Monday, June 4, 2012

What is your passion? (A Rave ... not a Rant)

I'm going to spend some time today thinking about 'passion' ... and I'm going to direct you to a speech made by Larry Smith (no relation, honest!) that I found on a news site just now ...

These days I read totally for pleasure.  I'm past the time where I had to read in order to regurgitate for an instructor, a test, whatever.  Reading is a pleasure now.  And today I came across this article on FIND YOUR PASSION  and some of what he states really hit a chord within me.  And I read it with pleasure and glee ...

Mr. Smith talks about searching for your passion.  I think I was lucky in that I sort of 'fell' into my passion.  I'm an engineer by schooling and by training, but I've always been somewhat crafty.  I can read a pattern and pretty much put it together; I can read a recipe and conjure up whatever 'it' is ... but I never considered myself artistic because I have difficulty coming up with "IT" in the first place.  I so admire people who can design on a dime.  Just looking at something gives them a vision.  Oh how I wish I could do that! 

Anyway, before kids I was sewing and crocheting, and even did some macrame ... remember the 70's?  And with children, I put most of that away. At some point I found my sewing machine again - I do remember that exact moment - I had been taking care of 3 toddlers all day, and the way I relaxed was to veg out in front of the TV enjoying the mindless flickering images without the wail of a child calling "Mommy!" ... so there I was, rocking in my rocking chair, flipping through the channels late at night and what did I see? Some lady (probably Eleanor Burns...who knows?) was whacking away at some fabric using a pizza-cutter-like device (I swear, I thought it was an actual pizza cutter!).  Since I had been cutting fabric using brown paper patterns traced from a magazine which was incredibly boring and frustrating, I watched transfixed by just how easy she could take fabric, cut it, and then sew it back together.  I was hooked! Kids or no kids, I wanted to really quilt!  Within the week, I had found a real live quilt store, purchased that fancy-schmancy pizza cutter, a green mat, some fabric and a pattern, and I was quilting.  OK, I do have a thing about tools ... I love tools ... I'm the first on my block to have a new ruler, a new pair of scissors, a new template ... I just love those tools!  Anyway, I started using that pizza-cutter and mat and  I haven't stopped and I haven't looked back.  

So that's became my creative outlet.  I pieced when I could.  I took a class here and there.  When I moved to GA, I really started the piecing because by now the kids were in middle school and the need to be sure all the pins were up off the floor was almost non-existent ... I don't think anyone has actually stepped on a pin in my house.  Just saying ...   

The passion became THE PASSION when I purchased my long-arm machine at the Houston International Quilt Show in 2009.  Once I stepped in front of that machine and grabbed the handles, I started grinning from ear to ear and I don't think I've stopped smiling yet.  THIS is my passion!   I love the long-arm quilting like I've never loved anything else.  I can speak quilting 24 hours a day and drive you nuts talking about fabric, threads, patterns, designs ... and slowly but surely it is MAKING me be creative ... I'm using brain cells I thought were long dead ... and with every success (I can do feathers!  OMG!  I can do feathers!) I've patted myself on the back and moved forward, knowing that there is every chance that I'll have another success just around the corner.  Am I cocky?  Nah ... just reveling in the fact that I CAN DO THIS!  I feel myself stretching and achieving and stretching some more ... activities that I haven't felt in a long long time.  And I have such admiration for those 'expert' quilters that are out there.  I know a bit of what you've gone through and how you've achieved your success and my hat is off to each and every one of you.  You have earned your reputations as wonderful quilters! 

At the time I bought my long-arm, I was working in corporate America and the more time I was away from quilting the more miserable I found myself.  In fairness, things in corporate America-world were starting on a downward spiral and I must have sensed that I needed to get the hell away from there.  So I did.  I haven't yet decided whether I took an early retirement or quit.  Who cares anyway?  I had to feed my soul and quilting was the only way to do that.  I have started my own business and me and the business are doing great, thank you.  

I don't know exactly where I was going with this blog when I started, but I'll leave you with a quote from Mr. Smith's article:

"How will you recognize your passion when you encounter it? Usually, it is quite easy. One moment you are reading in hopes of finding a topic of great interest; then you find that you are reading and do not want to stop. Or you find yourself in a regular conversation, and you start talking with excitement about an idea. Or you find yourself in an activity and you lose track of time itself. The rule of passion is simple: the mind cannot stop thinking about that which it loves."

I spend a LOT of time thinking about quilting (how many quilts have YOU done in your head?  yeah, me too...LOL!) and actually quilting.  I'm most comfortable teaching a class than "lunching with the girls" if you know what I mean.  Don't get me wrong ... I love the girls and I love lunch, but for me ... lunching with my quilting buddies is just about heaven!   I'll see you on Tuesday, ladies!