It's no secret that I've been thinking about fear a lot lately. Last year I was mired in a sea of fear and indecision that left me powerless to do anything but tread water. Looking back at those feelings and that stuck place, I'm able to see just how crippling this situation can be.
So it is that helpless, fear drenched state that is the theme for a new goddess quilt called Torrent of Fear:
When I sketched this quilt, I really wanted to include some positive aspect within it. An umbrella, a rainbow, a covered area that could protect the figure from that torrent of fear.
I liked the idea of shelter. Finding shelter, even if it's just a pink umbrella, to stop the fear from pounding down.
But after playing with the design for several days, I began to see that showing fear in all it's dark, soul-destroying glory was necessary. There is no shelter here, no positive light or redeeming quality.
This is exactly the way this type of fear feels. It doesn't feel like there is an end. When you're standing in that torrent of fear, you cannot move, you cannot create - you are stuck.
And if you let that torrent come down long enough, you will lose all your form: your beauty, your creativity, your intelligence. If you stand still long enough - you can lose everything.
For that reason, you may find this quilt unbearably dark and forbidding. You may find it too dark and painful to be beautiful.
But this is precisely why I need to make this quilt this way:
I want to SEE fear.
I want a visual representation of fear on my wall so I can look at it, and look within myself, and make sure I'm NOT that figure standing still, allowing fears to pound me into nothingness.
I want to look at that dark cloud and see the potential destruction it can bring into my life. I want to acknowledge it's power and it's presence because ignoring fear doesn't mean it goes away.
When I look at this quilt, it makes me ask questions.
Are you truly not in the mood to start that next quilt, or are you just afraid that something will go wrong with it?
Are you truly not able to cut that fabric up, or are you just afraid to cut it incorrectly?
Are you truly not able to pick a quilting design, or are you just full of fear for the outcome?
Fear stops us from making decisions, from being able to weed through all the many millions of options we have every single day and make a single, simple choice.
When we finally HAVE to make a decision, fear takes away our peace of mind (and our sanity) when it makes us question over and over "Is this right? Or is this better? Or maybe I should do this..."
But it doesn't have to be this way.
Fear is apart of our lives, but it doesn't have to rule us.
That's why I'm creating Torrent of Fear: to see it, to accept it, to acknowledge it's presence in my life, but to also set limits on what it is allowed to do under my roof.
No longer will fears to rule my parenting, my marriage, my business, or my quilts. No longer will I allow this emotion stick me in place and dissolve my ability to act, react, or create.
Which makes this quilt the perfect project to tackle a very big fear:
How to make a goddess quilt less complicated, time consuming, and difficult.
I've been afraid to tackle this challenge. I've been afraid of changing anything with the way I make this series of quilts, mostly for fear that the new, simpler quilts wouldn't stand up to the older ones.
I'm really afraid to hear someone say "I really like the way you USED to make these quilts."
This is the trick about fear - eventually you have to face it or risk getting stuck forever.
I can either continue to make crazy, densely quilted monstrosities that make me crazy, or I can face my fear and start making quilts the way I really want to make them.
So how do I want to make this quilt?
First off, I want to get it together quickly. I can't take 3 months to get this quilt top together! Looking at my schedule for the rest of this month, I really need the quilt top completed in less than a week.
I also want to quilt much faster and more efficiently too. No more dense, cardboard stiff quilts!
Speed is directly related to size. The bigger a quilt is, the longer it will take to make it. While I love big, over-the-top wall hangings, I've come to realize that a quilt can have just as much impact in a smaller size. The effect really has more to do with color and design than it does with overwhelming size.
So Torrent of Fear was sized at just 30 inches wide. After printing her out on just 18 pieces of paper (Emergence was printed on more than 100 pages!), I'm extremely satisfied with her size and shape. She actually fits on my large ironing surface!
So with those changes in mind, make sure to check back tomorrow to see Torrent of Fear in the flesh...er...fabric!
Let's go quilt,