In March 2016, 3rd Story Workshop was born. It was born out of a need to carve out my own creative space that was separate from my two young kids. 2017 looked completely different from that. To start off the year, my guiding word was “GIVE.” I wanted to invite people into my creative world. I wanted others to achieve their creative goals. I wanted to let others in on what knowledge I have to offer. I looked out. I wanted to know what was going on. I wanted to understand where I fit.
NYE doodle. 2016 was a selfish year for me, in good ways and bad. As we come out of a season of giving, I am reflecting on what the word "give" will mean for me in 2017. It not only means more generosity of time for the people around me, but also allowing for a little give in my days and weeks for life to happen.
Social media allows us to form a community around very niche interests, such as modern quilting. I love that I have connected with so many talented, interesting, engaged, thoughtful people in this past year. But as we know, it can also be a dangerous trap of comparison. “Why haven’t I accomplished this yet?” “So-and-so has X number of followers.” “Why can’t I…?” But then I look back on 2017 and below is a list of things that have come to be in the last 365 days, outside of my part-time day job and family/community life.
- 2 local exhibits: Pre-Shrunk and Oh! Canada
- Launched a blog with 39 blog posts to date, including 5 artist interviews
- First time in a non-local publication: Uppercase #33
- 2 podcast interviews: Modern Sewciety and American Patchwork and Quilting Radio
- 3 tutorials: Improv Birch Trees, Quick Improv Pin Cushions, Canada Geese Flag
- 2 quilts shown at Quilt Con: Crow Quills Analog and Land & Sea
- 1 artist residency: The Here & Elsewhere Bee
- 7 patterns launched
- 6 quilt finishes: Snow City, Fox with Birch Trees, Wood Type Quilt, Royal Court, The Here & Elsewhere Bee, Icebergs & Narwhals
- Countless pillows and mini-quilts, including Log Cabin A
I think I succeeded in changing the course of my work to turn outward; to see what the world could use and give where I can. Where I may have failed was that “GIVE” was also supposed to mean a little “give” in my days to allow for unexpected things to happen, a little more leeway for things to happen spontaneously.
Instead I ended up learning all the things. I tried my hand at English paper piecing, painted fabric, made a million flying geese. I took two Craftsy classes on free-motion quilting and started integrating those techniques into my work. However, sometimes my love of learning turned into an endless pursuit of the the next blog post, the next Instagram money shot, the next thing. Which brings me to my word for 2018:
There are long-term goals that I want to accomplish. And I have to get the wheels in motion on them and prioritize them above the social media marketing and outward appearances. I do want to keep up the blog, the newsletter, and my Instagram posts, but those need to become less central and become a by-product of other things. They need to be worked seamlessly into my workflow. I’m determined to figure it out a system of how it could work better.
My overarching goal in 2018 will be learning how to be an artist. I have been a designer for over a decade and that label will always feel comfortable to me and suit me in all aspects of my life. The title of “artist”, on the other hand, I have a great deal of resistance to. Or have until now. That’s what 2018 will be. Learning to be an artist, with focus.
Happy New Year.