To Learn is To Live

My mother has always been a self proclaimed “student,” whether that’s a student of life or of a specific topic, she has always been curious and an avid learner, and as a result, she is a really interesting person to talk to.  I, too, am a constant “student.”  What this means is that I am often a beginner, which means I’m learning, practicing, making mistakes, perfecting, learning more.  When I was younger I wanted to be an expert at something, anything, but as the years wore on I have learned to love the “beginner’s mind,” which can be applied to just about anything. (There are some things I do know quite a bit about and as a result I have strong opinions about those topics, but I’m talking about learning and how it applies to the creative process.)  Having a beginner’s mind means being curious, open and filled with wonder.   This post is about creating, and in order to create I need to be open to new things.

Last January I took a class, an actual class, not a virtual one, at the soon to be closed City Quilter.  It was a BOM (Block of the month) class, and though there were not 12 blocks, but instead six, I figured it would be a good way to learn the process of taking a quilt from start to finish, and it was!   I learned a different appliqué technique, I had the support of other classmates, I enjoyed going in once a month to see what everyone else was doing.   It was wonderful.  It was my first BIG project and I’ve written about it at length in previous posts ‘here’.   Each block was hand appliquéd (I’m adding the link to the Craftsy class I took, that helped me enormously, with the hand appliqué technique) and I applied all the stitches I learned from Sue Spargo’s Craftsy  class.  I’ve talked about the joy of Craftsy in other posts ‘here‘ so I won’t go into all that again.

Once the quilt top was put together, I had to learn how to quilt the whole thing, which took me to this class and this one and this one. I am now in the final stretch and I continue to learn, make mistakes and try again and then learn some more.  Each time I don’t know how to do something I google it and look for websites that focus on what I want to do.  For Free motion quilting, Lori Kennedy’s The Inbox Jaunt blog is absolutely fantastic with free tutorials on specific motifs.  For stitch inspiration there’s of course Sue Spargo’s fantastic website, store and blog, but there are also some great blogs out there that concentrate on stitching, such as Sharon Boggon’s Pintangle where she features a TAST (take a stitch Tuesday) and Mary Corbet’s NeedlenThread, which is more traditional embroidery and oh my goodness is her work beautiful, then there’s Eleanor Pigman’s blog, she’s a bead artist and her work is absolutely incredible!  A couple other, not-to-be-missed-blogs are:  Kelly Cline Quilting, a blog filled with amazing work, both stitching AND quilting and Trish Burr, the queen of embroidered birds and flowers, though all her work is absolutely incredible and beautiful.

There is a whole world of knowledge, expertise, creativity and art out there and I love finding, learning, applying that knowledge and then creating my own designs.  Interestingly I’m drawn to similar motifs over and over again, no matter what the medium is.  Below is my 18 kt Gold, Tourmaline and Paraiba Bracelet from my Lotus Collection.  It’s no surprise one of my favorite free motion quilting motifs is Pebbles!

B26YG Lotus Collection
Ariane Zurcher Jewelry – B26 Lotus Collection – 18 Kt Brushed Yellow Gold, 25.08 ct Pink Topaz, 2.69 ct Pink Sapphire, 12 ct Tourmaline, 2.96 ct Aquamarine, 17.21 ct Mandarin Garnet, 4.03 ct African Paraiba
pebbles
Free motion quilting Pebbles on my Queen-Sized Quilt Top

Here’s to autumn and here’s to the joy of creating and learning new things!

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