I’ve been focusing so much on writing this year, I fear I’ve not been making anything like the number of quilts I should. Now I notice I used the word “should”, the old convent school upbringing rearing its head again! So should one give oneself a goal for number of pieces per year? Or, is it good from time to time, to take a sabbatical and go and do something completely different? I know the typical university sabbatical was after 7 years of work (hence, I presume, the word sabbatical – the day off for contemplation and assessment). And, very often, the sabbatical has been used for writing. Writing produces a clarification of thought, an ordering of ideas – (one hopes!) - since it would be difficult for others to follow the stream of consciousness knight’s move thinking that most of us indulge in!
I’ve written a couple of books, mostly centered on my own creative processes, which are going through the lengthy editing process so necessary for polishing!
In them, I feel like I’ve been able to order my quilts so far and see how I progressed from one to another, gradually clarifying the way I design and think about designing and then constructing the work. So where to go from here? Maybe I should take up palm-reading, or tea leaves would probably be more appropriate given my addiction to that beverage!
I’ve also written a third online class which is in the process of being edited right now; it even features short clips of the author in the studio – on the Tube!
I’m currently taking a class called Calculus for Poets; the teacher began by asking us why we were doing it and several people replied because they’d always wondered what calculus was and why students found it so hard. That was definitely one of the reasons I started to study composition and design – why did people have so much difficulty with this? In the calculus class we’re beginning by looking at the kind of problems that would be easy to solve if we knew calculus, and are very difficult to solve without it. Almost an exact parallel to my dilemma in the first (and only) improvisational quilting class I took about 20 years ago. I remember feeling that I was like Archimedes using the Method of Exhaustion to figure out the answer to the compositional difficulties and that I was ready for a class with Newton who might have the right formulae for me! No I don’t think the online classes and the books I’ve written are quite up to Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica :) (though strangely enough the quilt above is based on a 17th century street in York) but I do enjoy being able to think clearly about things if and when I want to.
The calculus professor told us that, teaching at the university for 34 years, he continually dreamt up new courses that would be a challenge for him to teach. He said this was a good way to keep up his own enthusiasm and learning, to enjoy new brain activity for himself. Fascinating! I never thought that teaching being the best way to learn would also be true of mathematics professors. In all fields, therefore, the joy of art (of mathematics or of quilts) lies in conquering new ground: I’m setting forth today!
And, if you have been, thanks for reading!! And many many thanks in advance for commenting – it’s all reinforcement you know!