The most frequently asked question about my quilts is “Where do you get the images from?”, to which I say, “They are mostly flashes of insight.”
My first original was the most classic. On completion of my one and only practice quilt, which was in a traditional log pattern, I went to the library and read two books that instantly changed the course of my quilting – and my life. One book was a compilation of an American contemporary quilt exhibition in the 1990s, and the other was Vikki Pignatelli’s Quilting Curves. One night soon afterward, I went to bed, closed my eyes, and saw the image vividly that eventually became A Tough Choice.
I believe my experience is not out of the ordinary. I think most original works of art, and science discoveries, are just that: flashes of insight. Light bulb moments. Dreams. Inspiration.
The word “inspiration” came from “in spirit”. All of us get inspired moments from time to time. How often have we said, “I got this crazy idea the other day”, “I had this thought out of the blue”, or “this is too easy”. For fear of being ridiculed, or previous conditioning by society, we tend to discard those thoughts, and prefer to believe that something is not worthy unless it was hard earned. Inspiration, intuition, or gut feel are different ways our spirits communicate with us. “My Spirit” is the same as “my Source”, “my authentic self”, “my inner self”, “my Higher Self”, “my God Self” or equivalent.
I do not censor the images that come to me. As with other aspects of my life, I try to stay open to divine guidance. Recently, I learnt a little prayer from psychic/author Sonia Choquette that sums up my attitude: “Holy Spirit, use me! I surrender to you!” I still use my outer brain to come up with the best (most quiltable, attractive) way to express an image, but never so much that the original divine message is lost. Technical execution of the quilt — be it drawing, choosing fabric or free-motion stitching — are also intuitive “let go and let God” processes for me.
Picasso wrote, “When I enter my studio to paint, I leave my body at the door before I enter – the way that Muslims leave their shoes when they enter the mosque – and I just allow my Spirit to be there.” That is pretty much how I feel when I enter my quilt art studio. It is a place where I let my creativity flow, and lose all sense of time and constraints.
Wishing you inspiration,