This was the 4th month of the Modern Quilts Unlimited magazine/Michael Miller fabric “What’s Old is New” block challenge. The traditional block was “Card Trick”. For some reason the ideas were just not coming, plus there was The International Quilt Festival to go to, and a dressage clinic to organize and ride in. Finally, the week it was due, I worked on several possibilities on EQ7 and had 4 card trick “blocks” encircling the block. My daughter, Sarah, suggested to tuck them all together. I thought, “well that’s not going to be easy”. So I printed out my original version, cut them out, taped them together, and then redesigned it on EQ7, and added the 2 tone effect for each “corner”. I had to fiddle with the layout to get the paper piecing groupings to work out, but even with that I had four set-in seams (Thank you, Gyleen Fitzgerald for your technique for doing set-in seams! If you don’t know it, you can watch it on THE Quilt Show). I had to hand applique the final middle square onto the top to finish it off. (I am redesigning it to eliminate the set-in seams and the hand appliqued middle square). I was really pleased with how it turned out. Next was naming it. Jerry and Sarah didn’t like any of the names I came up with. Thought about it for 2 days and on the day it was due, I showed it to Jerry again and said “What about 4 of a kind?” And he said, “I don’t see 4 of a kind”. He pointed out that two of the small corner blocks were reversed in color. So instead of an orange on the very tip, I had a teal. I couldn’t believe that I had looked at this block for days, and didn’t see it! Neither did Sarah. So, I tramped up the stairs, ripped that part out, and redid that section…just in time to submit it! After all that, I finally decided on “Card Trick on Steroids” but wish now I had just named it “Texas Card Trick” since I’m a Texan and everything is bigger here!
When I was a little girl, I drew all the time…mostly horses. I could look at a picture and duplicate it freehand. But, I never thought that I was creative, because I couldn’t make an accurate drawing of something that I just pictured in my mind. My drawings were not unique, original designs; therefore, I was not creative. So, I didn’t pursue art (Right brain). Instead, I went the science route (Left brain).
But, what I didn’t realize until now, is that I have always been creative; I just didn’t recognize it. I will call it…creativity incognito.
Lately, I have been thinking a lot about creativity and what is involved with that process. On my last morning at the International Quilt Festival, I was sitting in the coffee shop drinking my coffee (and had had enough coffee by that time that I could be conversant!) when a 30 something young woman sat across from me. She is from east Texas and comes to the show every year. I asked what classes she was taking. “Oh, no classes! We just come to shop and look at the quilts”. She said that she really liked the more modern quilts and I readily agreed that they had some amazing modern quilts at the show. She enthusiastically told me about the book, “Modern Neutrals” by Amy Ellis and that she had already made 4 or 5 of the quilts in it. I told her that I have been working on some of my own modern designs and using EQ7 (quilt design program) and iDraw to design blocks and quilts. I was really surprised when this tech-savvy girl said “I could never do that!” I said “Quilting is a lot like cooking, start with a recipe and spice it up, change it up to suit your own taste.” Her reply was, “I always follow the recipe”.
I have been thinking about that conversation all week. I have a ton of cookbooks, and when making something new and really different, I start with a recipe that someone else has perfected…but even then, I may tweak it a bit. This ease in the kitchen comes from years of cooking (don’t want to tell you how many), learning techniques, knowing what ingredients go together well and just doing, i.e. experience and experimenting. I am now doing the same with my quilting: I don’t follow the recipe. Maybe I am creative!
In upcoming blog posts, I’ll explore more about the process of creativity and my creative journey.