Thursday, November 29, 2007


Img010 I'm reading two books on writing, How To Read a Poem and Fall in Love w/ Poetry by  Edward Hirsch and Writing Alone and w/ Others by Pat Schneider.  As I read them I'm not thinking about my own writing but my quilt art...over laying the ideas to how I perceive my work and my process of working on quilts. 

Hirsch spends the first chapter, 30 pages, passionately, almost orgasmic, stressing the intimate relationship between poet, writing, the poem, and reader.  Its the reader that completes the life cycle of the poem.  While reading the various ways HIrsch describes this relationship, I keep thinking that is what I want to achieve with my quilts.  It is the viewer who will breath life back into a quilt long after I've completed it.  In my eyes, I've yet to create a quilt that I think is wholely worthy of inhabiting another's soul but have come close with the the 2 pieces that make up the Liberation Quilts: Cilium 1 & 2.  Also, with the prayer quilt for my children and the 3 small quiltlets that I showed in the recent preceding entries I am proud to release.  Negotiating Territory was one that I was able to apply technical knowledge I'd learned on using value and designing an original block and I loved the concept behind the quilt's message.  These works I am happy to show publicly.  Other works are exercises for various ideas and techniques, such as the one above.

In Schneider's book, so far, I've fallen in love with her definition of discipline as less of a duty and commitment and more of being led by spirit and belief that the work is important.  Schneider writes: To be disciplined as a writer you need a compassionate and welcoming attitude toward your own work, and you need the support of others who value and call forth your writing.  She goes on to say: Failure to be a "disciplined" writer--whatever you may mean by that--does not mean that you are not a "serious" writer...Often the phrase (not a seriuos writer) is used by a critic or a teacher referring to a writer whose work they don't like...Anyone who cares enough to take a course or a workshop is serious.  There is no place for this kind of arrogance.  The desire to write is serious.

Schneider asserts that discipline begins with understanding HOW YOU work...the patterns that we employ to bring a project to completion. Also, that discipline is a matter of love and not duty...when you love a thing you make time for the beloved and the love is the root that drives us.

The other thing I find myself doing while reading these two books is thinking over the parallels of how I developed as a poet and how I'm wanting to develop as a quilter.  I do wish I could employ that certainty and confidence I had when I was younger without over thinking.  Now, I have decades of experience to reflect back on and I tend to not want to loose any lessons that will help me develop my sense of voice or a least a signature body of work. As a result, I could be guilty of over thinking my quilt making.  Maybe (Cherryl) its not up to the creator of the work to identify the voice or signature and time spent worrying about whether one has one or not is wasted. (?????)

Incoming thought:  I have no idea of what to prepare for dinner today...its cold and I don't want to go out and the fridge is pretty close to bare.  Last night we had cranberry tuna salad, cheeses, pears, apples, grapes, crackers, and wine.  It satisfied me and to my surprise Peter enjoyed it.  Ade had burger and fries which he prepared himself.  He will be 16 on Sunday.  He is the youngest and has been so slow to mature.  We keep stressing to him that in two years he will be 18.  Lord help!

AH! I got it! I have 2 cans of lentil soup...that with some rice and baked sweet potatoes!  Push comes to a shove and something will always turn up!



  1. Loved your comment on Sahron B's blog about making 2008 a "learning curve year".
    I'd been thinking about setting myself a challenge for next year and have signed up with Sharon, for the first time.

  2. Yummm! Sounds good to me - both meals. Hangeth in...

  3. I, too, love the definition of discipline "as less of a duty and commitment and more of being led by spirit and belief that the work is important." What an inspiring way of looking at discipline in any field!

  4. i certainly enjoyed reading this ...having embarked on my own journey trying to discover how it is that i work. i am very curious about the communication process and the relationship between artist and onlooker, between giver and receiver. food is much simpler :-)

  5. hey lady:
    enjoyed this post, and, of course, i'm thrilled that you are exploring all the parallels.
    i am one who believes that most (if not all) of my work is collaborative -- even when i create alone. by that i mean, the work doesn't end with me. it has been very easy to translate what that means in terms of theatre, since the audience, director and actors play a vital (and on some levels, unpredictable) role. standing a play up on its legs might mean that you get a whole 'nother monster. this sense of collaboration is present, but not always so acknowledged in other genres for me.
    but i also think that one of my many responsibilities (based on love *and* obligation) is to continue to identify *voice* on my own terms. deciding if something is signature, though, is definitely the act of audience ... so far. (yes, i'm an evolving creature and all of this could change tomorrow.)
    thanks for making me continue to think about all of this. you got me spinning some serious essays on this end!!!

  6. I love the definition for discipline. I see a big difference in my work when I'm creating from textbook point of view, trying to cover all the steps, and when I let go and allow a quilt I'm working on to "work me" .

  7. I think it's awesome that your mind is processing the writing books from a visual perspective. That's very inspiring, right there.

  8. I think the viewer has to decide which piece is important - and no two will make the same decision. While you are making a piece (or writing one), it and you are having a conversation. (Today I had an argument with a piece in process on my wall and we are at a standoff).
    But after you send it "out there" for other eyes to see, your conversation with the piece is over and it then becomes a dialogue between the piece and the viewer/reader. It will speak loudly and connect with some people and not at all with others. Those to whom the piece speaks are the ones who will determine how important the piece is. I was talking about a piece I had made that I considered a throwaway and the person to whom I was speaking considered it a moving and important piece. That's what it's about. Keep working!

  9. Talk about nodding my head in agreement! It's that relationship between subject, artist and observer that circles back upon itself creating energy for the artist, the observer and I believe for the subject as well. Another example of how very interconnected everyone and every thing is on this planet. Art is communication and consummation and it is not a one way street. The mystery is that I do not have to be in the room observing the observation in order to benefit from it.
    The words about discipline are right on the mark!
    I despise writing bios for exhibits. I had to write one for a competition and I really wanted to send this: "I was born. I will die. Now I paint." That pretty much sums it up for me. I believe a signature can't help but reveal itself because when I paint I am laying my soul out on the canvas. Every external landscape has a corresponding internal one. It's the internal landscape that allows me to see the external one in the first place and when I attempt to paint the external subject the internal subject reveals itself.

  10. Very nice read and a Happy Birthday to your boy. We both had children a week apart 16yrs ago....I had a girl