Debbie E.

I am definitely the Chairman on my Committee and I am by far my hardest critique. I love techniques and following patterns and have always got my nose stuck in a wonderful book studying new techniques and I do practice until I have mastered but tell myself that I am master of techniques but cannot create anything original. I feel locked inside and happy to follow patterns and ideas and often tell myself that I will not be able to create my own designs and do not have this ability. I am lucky to have lots of friends that love to see my quilt, bags, skirts etc so don't really have many negative comments from others.

When I was completing my city and guilds I was then worried would my tutor like my work, everyone's else's was better and I always thought mine was mediocre but looking back I am happy with what I produced and that is most important really.

So interesting in reading about the studio and Jane's mantra of something in something out. I cannot hardly get into my sewing room, it is full of so much stuff and this makes me feel weighed down so I work on the dining room table and have to move things around a lot. I am a hoarder and keep everything and will have to seriously have a major declutter.

I run a lot and this clears my head and when I run I feel free and have no baggage and this is such a mediative time for me and a good time for thinking about everything.

This course is certainly getting me thinking, I can't wait to feel unblocked. I am so glad that I booked onto this course.

Susan S.

The Committee issue is a big one for me, especially as I am living with the worst offender. I am honestly not sure of the best way to handle him… is really difficult, even with professional help, which I do get.  Only this morning I was nastily told that I had spent too long on scheduling my Spring classes, and that all my teaching does is stresses him.

I feel as though I have two committees.

Committee 1----the academic/music ones. My attitude to most of them is that I was able to earn my doctorate in composition despite their negative talk.  Although I sometimes get the lingering messages which are in my head, and I haven’t composed since I finished my dissertation---it is as though the music left me.

Committee 2---personal/quilting.  This is the challenging one.  Some members of the committee are much quieter, such as Germanic hand applique teacher who told me that I would never be able to applique. I still hear old messages from my Father such as “don’t do it if you can’t do it right”, it is better not to do something than do it badly, nothing I ever did was good enough.  I forgave him when he was at the end stage of life, but I still somehow hear those messages in my head and have to work at turning them around.  

The spousal one is the toughest, ranging from “it’s not important”, it’s only a hobby”, “you don’t know anything”,” you don’t earn enough” to “you don’t know anything” “no one has ever taken as long to earn a doctorate and you only did it when threatened”.One which has a direct consequence is ”I spent $1200 to send you to a course and that’s all you did” (a class with Caryl Fallert on different techniques, so we just made samples).  (This one makes me strive to produce in a course, and focus on having something to show rather than relaxing, learning and enjoying the class.)  “I like X’s work better than yours”, “you don’t have a clue about colour”. These negatives are beyond a letter……I don’t know the best way to approach it other than trying to rephrase the negatives into opposite positives.

I need an “in person” tribe.  The Fifteen by Fifteen group is wonderful as a virtual tribe, but I could do with someone close by to bounce things off.  I belonged to a nice art quilt group for a while, but then the members I related to decided to leave en masse and the new members are very inexperienced and I no longer enjoyed the meetings. One of two friends I met with semi-regularly had a severe depressive episode and would no longer meet, and the other took her work into other directions and was not interested in meeting.  I have tried the two local guilds but did not relate at all.  I am not sure how to find a good tribe which works for me.  The S. California SAQA region is vast, and there are rarely meetings I can get to.  I enjoy being with my tribe when I take a residential course once a year, so this is a definite need. 

Sandy G.


After re-reading this and giving it much thought, I have decided to submit this that I first wrote for the previous CST. What I have updated this time is Not written in italics. These add ons were due to responses and/or comments from family and friends.

People on my Committee: 

 Chairman:     Mother

 Members:      Me


                     The Fashion Designer

Choosing members was really difficult.  Choosing the Chairman was NOT difficult because she has been the root of my insecurities through out my whole life.

Why is my mother listed as chairman? 1.  Emotional and mental abuse, not physical, from the time I can remember.  I remember very little praise or genuine praise becausethe negative comments overshadowedthem. She was good at dishing out criticism.  This continued throughout my adult life mostly through letters until I requested that ALL of her letters and knowledge of them were to be kept from me so I would not have to read them nor knew they had arrived.  Boy howdy, that was a relief.  2.  She became an alcoholic when I was young.  However at that time, one was called a heavy drinker so I never really understood about alcoholism until my adult life when I hit Burn Outin a job that I was totally in love with, but not my husband.  And when she drank, she would say mean things to me, like the “why could you not have not done that better or quicker, or…….. “go away; you bother me; I don’t want you or love you, the dogs know me and love me more than anyone else.” It hurt but I thought “well I do not like you either” and so on.

So I became very adapt at reading people’s faces to see what they were thinking. This helped me to become invisibleto other adults in order to help keep peace and biting my tongue (it is a wonder I still have a tongue) or forestall an argument.To this day, I, unfortunately, still am very good at it.

{Actually, I later learned that people like mother were called “a dry drunk” because she was basically the same all the time, drinking or not drinking, so I do not remember any good times.}

Me:  Am I a member of this committee because Iremember setting high standards for me and only for me, especially in things I love to do, whether it was ironing, coloring, drawing, painting, making my bed, sewing with a needle and scraps of cloth because I would lose myself in them. (Whew that was a long sentence). Now it was a whole different ball game when it was something I did not like doing or just did not want to do.  This rebellious child did pay for these indiscretions.

{I have since learned that these traits are of a person with ADD, Attention Deficit Disorder.  It is a blessing and a curse, not always in that order. Also what I have learned, is that it is extremely easy to become overwhelmed when thoughts (of creativeness) are like a whirlwind in your head.

Midge: a very close friend of my parents who was an excellent seamstressand had worked for Singer for many, many years.  By high school I had become a very good seamstress, designing and sewing my own clothes without patterns, but I was in awe of what she herself made.  She offered to help me and I jumped at this chance.  I also made it very clear to her that I wanted to learn correctly and would redo anything she toldme to.  Only one time do I remember having to correct something three times but I preserved.

The only patterns I used were Vogue patterns.  After I married I decided it was time to put all the things I had learned into one project.  The outcome was a fully tailored suit, fully lined, bound buttonholes, and covered buttons. I am still proud of that suit but still do not like covered buttons.

The Fashion Designer:  In high school I had this notion that I wanted to be a fashion designer, so much so, that this shy girl became brave and approached a fashion designer and ask if there were some small things I could do for her, mostly to learn but also to earn a little bit of money.  She was not the most approachable person but she did agree and I was elated but not for long.  Nothing I did wasup to her standards which I understood because most of my life I had set high standards for myself. But I did not improve very much, rather it was from fright of her comments or I just was not good enough or she really did not want to pay me.  After I quit, because of school work (that is what I told her) it took her a month and 4 times of me knocking on her door to pay me.

An update:  Surprisingly, a few months after writing this, I realized thoughts of my mother just were not in my sub-conscious anymore. I have begun taking small steps by starting and finishing small knitting projects, like baby clothes.  Most finish quickly and hopefully I can sell them.  I pulled my old rigid heddle loom out of the box and decided I was going to start weaving again. Sure enough, I then learned of a Facebook Weave Along that begins Nov.  My yarn should arrive tomorrow.  The next exciting thing is I will be going to India for 5 weeks in February. In 4 of those weeks we will be dyeing, stamping, batik, weaving)  I will be posting the information in both CST’s FB Timeline. The sign-up deadline is 30 November.

Julia J.

I did quite a bit of writing on this assignment. What a fabulous exercise. I wrote about each committee member, why or how they’re on my committee, what each situation/person effects in me and what my part is. This exercise made very clear that some topics/situations are fancied and some are real.  I wrote positive affirmations around each. Lastly I wrote about each committee members positive attributes and whether or not they were committee members to continue to associate with or to fire.  (I definitely fired the negative belief!)

Much of it was childhood stuff. Programming from parents, sibling, peers, teachers. By putting this information on ‘earth’s plane’ I was able to see and redirected those negative beliefs. Something I’m sure I’ll need to continually work on.

Another interesting thing is I finished this chapters writing the night before my monthly SAQA meeting. So, when I attended the meeting the next day, I was able to observe my behaviors and feeling as though looking from the outside in. I was simply a watcher. What was really happening? How did I really feel? What was truth and what was simply fear? I hadn’t been attending these meetings because I have often felt ‘less then”, “talked about”, “shunned”… interesting after doing this exercise it no longer mattered and most of it was made up in my head anyway because I wanted to fit in. The quality I seek in the people I am involved with is all that matters.

F.E.A.R. –Forgetting- Everything’s- All- Right.

Sharon C.

I never gave much thought to there being any kind of “committee” lurking in the background when it comes to my artistic endeavors, but the more thought I considered it, the more sense it made.

I have to give particular praise and credit to my father whose push for perfection was ever-present but gave me great angst because I rarely measured up.  On the other hand, my mother wanted to frame everything I did—an interesting counter-balance.  She was the perfect committee member—my own personal cheerleader—who encouraged and supported most everything I did.  Unfortunately, that created a bit of an internal struggle for me.

Other committee members over the years have far overshadowed that angst I went through early on—and I can’t even say for sure that at the time I saw it as negativity.  It just felt like some unrealistic standard.  It did, however, help feed a lack of confidence in some areas.

As I look back on the ebb and flow of my life’s experiences, I can—fortunately—conclude that I had way more creative successes than failures.  Until the last decade or so, I was not exactly sure what creativity meant for me as an individual despite the fact that I frequently had to rely on it to do my job.  I often worried more about the inner critic than the forces from outside.  

Today, I no longer worry about “perfection”—in fact, my efforts these days are more about rejecting it.  Perfection was rarely attainable for me anyway, and I’ve learned to trust that inner-voice that now tells me what “feels” right rather than directing me to achieve something that is unattainable.  

Mary L.

          I have worked this assignment numerous times in various forms over the years, including during summer camp.  I think it is good to revisit the committee from time to time because new members can sneak in when you're not paying attention.  I am spending little time on the assignment because I feel I know the members well ( and am aware of new members during this class Jane, Zenna and classmates..what will they think of my posts? Are they just being nice? Etc...) I prefer to spend my time this week exploring Notan a bit more.  I will say a few things about me and my inner critic. I try to always remember something a friend's mother always said.."quit worrying about what others think think, they probably aren't looking anyway."  I have explored archetypes some but not as the Enneagram which I done quite a bit of work with and learned how to deal with the committee with it.  I am a classic 4 which means basically I crave approval for being special which , of course,  ties right in with fear of criticism.  I am grateful for my 3 and 5 wings that help keep me grounded in reality.  I plan to do some research on the archetypes this week because I find personality types fascinating. Now back to cutting and glueing little bits of black paper.

Jane O. M.

I've called my committee my 'Victorian Chorus' over the years. The chorus is a group of women in Victorian clothes, with my mother as the lead speaker, who hover around in my head. They function like the Greek Chorus in a Greek play. I don't see them, or hear them, I only can tell they are there by their influence on me. When I find myself hitting a wall I'm now able to recognize they sneaked in again. They can really scare me off. When I did black and white darkroom photography I put a sticky note on my enlarger that said, “Is this an Obstacle or an Opportunity?”

The lesson this week has lead me to look at the VC more closely. I now believe there are two separate entities, the chorus and my mother. The VC mildly chants about decorum, appearance, family standards, etc. On the other hand, my mother speaks sharply and often to me: don't slump, put on some lipstick, you shouldn't wear that to school, etc., a litany of nitpicking negative comments.

One time, when I was in college, the three of us were in the car driving somewhere and she did the 'put on some lipstick' thing, I said with exasperation, “Please let me know if I ever do anything right!” In a hysterical voice she ordered my father to stop driving, he pulled over, and she got out of the car and ran into a store. Dad said to me I shouldn't talk to my mother like that, got out of the car and followed her, they returned after a bit. Nothing was ever said about it. But I thought to myself, “Some people really know how to dish it out, but can't handle it when it comes back to them.”

I think the result of the stream of negativity is that I did my best to 'fly under the radar' to avoid it. And that strategy carried over into many aspects of my life. It undermined self-confidence, assertiveness, standing up for myself, courage to compete, even wanting to be really good at something. Now I want to make some bodacious fiber art!

I'm wondering if there are more committee members that I can't see yet.

Susan M.

I have lots of support from people I care about – in spirit and in practical ways. My parents were family oriented, kind, gave attention when attention was due but allowed a lot of freedom otherwise. They laughed a lot and didn’t see any use for shame or guilt in parenting. Such luck! Even though they’ve been gone for years, they’re allowed in my studio and on my committee anytime.

But, when I first took up textiles, I felt/imagined my artist colleagues looking over my shoulder. Over time, I got rid of them. And, their responses were positive, anyway. But, negative or positive, it was inhibiting to have them in my head.

Today, it seems like there are usually two people in my studio and on the committee – me the creator and me the evaluator, the judge. That can be useful, at times, but me the evaluator shows up TOO frequently. And, it’s hard to get rid of the evaluator me when the creator needs to be alone. Me as judge might focus on technique or composition or choice of material. Okay, fine. But, me the evaluator also butts in about content, asking – “Do I really have anything to say?” And, in that question, suggesting the answer – “Probably not.” Ugh! I want to call a moratorium, and am not quite sure how to do it. I’m going to begin just by noticing when the evaluator me is talking, noticing that what she/I’m saying isn’t really that interesting. A start.

Michele K.

When I started to think about the committee, the first person who came to my mind is a lady that I appreciate a lot and make works that I admire, they "speak to me".

When I am working on a project, I often wonder if she is going to like it, if she would do it another way etc. To make it short, I am anticipating her appreciation and worried that I don't do "the right thing". 

Fortunately, as we know each other for 5 or 6 years now, a real friendship has develop between us, and little by little, as I feel safer, her presence during my work is starting to fade  away ( but it isn't totally gone yet)

When I work on my desk, I get sometimes a virtual visit of one lady that I know from a craft association where both of us are attending. She is at the same time curious of what I make and often depreciative of it or at least doubtful "Isn't it a bit to clear (or too dark)", "If it was me, I would do this or that", "Are you sure it is going to work?", "You are nor finished yet with this or that ?", well, you get the picture ...

She has no importance for me in the everyday life, but despite of that, her words still penetrate me. Unfortunately, since the first time I met her, the lack of optimism in her voice has reminded me of the way my mother was talking, and I don't know too much how to handle that. We didn't really understand each other. Still, sometimes, in a flash, I think that I will show her what I have done, looking for her to like it. 

It is interesting to write about that subject (I wrote much more than what I am sending), it helps to bring the interferences to better proportions.

Kris L.

I have invited my committee members to be seated around my round table ! There is no leader, no subcommittee, no secretary taking notes (to make sure I dont forget) just a common goal to help me grow in my creativity.

Frankly, I don't want any of my members to leave because they challenge my thinking and behavior. Am I always comfortable with our board meetings?  No, and we could from time to time being of such nobility,  draw swords and have a quick battle of the will, but I rule! :-)

So..... I am thankful for my round table committee members because.......

I'm encouraged, been given respect to my Q space, told she doesnt like art quilts, but can you make me one to hang on my wall please!, challenges my self esteemed even though she doesnt know it, loves to provide unwanted opinions, has become my biggest fan and my solid rock as I find my voice.

I just need a bigger castle!

Donna W.

Naming the committee and recognizing the members’ voices:

My mother, Florence

Act like a lady. Don’t make a scene. Don’t make me ashamed of you. I wish I had half the things you have when I was your age. Don’t make me sorry (I look you shopping with me, I cooked you this delicious dinner, I brought you into this world).

It’s hard to be angry with her, though, because she also told me: You are so beautiful. You are so talented. You are my precious girl. The messages were very conflicting.

My father, Harold

You don’t have the sense you were born with. You’ll send your mother and me to the poorhouse. Making money and building a solid life for yourself is more important than liking your job. Choose a career and stick with it; don’t go changing horses in midstream.

But he also told me things that showed he loved me: See the world before you settle down. Get the best education you possibly can. Again, he leavened the negative with some positives.

My sister, Jean, who majored in art

Artists have to suffer to make good art. I gave birth to two children and raised them as a single mom, but you took the easy way out and didn’t have kids; you’re selfish. You have a husband and a career that pays you good money; you should be so grateful and never, ever complain about anything.

In reality, she’s never said any of these things (except for the first one), but I sense she feels these things and holds grudges against me.

My husband

It was my dream to move to the country and buy land and build a house where I could have a workshop, but I’m giving all that up because you want to stay in this overcrowded place. I’m worried about having enough money for our retirement – someone has to. I love you more than you love me.

In reality, he’s said none of these things; these charges are all manufactured in my head.

Looking back over what I’ve written, I’m aware that so much of what the committee in my head tells me, even some of those things I attributed to my parents, as never actually said. And now I’m hearing another condemning voice in my head, which I’ve heard from many people over the course of my life, including therapists: You are your own worst enemy. Why do I sabotage myself in this way, with imagined recriminations? If I can’t silence these voices, can I at least stop listening to them and allowing them to short-circuit me? Can I consider realizing that there’s no basis in fact for many of these statements grounds for a start toward moving beyond them?

Barbara D.

I've given "my committee" member list much thought as I rumbled through my routine - especially during my quiet times at the barn.

Initially, I had three for sure then, after a bit more thought, it immediately evolved into eight… and I kept adding more and more people to my committee. My wonderful husband Jeff and then my dear friends - then I continued to include our entire local SAQA membership!  Good Grief!  They were added to the board room as recently as Thursday as I sat in awe of our guest artist and let myself look around the room. It felt wonderful to ingest all the inspirational moments along with the comfort of being part of this community of amazing women. Then this little gremlin crept around from the back of my mind and rudely whispered "You don't really belong here… They are all far more talented than you"!  I felt a little summersault in my stomach and a brief moment of discomfort before I dismissed him and refocused on the final portion of the meeting.

It was a lightbulb moment!  

On my drive home that I realized he alone is the single member of my committee. Everyone else was excused!  

It is my own gremlin of self doubt who finds great joy in spoiling my own confidence and creativity.  There is no one else to appoint!  My husband and dear friends are some of my closest people ... I care for them and truly rely on their unique point of view as well as their constructive criticism.  They are always supportive and encouraging about going forward - they really help me when I'm stuck.  I believe I am contemplative and decisive enough to know when I feel strongly about a portion of my work and then ... hopefully ... open enough to accept the creativity of others when I am not. 

So the next time he (and "he" is a "he" interestingly enough) creeps around from the backside of my shoulder, I will invite him to jump down and sit on the edge of the ironing board!  I will remind him that "if you must be present then you better add your two cents worth - if not, please go outside and play". 

Maria S.

I think I was born with a committee where the whole world is a member.  It has only been recently that I can see they are not all thinking only of me, and actually couldn't care less about what I do.  My fear has led me to working intensively with the portrait.  It has been a main part of my work since 2013.  My committee has two main members that I will just call him and her.  They have been around a while.  I always need to remind myself that they are the ones with the problem!

Because dealing with my committee has been so ongoing with me, I have figured out a few strategies to keep them at bay.  Drawing a very energetic portrait will help me release my nervousness and put him or her in their place.  I just look at the portrait and see how ridiculous they are.

I realize that I can't change people and the way they think.  Some people will never understand why I need to make art or maybe they will always be jealous of the time I spend doing the thing my soul needs to do.  But when the doubting starts up in the atelier, I bat them down by drawing them.  Here are a few examples, though I hope I don't scare you....

Micaela F.

For a time, my thought, after reading and considering this lesson for several days, was to reject altogether the premise of the committee. Initially it seemed to me to be an exercise in blaming – an excuse that could be used, quite reliably, to underpin any reason for not “doing the work”.

I enjoy questioning, turning norms and beliefs around and examining them from different perspectives. I ask myself…is the idea of voices that echo across time, that influence how we live our lives (both negatively and positively) simply a psychological construct (all due respect to Jung and the collective unconscious) that we grasp all too firmly, use to our advantage and make into a crutch for our own failings? Or is it in fact a valid, universal, truth that we do indeed need to be aware of, to continually wrestle with, so that we can progress as individuals and develop the inner strength to become that “guest house” that is grateful for the unexpected visitor that Rumi writes about? A bit of both, perhaps?

So, here’s the thing – all pondering aside – the Committee does exist. I recognized it the moment I started to read the exercise, but I didn’t want to acknowledge it. I don’t want to “blame” my teacher, my family member, another artist, or an unthinking acquaintance for what are my challenges and shortcomings. It gives them a presence and possibly even control over the volume nob. Nevertheless, the voices are there. So the question is, how much power do they have…or do I give them? They’re only obstacles if I allow them to be such. Rethinking, reframing, embracing.

The analogy of “fighting one’s way out of a paper bag” comes to mind, yet again (previous post). I’m pretty sure I can do this. Poke a hole in that paper, and rip! And yet, if it were that easy…?

On the Committee:

The family member that said, after I had prepared a particularly extensive and challenging analysis of the symbolism in a work art (an assignment by the way – not something I would do “for fun”), “Perhaps it’s symbolic of nothing. Perhaps it has no meaning. Perhaps it just is.” Ironically, it’s likely that nothing was really meant by the comment, but it has caused me ever since to question meaning in my own work, and often to avoid deeper symbolism in developing initial concepts. I know this is a strong voice, because have never been able to dismiss it.  But rethinking it, from Rumi’s perspective, I’ll welcome the voice next time, put out a luscious tray of dates to share, and dig in.

Mostly, the others on the committee are artists (in any medium – visual arts, music, etc) whose work I admire, and in some cases, whose acceptance or respect I would like to have. They certainly don’t know they’re on the committee. Sometimes it’s comparison, rather than judgement, that is the imagined problem. It’s usually what fuels my doubts. It’s an amorphous, sort of ghostly crowd up in the balcony. I really should just send them a friendly wave from the stage.

And finally, I need to put myself on the committee – for all the times I received encouragement and guidance, but wouldn’t acknowledge it or believe that it applied to me. If I had done that more often, I would probably hear different voices now.


I came back to this after an hour or so. I’m still okay with it, I think it’s pretty close to how I feel about the subject of committees and voices, and obstacles. On the other hand, it all could be rubbish. It’s hard to articulate, but good to consider from time to time. I made some notes while listening to Jane’s video for this lesson. She asked, “Who is it that we trust?” I think the answer, for today anyway, has to be, “me”. And that trust needs to be based on being open, confident, ready for what’s next. I may not be able to dismiss the committee altogether, so I’ll give some of the members the occasional nod of acknowledgement, and in a few cases, a wink of understanding and appreciation. That should quiet them down.

Carla D.

This week has been an interesting time of thinking and writing about my committee.  Top of my list is my dead mother who was not very supportive about anything I did.  I internalized a lot of negatives about myself that come out with my voice saying:

    1. No one is interested in my work.

    2. No one will listen to me and I will continue to stay in the background being quiet.

    3. My work is crap so why bother with it.

    4. If I'm not making what other art quilters expect (three layers with lots of quilting), I will become disconnected from my tribe.

    5. I'm not as good as other quilters- they have more skills, they have more money, they travel to interesting places, etc.

My mother used to say "You were the best thing that ever happened to me."  Recently I replied to her, "You were not the best thing that ever happened to me".  I felt much better after that.

Second person on the Committee is my eldest son Nathan.  Nate is an egg tempera painter and has gotten a lot of recognition because he is very good.  He recently received a prestigious award.  I admire him and long for him to be proud of what I do but to him art quilts are "craft" and not fine art.  He has no idea how he has hurt me in the past and because I love him, I have never told him.  I have been to all or most of his openings and have been so supportive ever since he was three years old when I knew he was an artist. He has never been to any shows that have my work. This week I decided to take him to the Bellevue Art Museum where my Quilt guild has a small show.  I have a piece in that show but I want him to see all the work and just how beautiful it is.  These art quilts are ART! Making art can be a struggle but when I am in the "Zone", I feel close to the Creator (whatever or whomever that is).  That is when I am happiest.  I started a new quilt this week and have been listening to my thoughts as I have worked.  Will show it when finished.

June M.

The Committee... Easy enough to name myself as Chairman. My own thoughts of inadequacy are the biggest impediment to my work. I am fortunate to have many supportive people on my committee. As for the villains, the “painters” came to mind.

When I retired I wanted to join an art group to contribute to the community and find a support group. I joined the local art guild. The people are lovely and most of them are very supportive. There are two women who are painters and dismiss my work solely because of the medium. Fiber art is a “craft”. said with disdain, and is not fine art. One of them keeps telling me she's going to get a paint brush in my hand. The other one is free with her criticism, not constructive.  They have made me feel so inadequate that I do not enter my fiber art work in the exhibits. I contribute in other ways, by doing administrative work that no one else want to do. It’s a nice contribution but keeps me from doing my art.

I have a friend who had many trials in her life. I once asked her how she did it. She said, “No one can take my joy from me”. What wonderful words of wisdom. I know I have let the “painters” take my joy from me.

So, I am taking charge of my thoughts. I made a representation of the “Painters”. I used a big paintbrush and dressed it in my hand-dyed fabric. I gave her eyes to see my work, but no mouth so she doesn't have a voice. I gave her a needle and thread because she is going to love my work so much she is going to take up fiber art herself. I named her Modine Gunch.  (There's a story there but I won't bore you with it.)

Now when I think about the “painters” I can look at Modine Gunch and get a good laugh. I have my joy!

Vernon S.

I did not post lAT QWEWEWK EW TO UNITTINGLY Having to deal ith issues of tribe and ommmittee that ARE NOQTHE TOPICS OF THIS WEEk  

I cannot count the number of regrets that have accumulated due to fear of doing the wrong thing, wrong being defined by friends nd family, NOT ME.  there IS ONLY SO MUCH OF ONE'S SOUL that cab be given away BEFOE YOU are no longer you, but a GOLEM created by the tribe to prove it is righ qnd as a bulwark AGAINST ITS OWN FEAT.

I won' ore you with the details, I'm sure you have strugges of your own, and it is not a matter I=oftrust, but I see no rason to give them the power of knowing that they nrly won, no, not won, a it isn't a game, but succeeded.



Thisn has been shortened from many angry pages that I wrote.

Now I am going into my studio and talk to my sewing machine.



    a joke is told,

        we laugh,

    then the laughter fades away

        and so does life.


    He can type,

        but no can spell;

    just for that,

        he's going to hell.


    We smile at the

        unintended rhyme

    was it unintended;

    well, if it isn't,

        it's a crime!


    Oh, look, he's changed

        the scan,

    where's the meter maid,

        never a round

    when you need one,


    Syllable, that  is.

        Oh, no,

    here it comes

    again, now who's



    he going to blame,    

    for breaking the rule?

    OH, GOD, that was cruel.

    Dr Suess' next book.

    The Wretch in the Strerch.


    Oh, my, said the cow to the moon,

        is jumping legal,

    Or am I a buffoon,

        It's sad,    The dish ran away

    no he didn't, oh yes, he did,

        and forgot to take the spoon.


    Life seems so sad,

        but it really isn't

    What is, is that

        the laughter died,

        and no one cried,

    not even, the little dog.


    But, wait you say,

        with some dismay.

    Dr. Suess, died,

    And so will you, in a while, 

        now we see the little dog smile.

Terry D.

Dismantling the committee/ the rules

I missed doing week two due to lack of internet and eventually lack of time, so it has sort of rolled itself in with week three in my thinking. That may not be a good thing! This week I had started scribbling thoughts before I had even got to the middle of the essay. I added to them as I read more. I'm posting only my reflections on that writing, not the actual ramblings themselves.

I've come to the conclusion that my committee doesn’t stop me from working when I get in the studio: it stops me from ever getting to the studio in the first place. I found it very hard to identify people on the committee. Once I am in the studio working I don’t see faces or hear voices which stop me – by that stage I am usually confident in what I'm doing – and there is usually a deadline. However going back a stage I can see that the rules I have made for myself could be said to stem from the committee. I wrote reams about these (and surprised myself) - here's a precis of the rules and my thoughts about them:

1.       Art is not as valuable as a ‘proper career’. That from my parents, principally my father, who was himself an architect (and a watercolour artist after he retired), and my teachers at secondary school. This will be why I now try to make a living teaching rather than by simply being an artist, and why I still have a proper job for half the week.

2.   The house has to be clean/ washing and ironing done before I can have any time for me. This might stem from my mother, and I recognise that it is just an excuse not to make work! My house is never ‘finished’/ as I want it. Therefore I must not waste time in the studio . . . I should be decorating/ doing the garden etc

3.  I (personally) have to keep our business going: my business partner suffered a bereavement and is not up to par. She was always the ideas person with enough energy to carry them all through. She is still the ideas person but no longer has the focus, so I end up completing her half-finished tasks as well as my own. We spend a lot of time running to catch up, and I feel responsible for making sure everything gets done. Sometimes it’s overwhelming. I really need to tackle this.

4.  Everyone else’s needs are more important than mine. I think that stems from my mum whose attitude this was (and still is). Why do I still believe it???

5.   I haven’t got time to play in the studio because of all the above. Actually it’s because I keep making excuses not to go there, and 'wasting' time doing other work and on the internet. What am I afraid of?

6.   The work I make has to be worthy of my position as a teacher/ someone who has won prizes. As a teacher, I should set an example and enter shows and exhibit my work. Consequently it is not OK to make stuff for the sake of it to use up fabric I bought just cos I like it.

7.   My AHA!!! Moment:  ‘STOP – don’t do it like that – you’re going to spoil it/ waste it/ waste money! This is the right way to do it’. From my ex-husband: one of the reasons I left him. But I think this is still ingrained somewhere deep down and I let it stop me from creating.

BUT – I’m not sure that any of these people are on my committee – it’s just me and my thoughts/ hang-ups. I suppose that’s the point really.

I have no idea how to use my rebel to stop myself from using the committee’s excuses as my own. I’m not even sure if I have a rebel. In thinking about why this might be I realise I'm quite laid back and I dislike conflict - anything for a quiet life - but nothing much bothers me for myself. 

However, this week I did manage to suggest that my business partner and I let ourselves off trying to run a set of classes this term that neither of us really seems to have the time or the inclination for – we were both relieved about that!

Come to think of it, I am typing this whilst sitting at my desk in my day-job, so it seems that the rebel does exist – she just needs to be taught that creative time is legit and worth fighting for.

I am quite familiar with the Notan squares and love the monochrome complexity (or simplicity). It has never occurred to me to break the fundamental rules of these (although I often do them with a colour and black). So I'm going to find time to deliberately break some rules and observe the process and start the rebel on the learning curve . . . Whoever she is, she's got a tough job on!