Posts Tagged ‘artist life’

Bribing Yourself: A Disciplined Approach To Finishing Quilts

July 27, 2016

The paths in my studio are wide enough now that I no longer have to do the Sewing Room Shuffle to get from the door to the sewing machine. This is great news, because it means I’ve consolidated enough of my piles to get some swinging room. The less great news is I can see the only way I will make more progress clearing up is by finishing projects.

Falling Flowers - finished and logged

Falling Flowers – finished and logged

Most often I finish projects based on deadlines. If the quilt is a gift, there’s a deadline. If I’m entering a contest, there’s a deadline. If I’m entering a quilt show, there’s a deadline. The hard part is finishing the art quilts. I usually have no deadline for them, because I’m trying to create a body of work that I can use for contests and shows and thus avoid the panic of meeting the cutoff date.

Now, the disciplined artist would just get herself settled into the studio and do the work. Me, I need a bribe. Currently, that bribe is my log book. I note every quilt I finish, and at the end of the year compare the number of projects completed to previous years.

Lani Longshore log book

The clever part of my discipline bribe is that I’ve defined finished as quilted, bound, labeled and sleeved. Until all of those things are done, the quilt isn’t finished. When they are done, the quilt goes in the log book, and is available for contests and shows. My output has been low, but now that I can actually get to all those unquilted tops there is always the log book bribe to keep me going.

Bound, not labeled, not logged

Bound, not labeled, not logged

Luck and wisdom!

Permission to Wander

April 25, 2012

A couple of weeks ago I went to a local art gallery to see an exhibit of quilts. The exhibit was smaller than I expected and I had almost an hour before I had to be at a meeting. Not enough time to go home and do something useful, but still too much to squander.

Or was it? I gave myself permission to wander downtown, had a delightful time, and was in a much more receptive state when I finally arrived at my meeting.

That got me thinking about my sewing room, and whether I give myself permission to wander in there often enough. I am constantly collecting materials to inspire ideas –

and supplies –


and embellishments –

but when I go in the room I’m there to work. Work implies progress, and progress implies having something to show for my time. Whether it’s a new quilt or a tidied shelf, I want to be able to prove that I haven’t squandered the day.

And yet . . . is flipping through the art books really squandering the day? Is pulling out the drawers and letting my fabric and embellishments inspire me wasting time? If I have the luxury of a day to think, to absorb, to wonder, don’t I owe it to myself as an artist to enjoy it?