Removing a blockage

No, this post isn't about anything medical.  It's about removing a psychological blockage.

Since I returned from Ohio I have felt, for lack of a better word, "off."  Before that fateful trip, I begrudged every minute I had to spend away from my studio.  Since I've come home I have found myriad excuses to avoid being there.  I need to do housework, I need to weed the garden, I need to reconnect with friends (I can be a hermit when I'm "on"), I need to finish this book and find out "whodunnit", I need to work on genealogy, I need to organize the garage.....the list of excuses was limitless.  And although these are all very good occupations, they are just different ways to procrastinate.

I have spent some limited time in the studio.  But I have literally had to force myself to go up there.  Why is that?  I love to work at my art.

When I look back at the pieces I've made during the last six weeks, what few there are, I see that I have mostly worked very small.  Quick and dirty.  I have pretty much finished each quilt, quilting included, in a few days.  And while I think some of them are very nice, I don't like either the small size or the direction the work has been going.  They aren't exciting.

I can't seem to find the joy in my work.  And I need desperately to find it again.

So I've been reading online articles about getting rid of artists' block.  I've tried a lot of the suggested strategies, visiting gardens and museums, reading about artists I admire, changing mediums (I've done some paper collages), taking long walks, avoiding the studio for a whole week -- nothing seemed to work.  And then I realized what was wrong.

After my two weeks in Ohio, I felt forced to change my style.  The last few weeks I've been playing with some new ideas, some new formats.  And nothing feels "right."  I want to go back to my old, comfortable way of working.

So today, I am back in the studio.  Working on a large Tuning Fork.  And feeling much happier.  Whether this is the right thing to do, I don't know.  Perhaps I need to move on.  But at least I'm working again.

Here's a peek at my current project:

How do you get unblocked?


Sharon Robinson said…
Love your tuning forks! But I completely know how you feel. I am the same way after I come home from a two-week workshop. I feel like I just have to get on to something new, like my old stuff is no good... I deal with the "anything but studio" feeling in a few ways: Trick myself into it by saying I'm just going to clean up and organize, even forcing myself to just walk in the room works. I also always have a variety of projects at different levels, designing, piecing, quilting, labels, bindings etc. Usually there is at least one that I can get into, even if it's just to check it off the list....
Colleen Kole said…
Do whatever gets you back in there consistently. Sometimes what you hear or have learned in a workshop isn't processed until much later!
Jay said…
I know where you are coming from with this, from what you shared about the workshop...and am glad to hear you are back it the swing of things! For myself...and I am no where near your caliber of talent...I just get in there and make stuff!! Then, an idea will ht me! I am not back yet...I haven't done anything I personally love in a while but I think it is about to break through!! See you tomorrow night? (unless it is stormy!)
One of the issues with taking a workshop is that it occurs at a specific time, not necessarily when our psyche wants a change. You may not have explored enough with the tuning forks. I agree with Colleen, the things you gained from this workshop may express themselves later. Happens to me.
Heather Pregger said…
Thanks, everyone, it's good to know I'm not the only one. Sharon, that's exactly how I feel! And Colleen and Connie, I agree -- the information Nancy gave me hasn't processed yet. I'm sure it will inform my future work, but my gut feeling is that I'm not ready to move on yet.

Jay, I'll see you tonight!