A Happy Leaf on the Wind: How One Quilt Artist Catches the Breeze

sue beevers headshotClaire O'Connor

By: Claire O'Connor– QCN
Date: 04/06/2010

 

Left to my own devices, I’m a happy little leaf on the wind…making art, getting stuff done, in the flow – and periodically getting “stuck”.  So what happens when the flow isn’t flowing?  What to do when the wind ain’t blowing?  As an artist, how do I navigate my way through?  Over the years, I’ve developed a rich and reliable toolbox to help myself get going again.  Here’s a bit about two of the most essential tools: commitment and support.


THE COMMITMENT TO MY CREATIVITY (& RE-COMMITMENT)


About a year-and-a-half ago, I made a soul-level commitment to myself to put my creativity first.  My creative expression is my raison d’etre – my reason for being.  For me, it just doesn’t get any juicier than making beauty. 


The first thing I did after making this commitment was to give myself permission to have a dedicated studio space.  At first, I tiptoed around the idea, feeling the enormity and meaning of it.  Could I really “take” space from the household?  Space my husband and I had spent precious time, energy and money on the then-current use as our guest room?  Inspired by its inviting turquoise walls, bright white trim and the gurgling sound of the fountain outside the window, I thought, “Claire, honey!  If not now, then when?”  My gracious hubby obliged by adding a nice sofa bed in his office that we found for a good price on Craigslist.  And really! – why have a whole room for the only-occasional guest?  A perfect solution – ONCE I’d fully stepped into my commitment, my new studio came into being easily.



Claire O'Connor Studio 1

Claire O'Connor Studio 2

Claire O'Connor Studio 3

A little peek inside my home studio.
Click on any image to enlarge in a new window

Two months ago, I made a further commitment to an average of 20 hours of studio time per week – or 80 hours per month.  It seemed more realistic to focus of my AVERAGE hours -- some weeks, it’s easy to do 30 to 35 hours; other weeks, there are days when I hardly step foot in there.  I set up a simple chart on the wall blackboard to track and graph my studio time.  (Love that chalkboard paint!)  This tool helps keep my awareness focused so I can see whether I am ACTUALLY meeting my commitment.  And if I am not, then I get to re-commit.


What I notice in living inside these two commitments is a feeling of a spacious, enlivening container.  I feel giggly, giddy and happy, with frequent waves of appreciation – for myself for taking the leap, for my encouraging husband, for our sweet little home which is now a truer reflection of who we are and who we are on our way to becoming.

THE SUPPORT OF MY CREATIVE “TRIBE”
As artists, we usually love to work alone – I know I do.  Yet, on balance, feeling buoyed by an extended tribe of like-minded souls provides a sort of spiritual nutrition, an essential vitamin to the creative journey.   In January, I joined a group of fellow artists.  There are nine of us.  We’re all either professional artists or aspiring professional artists who are helping each other take our art practices to the next level.  We meet regularly to:

·         share our goals

·         commit publicly to them

·         hold each other accountable

·         give feedback

·         share marketing ideas, tools and techniques

·         brainstorm through our stuck areas

And we have a ton of fun doing it. 

I also find much inspiring soul food reading fellow quilter’s blogs and exploring the Quilter’s Choice Network and other online gathering places where artists connect and share their own brand of joy.  Perhaps we’ll meet there!

sue beevers headshot

Claire O’Connor makes bright, happy art quilts and watercolor paintings.  Check out her blog at http://enchantedhomeart.blogspot.com and her website at www.enchantedstudio.net.


 





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