My name is Charlotte, sometimes known as Ms Lottie, occasionally as The Slightly Mad Quilt Lady. This is my blog, where you'll find me writing a lot about my quilting and textile arts and a little about my family's life in a small seaside town in New Zealand. Haere mai!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Leaf Printing turns into Navel Gazing

When I get back from some time away, be it with the family or without, I always feel a bit overwhelmed and chaotic.  I know it's coming because it's happened so many times, but knowing it's coming doesn't stop it from happening.

I've got a few strategies now that I know help.  First up I write a list of all the things I have to do and work at crossing it off rather than wandering round aimlessly.  Second, I get the laundry under control.  It must be my thing - an overflowing laundry basket does my head in.  Third, I have a clutter purge.  There is a huge bag of clothes, toys and dress-ups in my car boot waiting to go to the Op Shop and it feels soooo good!  And then lastly, but probably most importantly, I do something quilty or creative.

I hadn't realised that this last one was important to me until I sat down with my daughter the other day and did some leaf printing on fabric.  We had been home for a few days by then but I was still feeling antsy.  After doing just that small activity, it was like heaving a big sigh of relief.

What I'm wondering now is when and why has creating art quilts become so important to me?  Almost four and a half years ago I started this blog, all excited because we were moving into a shed on our block of land.  I was to have animals, space to garden, room to move.  And we moved and I had all I wanted.  Well now.... I've got my animals but we've seriously down-shifted in the amount,  I barely step inside the vegetable garden anymore and cooking and baking...well they get done, but maybe with half the care and attention that they used to get!

When we moved here I was already a quilter and I dabbled around with creating art quilts but my ten year plan only had 'have enough free time to quilt' on it.  It had a lot more goals about gardens and orchards than quilting.  Now my ten year plan includes goals like 'exhibit internationally', 'become a successful quilting tutor'.  How did that happen?  How did I morph into that?  Do people really change that much, or did I actually not know what I wanted?  I wonder about my blog followers who were with me because I was all about growing and chooks and sustainability.  Do they wonder who am I now?

Sometimes I wonder if I've just finally found my perfect outlet for my creativity.  I believe everyone is creative but in different ways.  Some people show it in their gardens, or in their interior decor, or their creative business skills, or the way they nurture and grow their families.  And some people just haven't found what it is for them yet.  Could I even be so cliche as to say the words 'it's my calling'?!

Yesterday I spent a lot of it working on my Swallow quilt.  And it felt so good.  But I also felt guilty because it was a lovely day and I should have been working in the garden.  A friend turned up and was busily working on a smokehouse that he's building for my husband and I felt that he would be wondering why I wasn't making the most of the sunshine or maybe thinking I was a bit lazy.  So maybe what's going on in my head is all about whether being a quilter and artist is valid?

Hmm, this is all getting a bit deep and meaningful and is a bit too much to ponder right now, and the chickens need feeding, and the ducks need letting out, and the cows need moving.....!  If anyone has any insightful thoughts, I'd love to read them.


  1. I can really relate to your navel gazing! Maybe it's travelling that did it to me, I have recently thought lots about how my life has changed from 'playing music all the time' to what it is now. My feeling is that over time our goals shift, and our creative outlets shift, too. I used to play and then teach music, I used to be into knitting, spinning, felting - now it's quilting (dare I call my attempts modern quilting or art quilting?) - never enough time for it, though!
    When I went back to Germany I was struck by how unchanged many people's lives were after 16 years. IMO change is good (provided it's not change for the sake of change). A couple of weekends ago some old friends visited, we hadn't seen them in 5 years. To them we probably haven't changed much, but I was very aware that I have long since given up regular home baking etc. so served them cake from New World, something I never would have done when I last saw them!
    So overall, I think we all change, we just often don't realise (a bit like when you see a baby every day vs. once every few months). Taking a step back - literally or figuratively - helps us see the change. And the change also applies to how we express ourselves creatively:)
    Looking forward to seeing where your creativity takes you next!

  2. Must be something to do with our advancing years... but this is something Monika and I have discussed quite a bit (as you can read from her comment!) It is funny because I often wonder why I don't get into the art quilt side of things... while I like them, love them... appreciate all the goodness that goes into them... I have no desire to create them. Weird huh? I guess we're all just different, and what I love is that the hobby that has ensnared us all has such a wide ranging variety of outputs. We can change from genre to genre... but all still enjoy quilting.

  3. Being a quilter and artist is totally valid, go for it. I loved seeing you quilt on Pam Holland's video of Symposium

  4. Very interesting - it is something I often wonder about too, is it change, or is it evolving. Certain needs being met at certain times of our lives?

  5. I quilt lots where I used to embroider but now I seem to be drifting into paint and painting where I haven't been since I was a teenager. Life I suppose. Dyes and paints and hand piecing just seem right at this point in time.



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