I am currently having the opportunity to observe my creative process. This all has become very apparent to me as I began to undertake my first "mystery quilt". For those of you not privvy to this activity, the directions are doled out a month at a time (as is the case in my guild), and after the 5-6 months of directions, you end up with a surprise quilt.
Some people plan a quilt or other project with great care and planning. The colors, the design, the fabric acquisition, the borders, the binding, the batting, the backing, etc., are all decided upon beforehand, much as a professional does when contracting for a job. It is not left to happenstance or midstream changes - everything is written out beforehand. Well, that is not me. I've always known this fact, but this activity has made me more acutely aware, and I actually am stepping back and watching this whole process of mine unfold. Yes, I guess I could blame my schizo life-style...half time in BC and halftime in Mazatlan. But I'm not looking to place blame here....just observe. I really don't think there's any other reasoning than it's just me.
Month #1 had a major heading at the top : "Sept. 2009 - Fabric acquisition and step 1". There were three parts to this page: (part 1) finished size and fabric needed, (part 2) fabric suggestions for each of the 6 steps, and (part 3) directions for step 1. Here's where my trouble began - I read SOME of part 1 and then went directly to parts 2 and 3. In part one, I read that I needed 6 fat quarters that went together but totally passed over the other fabric requirements, which happened to be alot of fabric - for background, inner and outer borders, binding, backing etc. I never had a clear idea of the size of this quilt. I told myself I would deal with it once I arrived and got settled in Mazatlan. But I did follow the directions in parts 2 and 3 that told me to cut twelve 5"x5" squares from a focus or pictorial fabric (the rooster above) and then I threw together some fat quarters that I had in my stash, put everything in my suitcase and headed south.
October arrived and my second set of directions was sent by email. I was directed to make twenty 5"x5" squares using fat quarter#2 and the background fabric. "Background fabric????" I said to myself. "What background fabric?" I now go back to September's directions and see this whole section that totally passed by my attention. So now, anxious to get started, I am making myself go back to the beginning and I am putting together my fabric for the WHOLE project (well, maybe not the backing!).
And what do I observe? Reading ALL the directions and moving along step by step are challenges for me. The idea of taking a moment to visualize a potential finished project is almost foreign to me. I tend to either get in a hurry or get so focused on one little element that the whole gets lost in the process. I can't tell you how many times one little VERY IMPORTANT element has gone unnoticed. It's embarrassing... but it's me! I honor my serendipitous, seat of the pants, flexible, adaptive ways, but stepping back and observing my process through this mystery quilt can also be used to my benefit. Maybe I'm the mystery to be solved in all of this. I love surprises!