Monday, March 26, 2007

Time Becomes Meaningless in the Face of Creativity

Quite a few years ago, I purchased a refrigerator magnet at the gift shop of a local art museum that says, "Time Becomes Meaningless in the Face of Creativity." Oftentimes I reflect on that simple statement and how it relates to my life and my quilting.

When I first brought that magnet home, I think I related to it more on the level of being "time challenged." Yes, it's true that I've always taken joy in creating things on some level, but back then, I wasn't as deeply engaged in creative pasttimes as I later became when I discovered quilting. Back then, I would just get caught up in something when I was supposed to be doing something else--like getting to work on time! LOL!

Now, though, I look at that statement and think how apt it is when it comes to quilt making. I can't tell you how often I seem to lose track of time when I'm working on something related to quilting. How many times have I daydreamed about a quilt idea? How many times have I felt a need to finish a block or a section of a quilt before I could start dinner? How many times have I laid in bed with block ideas milling around in my brain, keeping me awake when I needed to get up for work in the morning? Or even worse, how often have I dreamed quilt patterns?

The statement works too when I think about the amount of time it takes to make a quilt. Sure, we all squeeze in quick little projects from time to time, but to carry out a more elaborate quilt project, from cutting to binding, takes an enormous time commitment! But it really doesn't matter how much time it will take, does it? Not when it's a really fantastic idea that screams out to be transformed by fabric!

I remember I attended an AQS quilt show in Reno not long after I began to quilt--maybe a year or so after I started. The featured artist was Zena Thorpe (check out her quilts!), and I got to see some of her masterpieces up close and personal and talk with her about them. Well, of course you all know what quilt novices ask: "How long did it take to make that?" Yep, I was still wet behind the ears and dumb enough to think there was an answer to that question! Luckily for me, though, Zena's a very determined, one-track quilter--not the type to flit from quilt to quilt and amass UFOs. She was able to tell me that most of her larger applique quilts take about a year from the time she starts until the time she finishes. Wow, that seemed like an eternity to me then. But do you know what? I have quilts--one in particular comes to mind--that by the time I finish, I will have probably put in quite close to that amount of time--or I would if I hand quilted it like Zena does. And it really doesn't matter. I don't quilt for instant gratification--not usually, anyway. Not on the projects that matter, and I do like to have a project or two in the works that really gets me creatively excited!

I wish I could quilt all day, but I can't. I have to work. Nevertheless, I manage to put in at least two to three hours after work each day in the Sweat Shop and probably about ten hours on most weekends. At least that's about what I'd estimate. But then again, who knows? After all, time becomes meaningless in the face of creativity!

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