Thursday, April 24, 2014

Dreams and Realities (and what runs between)

Something that I don't talk about often, but that I'm terribly passionate about, is art. Specifically textile art. Quilting, embroidery, weaving, dyeing, knitting, you name it. I find few things as beautiful, or as thrilling. I might as well just come out and say it—it's been a long time coming—but becoming a textile artist is a long-term dream of mine. Honestly, even if it is something that never leaves the 4 walls of my house, that's okay. I really just want to learn, and practice, and create, and share in whatever way I can. This is something that has materialized just this year. I've had an art-shaped hole in my heart, an itch I've been dancing in cirlces to scratch, and now that I've located it, it feels a bit better. But I'm still working to figure out how I can make working with textiles a reality. Besides seeing our family and friends again, pursuing more textile work is the #1 reason I am excited to return to the states. We are trying to accumulate as little as possible during our tragically short year in Germany (3 months to go and I'm getting dramatic and mopey), and the last thing I need to be doing right now is acquiring tons of sweet art supplies that I have to turn around and ditch a few months later. I'm still getting my fingers wet, though. Curating my wardrobe, learning to knit, keeping up the with the happenings of some favorite textile artists, and reading about the art I'm interested in pursuing is helping me make it through. Last week I made a simple red cabbage dye for a half dozen Easter eggs. I thought Seb would appreciate blue eggs on Easter morning. When Cody arrived home, I practically trampled him with my giddiness about the eggs I was dyeing. "I just didn't know I would love dyeing so much! I want to dye everything!" His response was, "Mary, you really have to get your hands on some fabric and start."

Having my husband's support and excitement about all of this is pretty wonderful. Still, sometimes I wonder if I have the diligence to be a full-time mom, wife, and artist on a tight budget. And then I read things like this. Hand me those pruning shears! I'm ready to get to work! I talked a bit about it in my last post, but too much stuff seriously creates a mental block for me. I can barely function, as ridiculous as that sounds.  On the other hand, I also don't deal well with an environment that doesn't work well for us. I have far too many times avoided purchasing things that I knew we needed, but I just couldn't bear buying. I love shopping, but pulling the trigger on those purchases is difficult for me. "What if it's the wrong thing, and we just have one more useless thing filling our home??" I'm even worse at getting rid of things. Finding the balance of having just enough, and not just in quantity, but in those things that are truly useful to us is a difficult balance to strike, and one I'm sure I'll spend a lifetime pursuing.

But isn't it worth all the work, if it enables us to live more fully-focused lives, doing the things we love?

How do you combine your life and your craft successfully? Do you get stuck between it all, too? What keeps you motivated and inspired?

P.S. From my dutiful observations it would seem that all textile artists are cat lovers. Is this true? Maybe that's the ticket.

TOP | Erin Considine
BOTTOM | Carrie Strine Scraps v7 Quilt


  1. Mary,

    I think you would really like my Columbus friends.... You and my friend Nicole should talk!!!

    1. Thanks for the link, Kate! It's encouraging to read about someone who is just starting the process, and doing it amidst such a full schedule! I'm excited to keep up with your friends progress!!