Jo V. L.

A native American woman once explained to me the difference between the way traditional white middle class Anglo Saxons think and the way indigenous people think. The process for the people that are not close to mother earth is very linear. It is step by step progressing from one thing to another. The indigenous process is more global. It is all things coming together at once without a scaffolding or direct line. As I try to put my thoughts together on my committee, I am feeling very much like my indigenous friend. All my thoughts are coming inward refusing to line up so I can put to words what I feel.

 My committee does not bother me when I am working. It strikes when I have finished a piece and I want to present it. My committee has unknown names but the common name is “artist”. I find myself intimidated when presented in a new situation where I respect the art work of others. An example was when I was accepted in the art cloth mastery program. I was thrilled to be there but once I saw the work of the other artists I felt I was not worthy of being there. With encouragement from Jane, I realized that I do belong and have value.

The best gift I have given myself lately is to call myself an ARTIST. By naming myself artist, I push the little committee that says my seams are not straight or my binding is not full, right out of my head. It feeds the need to be recognized as a creative, skilled person not a crafter making cute things.

I have a friend who is well known in the quilt circle for many years. She hand quilts all her quilts and was the quilter for an internationally known quilter for years. She recently juried a show. I submitted a piece for the show and it did not get in. I tried to invite her to my committee. I realized what I was doing and told myself. The choice not to accept my piece in the show was her opinion and it did not make me less than.

I have two very intuitive daughters. They often zing me with one liners that help me redirect my committee’s voices. I once complained that when I had returned from a week long quilting seminar, my husband did not ask how it was or even want to see what I did. One daughter pointed out that when he returns from a fishing tournament, I really am not thrilled or interested in hearing how many and how big were the fish!! Perspective. The other daughter encouraged me to enter shows. I had entered a few and was rejected. She suggested a list of what I enter and what are the results. I now know I have about 50% success rate on entering shows. I feel good about that.

My best defense against the committee is to keep learning. The more tools I have under my belt, the stronger I will become.