Re-entry back in to reality from a vacation, retreat, or conference never comes without that bittersweet flavor that only the real world delivers. I recently had the privilege to teach at QuiltCon in Pasadena, California. As a California native, I was delighted at the chance to visit a place I called home for the first 20 years of my life. My family and I drove from our home in Seattle down to the beautiful Central Coast of California where I grew up. Morro Bay never disappoints with beautiful beaches full of sand dollars, sand dunes, and clear skies at night with stars that make you never want to leave. This photo was my first glimpse of the ocean hiding behind the hills heading West from Paso Robles.
It was a short but sweet visit for me, after only a couple days, I left my dog, husband and kids with my folks and got on a plane to LAX heading to teach in Pasadena.
Always sad to say goodbye to my mom. I admire her for many reasons but especially her ability to stay in the present, with grace and calm. She also has mad skills at hiding and hoarding large quantities of chocolate, definitely note worthy accomplishments.
Watching her with my children is always a pleasure but for some reason this time the reality of her being so present really hit home, more about that later.
Quilt Con was a whirlwind of teaching, my schedule was very full and it wasn't until Sunday that I actually had some time to walk the floor and see the amazing quilts in the show. There was a special exhibit that I am extremely glad I didn't miss. The Quilts of Molly Upton left me speechless. I'd recommend looking her work up and if you ever get the chance to see the exhibit I wouldn't miss it. Pictured below are two detail shots from two quilts that hit me in a way I can't explain:
I didn't take many photos while at Quilt Con but I did manage to get a few shots of some student work from my classes.
Student work from hands on Compositional Quilting:
More from Compositional Quilting:
Student work from Broken Wreath:
In class Demo from Compositional Quilting:
Student work from Compositional Drawing Modern whole cloth design:
Just like that I was headed back to the Pacific Northwest. On my flight home I noticed that the Earth had been doing its own Compositional Drawing. It's amazing what you see when you take the time to look a little closer.
I ended up with one souvenir, that I picked up at the San Francisco airport. I do love you, California, with every part of my heart.
Getting home involved unpacking a weeks worth of swag from my visit to the Central Coast as well as a few great finds at Quilt Con:
Pictured below are my samples from my Piece as you Quilt class, I see some pouches, totes and pot holders in my future.
So, back to what I touched on earlier about my mom being present. As some of you know, I recently deleted my Instagram account. Deleted, not just erased the app from my phone to reload a half hour later, but deleted from existence. All of my photos, all of my followers, all of my comments, all of my likes, all of my tags, basically my entire social media presence with the screen name, Lolablueocean, gone. My first emotions following my deletion were filled with, dread, regret, sadness, and a loneliness and empty place that hung like a dead weight on my back. Lucky for me most of those initial emotions faded quickly and were washed away with an overwhelming feeling of relief.
Why did I do it? Simply, because IG became a place that I spent too much time. More complicated, because the time that I spent there was no longer time spent being inspired or energized, it was time spent judging myself, but not even my self, my edited self, against every one else's edited selves. I worried about offending people, I was aware when I lost a follower and I watched the number of people following me more than I am proud to admit. All in all these feelings never made me feel good, the wanting to be accepted, the wanting to be liked. I had moments of feeling super left out and lonely at quilt con because while I was eating hamburgers in my hotel room everyone else was having a super fab time taking Quiltcon selfies without me. Right? Yeah, well, truth be told I like watching trash TV eating hamburgers alone in my hotel room and I'm old enough to know that not everything is always as it seems. And so it is, the social media debate goes on and on. I am not judging IG or anyone who loves it, I just realized that it is no good for me, and I am no good to myself within the context of this kind of social media. I have a great big handful of people that I know in real life that are right in front of me that really really love me, I need to be present in the moments with them. These are the moments I want to be in, these are the moments I don't want to miss, these moments are true and real and unedited. If I had better self control I would be happy to have stayed on IG, but I'll give you the unedited truth,
I was totally addicted to it and I had to let it go.
That is the personal side of deleting IG, the equally important side for me lies in being creative within the IG context. I found myself working on a project and posting a picture and suddenly the creative process became an edited process that relied on positive feedback, comments and likes to press forward. I started to feel like my work became less and less authentic as I began editing my work based on what more people would "like".
What the F*ck?
That has never been me, and yet suddenly there I was, worried about what 3500 people (most of whom, I don't even know) think. And that's where it ended. This is also where I will stop discussing IG, I hope if you were curious about why I did it, you now get it. Below, is my last IG selfie that was supposed to be my #helloquiltcon hash tagged photo, ironically, I never posted it, because,
you know, someone might not like it................
Getting back into my studio after a teaching gig is always very rewarding, I am amazed by what I learn from my students, I love processing the experience by creating with the experience in mind.
I was sad to have missed the opportunity to take a class or see a lecture from Gwen Marston while I was at Quilt Con, but was very happy to find a pod cast with Gwen here. I know a little bit about her work, but have been particularly intrigued by her small studies or "sketches".
Hearing her talk made me think about working on a smaller scale using only the longarm to create my own studies or sketches.
Pictured below are the studies I have been working on since I got home, I started by working with a 10x11" and went smaller to a 6x6" size. I am not sure where these are going but the process has been a breath of fresh air for me and good to get out of my edited box.
Looking forward to teaching at both MQX and MQS, I am working on some new samples. I will be doing hands on lecture/demos at both shows which is a new format for me that I am very excited about. Pictured below is a sample from my Ghost Shapes lecture/demo.
Lastly, is a shot of my spastic and disorganized design wall. I hope that letting all the crazy out in my studio and on my wall keeps the crazy from taking over in my head. Or something like that.
Thanks for reading, have a great week, stay inspired, stay real and stay you.