Don't you love quilt shows? Aren't they so inspiring? They never fail to send my head spinning with new ideas and enliven my step with fresh making-mojo.
On the other hand, isn't it a high-low experience too? "I love that! Fantastic!" And then, the inevitable comparison with your own creations. Dot. Dot. Dot.
No matter how happy you are with your quilts, it's hard to maintain contentedness and self-confidence in the face of such an outpouring of human art. A quilt show is kind of like Instagram on steroids. There is incredible breath and beauty and inspiration. There is always more, more, more!
In contrast, your art is limited, as you are one person with one (albeit growing) set of interests and skills. You are you.
And you wonder, as I wonder, is that enough?
This week I set out to turn a recent batch of do. Good Stitches bee blocks into a quilt top for charity. My bee mates sent scrappy postage stamp blocks and solid royal blue squares, as per my request. I've been procrastinating because I feel so uninspired by my own concept. Alternating postage stamp and solid blocks? Meh, I've done that before. Why didn't I come up with something more interesting, more adventurous?
So, I tried something different.
And then something else.
And then another and another and another. I couldn't stop. Nothing felt right. Nothing felt inspired or good enough.
What is good enough? Is it good enough to make a warm quilt for those in need? Or, is it good enough only if that quilt is unique? Is it good enough if my quilt is accepted into the show? Is it good enough if I win a ribbon? Is it good enough if I win first place? Or, is Best of Show alone good enough? And then, what shows are good enough? What venues? What? What?
This is not a wholesale critique of quilt shows. They do serve a valuable function, promoting art and artists and communities. But let's be honest. There's also a cost, and it's the same thing we can experience via Instagram and blogs. Often that cost is one's own sense of worth.
Is there a way to share without comparing? Is there a way to inspire, while affirming the other?