them! That is how I learned clothing construction! I remember once I made the twelve days of Christmas gowns for my Barbie, and had such a wonderful time dreaming up the dresses and then executing their design. What a great way to learn! The patterns from your Mom's stuff are a true treasure; don't let them go. I recently paid $25 for a 1953 McCalls pattern book - each time I look at it, it invokes such wonderful memories of my childhood!
    xox - b