Friday, February 23, 2018

Finding My Mojo

One of the questions I am asked most by people who view my work is how do I come up with ideas or what inspires me.  I usually say it is the fabric and that is mostly true.  But, I have plenty of fabric and still there are times when I am not inspired to create with it.  So what is it that REALLY inspires me?  I think it is related to how I feel, how much is going on in my life that is stressful or difficult, and how much time I have to spend in my studio.  But the biggest thing that keeps me from creating is when I have something I have to do that is challenging, difficult or just plain uninteresting to me.

Life interrupts and the emotions, good and bad, that we experience affect the way we create art.  My mother died several years ago and I have not returned to my level of productivity from before that time.  I was always very productive and could make multiple pieces in a month.  I was in my studio for some amount of time every day.   Now I will go a number of days without stepping into my studio for anything but to lay another unwanted household item of some sort onto my work table.

 Another thing that has happened in the last few years is that I told myself that I should try to work bigger and make the larger more dramatic pieces that are common in many national fiber and art shows.  Maybe I could get my work into these prestigious shows and compete with other artists if I made the larger pieces.  I have a small studio and working large is a challenge.  And I am used to making smaller pieces and I find that designing the larger ones is more difficult for me.  I have made some larger wall pieces but I struggled through the entire process. 

When I start a small quilt (say up to 20" x 24"), I am able to pick out fabrics and design a piece in a day or two. Then another day or two to quilt it and maybe another day to embellish it and the piece is done.  Sometimes it takes a few days longer than that, but if I am inspired and motivated I can pretty much follow this schedule.  The key for me is to find something that sets off the thought process and gets the wheels turning.  Many times that is a piece of fabric but it can be a particular bead, a color or combination of colors, a particular technique, or even a theme/motif.  Once I get the itch to work on something I find that it is difficult to pull myself away for the mundane chores of the household.  I am in the groove, inspired and finding the passion is easy. 

Because I told myself I should try to work big I have been avoiding doing anything!  So I finally decided I should make whatever size I am inspired to make and not try to force something that I'm obviously not finding inspiring.  I find that I usually procrastinate when I have to do something challenging or difficult.  Some artists will meet those challenges head on and love that. 

I think I enjoy the flow of creativity more than trying to work things out that don't come naturally to me.  That isn't to say that I always want to the same old thing and actually I have experimented with many different techniques and styles in my work over the years.  I have done some very innovative pieces and enjoyed the challenge of making them work.  But taking on a challenge that is not creatively inspiring to me just doesn't seem to be motivating for me.  I have always worked by inspiration. 

So, this year I am going to go with the flow.  I'm going to create fun pieces that I like and that I hope my customers will like.  Maybe some will be bigger but that remains to be seen.  Each one is as it should be and I will just let it happen.  I feel inspired already!!


Arja said...

Heidi, I love your work and I agree that you should do what you enjoy. That is not to say that you shouldn't experiment but if it keeps you out of the studio, it is not worth the stress. I also procrastinate when one of my projects isn't working out the way I would like or I have a problem to solve on a project. I don't push it, sometimes I just have to leave it and come back to it later and I'll have the answer or a breakthrough. Do what you love.

Heidi Zielinski said...

Thanks, Arja! I appreciate your thoughts!

Finding My Mojo

One of the questions I am asked most by people who view my work is how do I come up with ideas or what inspires me.  I usually say it is the...