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Day Four amidst a modicum of chaos

a barn somewhere in Ohio

My day began early with a to-go breakfast from Shaw’s and
luckily a very large cup of quite excellent coffee.  The sky was lit in the east with a pale lemon
yellow underneath  peachy gray skies with
bands of dark gray trees and a few cranberry red barns topped with silvery tin
roofs amongst striped harvested corn fields and luxuriant fields of green grass.
I planned to sit down and sketch it all out but as soon as I walked into the barn
I felt desperately behind. I had cut out the companion fabrics, sewn one,
half-sewn the second, and had cut out the remaining two. I had fifteen more
fabrics to construct.

I managed to get about five more done before our next
assignment. Not only did I not have but just one plaid to work with, I
remembered that plaids dominate any photograph and decided that I just didn’t
want to make those fabrics. I concentrated on making fabrics that incorporated
some of the previous fabrics I had used but added several new ones to the mix.

Our next assignment is to make a small construction using
our ‘fabrics’. I whipped mine out in about an hour from start to finish—it was
small—only 15 by 20 inches but I think it will be a nice small piece once I get
it quilted. The final composition is going together well and I am happy so far
with my progress. This week seems much easier than previous weeks—I am not
nearly so anxious –and somehow everything has sunk in and the process seems

I’ve decided the world will not dissolve into total chaos if
I make a bad piece;  the teacher will not
come unglued—or if she does, it’s her problem, not mine. It’s just fabric
after all, and the store will have more and what would happen to all of it
tomorrow if I were to die or a storm or fire destroy it all? Making a bad piece
says nothing about my status as an artist; stopping because I don’t produce a
masterpiece the first time and every time does! Or at least that’s my story and
I’m sticking to it!

Jimmy called me on the way back to the hotel; we chatted for
quite a bit. The baby is growing, smiling but not cooing yet, and Charlie is
having puppies. He is convinced we need TWO of those puppies and has offered me
first choice. I’m not sure I’m up to puppies—the potty training, the chewing,
and worst of all—the fleas! They are not here yet; I’d hoped for a smaller
dog—about thirty pounds max—big enough to present a threat to intruders but
small enough for me to handle—and a breed that didn’t shed. Unfortunately the
father at this point is unknown and Joey was clever enough to say he didn’t
really need any more dogs.

Tomorrow is my last day at the barn; the classes for next
spring and fall have been posted. I’m not sure what I want to take. I’m
thinking I might take a class with surface design; although I’m thinking it’s
time for me to go to my room and create.

It’s hard to create in a vacuum; it’s very lonely. I am
jealous of the painters during the impressionist era and of the writers during
Hemingway’s and Tolkien’s time—they all had a group to present their newest
work with valid critique and stimulation and inspiration or goading to do
better work or to brainstorm the what=ifs? It’s hard to develop a good critique
group and it’s not something that getting into shows or having one-man-shows or
gallery representation exists as a validation of the work. In the end, the work
has to suit me, and represent the best that I can do. Each piece has to be
better than the last for me to think of myself as a successful artist.

I still have to deal with a mass in my chest this spring—another
chest xray when I get back and several doctor’s appointments. I’m hoping my
health will be good this summer. So it may be that my time is limited and I
need to make the most of the time that I do have.

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