Sunday, November 8, 2009

That Little Voice Inside . . .

On the relatively few days of beautiful summer weather this year, I would pick out a cherished quilting book and retreat to the backyard hammock. One of my all-time favorites is Judy Dales' "Curves in Motion," a superbly written and illustrated collection of techniques and projects accompanied by photos of Judy's amazing quilts (visit her web-site here). I was fortunate to have taken a week-long workshop from this talented artist, and her generous spirit, meticulous attention to detail, and unique wit are alive on every page of her book.
Much of what Judy has written about is inspirational, and several passages resonate with me as I strive to become better at creating art quilts:
"Judging your efforts too early in the design process is inappropriate and counter-productive, but it is something that we all tend to do," she writes. "It is almost as if there is a little judgmental person inside us who is supercritical and constantly ridicules our efforts. This little person has an important function in real life, which is to warn us of danger and help us make decisions that keep us safe. . . However, when you are trying to be creative, it is important to ignore all those annoying warnings. . . Tell your little judgmental person to go sit in the corner while you work. . . Keep him quiet for now so that you can work without inhibitions and worry, and capture a spirit of playfulness and adventure."
Great advice, isn't it? So, off I go to practice what Judy preaches, although it isn't easy for me to refrain from critiquing myself as I create. Please share with me any advice you have about training yourself to work freely -- what techniques work for you?
And may you always capture your sense of play as you continually enter your world of creativity.

Diane

7 comments:

Quilt Rat said...

You attended a week log workshop with her?
OMG! that must have been awesome. I have only been quilting a couple of years and by the time I learned of Judy, her book was no longer available........thank you so much for posting this...looks like there is a purchase of an e book in my immediate future.

As far as being my own worst critic....ya I think we all do that. I started my blog to get beyond that critic. I create and quickly post the results before I have time to begin the process of deciding it's not good enough. Even though some projects don't come out quite as intended, I find that it always has appeal to someone out there.........beauty IS in the eye of the beholder.

As long as we love the creative process what more can we ask for?

Nina-Marie said...

Hey I was in a week long workshop too! I found out that although I love Judy's quilts - that technique was not for me. Still - 5 days later - I can draw and sew a great curve, a skill I've used over and over throughout the years. One thing I learned though was that learning a new technique and being creative did not mix for me. So now when I want to learn something new - I do little studies until I feel comfortable with it. When I'm creating a new piece - I design it - THEN I decide how I'm going to construct it. It lets me be freer with the design without worry that my technique won't be there.

Marilyn Rock said...

Wonderful words of wisdom!!!! Great post!

imquilternity said...

I have Judy's book too and am constantly referring to it. I have no suggestions regarding silencing our inner critic. Sometimes I can and sometimes I can't ignore it.

moosestashquilting said...

Wow I have never seen her work before. It is spectacular. Looks like I need to be finding some new books! Thanks for that wonderful inspiration.

tangled stitch said...

I struggle with that inner critic too so when you come up with your answers I'll be waiting to see them on your blog! Fabulous book too and it must have been wonderful to take a workshop with her!

Victoria said...

Wonderful words of wisdom, and very timely for me to be reading them now. Thanks for sharing this. It truly helps knowing that this internal struggle is a very universal matter which we all share. I think it helps all of us in continuing our creative growth by shining a light on it and the various ways we try to keep that inner critical voice in check.

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