Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Do Artists Ever Really Retire?

My version of a Buddhist Toran - Tibetan Prayer Flag
I say I'm retired.  I consider myself retired.  So why am I still working?  I still make quilts when the inspiration hits me.  I'm writing this blog every day.  I'm constantly creating something.  I can't help myself. The thing is, I don't think of creating as work.  I guess it's a passion.  The need to be creating is something that has been inside me all of my life. 

Every elective in junior and senior high school was an art class.  Those were the only classes that I really enjoyed.  I tried every crafty fad that came along: paper mache jewelry, macrame, decoupage, candle-making, embroidery, tie-dye.  And all that was in the 60s when I was a teenager. During the 70s and early 80s I was creating a family, so some other things had to be pushed to the back burner, but when the kids were young, we did all kinds of crafty things together. 

While I was going to college, I didn't have time for crafts but I was still creating every time I wrote a paper for a class.  One of my very first classes was a writing class.  I loved every second of that class.  We wrote poems, short fiction, and long term papers.  I loved it so much that I also started writing for our small local newspaper as soon as I had completed that first class.  Later, I graduated to writing for various newsletters and took a couple of freelance writing jobs.  All that was fun but I really enjoyed writing papers for my classes - the ones that required research and organization. I liked the challenge of it.

By the time I graduated, I had already opened a quilt shop.  Although I had made a quilt back in the early 70s, the 'quilting bug' didn't bite me until I wrote a paper about my mother's quilting group.  I made a small quilt so I could include information and photos on how to do it. I discovered that quilting had changed a lot over those twenty years: new tools, new methods, wonderful colorful fabrics.  The old traditional quilts have never appealed to me very much.  I can appreciate the beauty and workmanship in a finely-crafted traditional quilt, but that is not what I was interested in making.  I love the bold fabric combinations and unusual patterns of the modern art quilts.  I also like seeing something that someone else has done and challenging myself to do it better. The possibilities are endless.

And that's what I can't let go of. I see a new fabric or a new design idea and I can't help myself.  I just have to try it - see what I can do with it.  This blog is the same kind of thing.  I actually wrote a couple of blogs ten years ago, but I called them travel journals and I was writing to my family and friends.  I was always surprised when someone else found them and commented. I had never heard of the term blog.  So this is something relatively new and exciting for me. Who knows where it will go?  Maybe nowhere, but like my quilting, I'll just keep on writing and see where it leads me.



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