Friday, January 4, 2013

The importance of what you don't do............

Many of us have been quilting for most of our lives.  About a year ago, I realized that it was time for me to slow down my quilt production. After 34 years of full time quilting, I needed a break to spend time doing other things.
Detail from A Quilter's Menagerie, by Ann Fahl

In December Oprah interviewed Stephen Spielberg, Sally Field and Daniel Day Lewis about the making of  "Lincoln" the movie.  History fascinates me, especially American history and what affect it has had on our lives. The back stories about the making of movies and other art forms always brings a nugget or two of wisdom my way.
Another detail of A Quilter's Menagerie, by Ann Fahl
 Daniel Day Lewis talked about how he needed at least a year to prepare himself for the role of Abraham Lincoln. Not only does he want to research his character, but he also needs to spend time doing other things. He finds joy in being home with his family and doing mundane things like taking the kids to school and soccer practice. So he has found that he not only needs to immerse himself in his work as an actor, but also spend time at non-theater tasks.  Both make him a better artist.
Swan detail of A Quilter's Menagerie by Ann Fahl

The bells and whistles went off in my head, when he said this. I've been balancing family, traveling/teaching, and making quilts for so long, that I'm not experiencing the many other facets of life. Daniel is so right. It's OK to take time off. I don't work on weekends anymore nor make 12-15 quilts a year.  Maybe just 2 quilts a year will be right when combined with being a master gardener. Yes, time away is much more important than I realized.

It has become very important to write my family history; both for myself and for my two sons. This is a fascinating journey using all the skills I've developed during my career in business and quilting: computer word processing, investigative work, problem solving, writing and assembling a book.  Right now, with the temperatures below 20 degrees, what could be better than working in a sun filled office then learning about all your ancestors? It's good to stay home.

So if a day comes, and you decide to do something other than make a quilt; don't feel guilty, it is OK.

A Quilter's Menagerie, quilt by Ann Fahl
Ann Fahl


Marjorie's Busy Corner said...

please make sure you keep showing them to us....they are beautiful

Sharyn Mallow Woerz said...

Good morning Ann,
I've been making quilts since 1970 (although I'm pretty sure I'm in my mid-40's still).
It is one of the things my mother remembers even with dementia. She asked me last month how I could keep making quilts, where did I put them all?
My response was I make complicated quilts very slowly...
If I were in a hurry I'd go buy a blanket.
Except for Bonnie's mystery, I zip along on those.
Sharyn in Kalama

Barb H said...

Well said, Ann. Balance in life is so important and so easy to neglect. Thanks for the reminder.

Luz2Quilt said...

Thank you for sharing your insight. I too found this has been healing for me.

Sharyn Mallow Woerz said...

I once didn't touch a needle for two years. It wasn't deliberate, it just happened. When I came back to it what Julia Cameron says was true. If you take time to refill the well it will pay enormous rewards.

Sharyn in Kalama

annieQ said...

The idea of refilling the well, is a great metaphor! Thanks for sharing that. I've been refilling mine!