Tuesday, 7 June 2011

I quit

My quilt has driven me to distraction over this last week.  First my machine stopped working, so I spent 5 hours stitching the backing fabric on.

This wouldn't have been so bad if the finish had been perfect, with lovely even stitches and even tension between the layers of fabrics.

However, I have spent the last week stitching and unpicking, stitching and unpicking, stitching and unpicking.  The problem is this:

Becasue the tension isn't right, no matter how carefully I stitch, I end up distorting the backing fabric, which in turn distorts the front of my quilt.  It looks terrible.  After the umpteenth time of unpicking my sewing I had a pique of rage and now it looks like this:

In short, I quit.

I'm sick of the sight of the quilt, I'm withdrawing my entry to the show and actually I'm seriously thinking of hanging up my artist hat.  I stopped enjoying making work as soon as I decided to try and make a living out of it.  The designer/maker cap doesn't fit - it never did.  Even at uni I was making art installations when everyone around me was making product.  I think I'm going to look for full time work and make art to suit myself when I feel like doing it instead of trying to force it.

I'll still follow the blogs I enjoy reading, I always like to see what other people are creating.  I'll probably carry on posting on my own blog, I'm not sure.  I've been thinking a lot lately about why I bother blogging and what the purpose of it is, but that's a whole other post for another day I think.


  1. no STOPx we all have days and even months like this but you are an adventous and imaganitive ARTIST!. Do what you feel is best for you but really think about this Carrie. I LOVE reading what you are doing with your art and your life. I would feel very sad if you gave up but again..it is what is best for you Carrie. What ever you decide...please let us know as believe it or not you are part of our blogging wold.xx take care and believe in yourself my friendxxlynda

  2. I don't know what to say. You don't need a pep talk because you know what is best for you.
    I am not a full time artist. I'm one of those people that dreams of it, but lately I've been thinking if I REALLY want that.
    And blogging is a weird beast. I've had thoughts of why bother before.
    Maybe we both just need a big fat break?!

  3. Oh Carrie, It sounds so dire. Every "artist" I know feels this way, now and then.
    I felt the same way when I had my work in galleries. It was shattering when I was told to concentrate on a particular thing because that was what would sell the best.
    I stopped doing art. Big mistake.
    To thine own self be true!
    But never ever do it for the wrong reasons.
    Your little voice needs to hear some encouragement.
    Also, sometimes when things are really hard it is a sign of growth.
    Hang in there. Just work. You will find your way.

  4. Hi Carrie, your frustration is palpable -- and understandable. I imagine you must be absolutely fed up with the problems with your quilt and it's just all got too much -- so abandon the quilt, or leave it for a while. And maybe if you had a job it would take away some of the pressure of needing to earn a living from your art. But don't give the whole thing up as a bad job -- just step away for a while and see if the perspective changes. Hope you're feeling ok. x

  5. oh dear..

    You're into the hardest part of the quilt. This is where I am happy to outsource to someone who has a roller foor on a very long armed sewing machine.

    Been where you are, grrl..

    You clearly have very good taste and a great eye. It's just that while learning, our efforts are rarely as good as the imagination and aesthetic we have.

    Give yourself a break. There are lots of lovley ladies who specialise in quilt backing. Leave it to the experts.

  6. Hi Carrie, this is totally off topic. I "liked" Art house coop on Facebook and I was particularly drawn to your digital sketchbook. Thanks heaps for writing your blog address on the page it meant that I could find you :)

    I am a ceramic artist from Australia,I had been asking two of my friends, both painters one from Canada and one from the UK how they thought that you had made the images in your sketchbook. We were all quite excited when I said I had found your blog and now I was going to ask you in person.

    I have never worked on paper. Never had the inclination at all. But this semester I learned to draw (wow) and now your sketchbook has inspired me to try and make some images of my own.

    cheers Kim

  7. Okay, now I have read the post. As a professional artist I wear many hats. I have to make bread and butter stuff like cups and hand rolled beads in order to make the things I love to make. My environmental work (ie. dead albatross bowls) generate a lot of interest but they don't sell. Sometimes it is the handrolled beads which really annoy me to make, that pay the rent.

    Life is a balance. An artistic life is a balancing act whilst juggling. You will be fine, from what I can see you are a talented artist. cheers Kim

  8. I came across your blog today (via Jackie/Stitchwork's blog post about envelopes) and liked it so much I added it to my favourites. Imagine my disappointment when I eventually got to your post about quitting! I'm so sorry that you're going through a bad patch. Even if you stop trying to make a living from art now, don't give up the idea completely. Maybe take a break, do a 'normal' job for a while and get so bored with it that it fires up your determination to make art a bigger part of your life again. You have so much creativity you'll have continue in some way - you won't be able not to. Good luck with whatever your decide to do.

  9. I can't count the number of times I have felt like giving up...I did once and worked full time for 18 months, it made me miserable and here I am again, not making a decent living but happy. It takes time...be patient...if you really feel you must try something else though then go for it, see if it is for you. Your art will always be there to come back to as mine was. I am so sorry you feel like this though, chin up..onwards and upwards.

  10. Carrie....let the quilt go, especially the way you're feeling about it now. BUT, I've found that the secret is not to throw it away...you'll come across it some months from now and see it in a whole new light....you may cut it up, some fragments of it may continue life in another piece, you never know. I've been finding it the case more and more lately that nothing is wasted....even though it feels like you've wasted so much time now, it's not the end...not of the quilt and certainly not of art making! I agree, making art and making a living from art are two entirely different beasts and it is certainly a struggle we live with daily. You are an artist and you must make art, even if it is in addition to having some kind of income from some other source. Look at all the support you have...you've lifted my spirits, we're all here to lift yours! Whatever you do, do not beat yourself up over it!! Cheers, dear!

  11. I hope you feel less in despond by now,as I am late seeing this.
    I don't know what I can add, but I'm sure the feeling will pass, and you will find the right way forward.

  12. Well, this is my first ever visit. The quilt looked great. My advice - for what it's worth - is don't beat yourself up and don't stop. It would be a huge shame if I could never come here again. Hope to be able to return :-)

  13. Been coming back to this place for a bit now and only today realized there will really not be any more posts.
    slow learner..;)
    I just wanted to say I understand your decision and wish you good luck, hope you will find your strenght again.