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First Quarter Update

First Quarter Update

I try throughout the year to review my intentions and make sure I am “focusing” on the essentials. My word for the year is focus and it has been a helpful word so far. You can see my original post about my goals for 2012 here. I have a tendency to see something new or see someone else’s projects and want to dash off and start trying out that new technique or idea. This year, before I veer off course, I say to myself “focus” and then I step back for a moment and determine if I should really try out this new and exciting idea, or just write it down and save it for later.

One of my biggest focus points this year is my Level II Hand and Machine stitch class. I have been working very hard on my homework which was mainly Kantha stitch. When I first tried this stitch I wasn’t too impressed and thought I wouldn’t really like it. But after a bit of practice, I have to say I’ve really enjoyed it. Now I when I see a pattern, I think, hmmm… that might work well for Kantha stitch. I will be off to our third session at the end of this month and we’ll be concentrating on machine embroidery.

In regards to my other intentions for the year, I have started teaching classes at my local yarn store and that has been amazing. I find that I love to teach felting, it’s such fun to share my passion with others and encourage them to get hooked by the “felting bug”. I did preliminary investigation into teaching at the community college but I think that needs to wait until I’m finished with my stitch course.

I mentored several artists in my gallery and went over some of the same information that I have been writing about in my Marketplace Monday articles. Again, it is rewarding to be able to pass on information I’ve learned over my 14 years as a shopkeeper to artists that are just starting out. I’m sure I’ll continue with this mentoring activity.

I have been keeping up with our blog here and the forum. That really isn’t a chore at all as I love the interaction between felt makers all over the world. It’s great fun. I have been struggling with Ann’s latest challenge of abstraction but I’m sure I can work something out in the next couple of months.

I have started on a bit of planning for the yurt project and that will be ongoing. I also did a bit of exploration into the combination of machine stitching with felt and hand stitching with felt. Our surface design group continues to play with various techniques. Our latest activity was making hand-made paper. I’ll show the results of that soon.

The two things on my list that I have not started on at all are making video tutorials and learning more about Photoshop. I did get a video camera but I haven’t even turned it on or looked at how it works. I plan on starting work on the videos this summer. Zed inspired me with her videos that she posted on the forum.

We’re already four months into 2012. I think I have done fairly well on keeping my focus. I have found the best way to meet your goals is to just get started. Don’t keep studying what you plan on doing, just begin. That is the most important step for me. That and turning off the television and ignoring the computer. How are you doing on meeting your goals or plans of what you want to accomplish this year? I’d love to hear how you’re doing.

Focus in 2012

Focus in 2012

Last year, instead of making goals, I chose a word for the year. I saw this first on Christine Kane’s blog and she explains about choosing a word in her post Resolution Revolution.  I like that the word you choose is related to everything in your life as it is about “being” instead of “doing”. Keeping one word in the forefront of your thoughts is much easier than trying to remember a list of resolutions. Last year, my word was “choose”. I did get a lot done last year in relation to my fiber arts, I was happy with the choices I made and I want to keep moving forward in that same vein. While I was looking at the list of possible words that I might choose for 2012 on Christine’s blog, I came across several that spoke to me. I wrote those words down and my list included clarity, focus, mastery and discipline.  After I looked at these words for a few minutes, it seemed to me that all four of the words fit under the word focus. Focus has several meanings including the center of interest, to adapt to the prevailing light and become able to see clearly, to concentrate or to think about closely. So for the coming year, I will be thinking about focus and how that relates to fiber art.

Vision Quest

I also have a list of intentions that I want to accomplish during the year. I’m not sure how I’ll get them all done but I’m sure if I focus…

  • Continue the Level II Hand and Machine Stitch course
  • Promote my book when it comes out in August
  • Begin teaching felting classes at a local yarn store
  • Investigate future teaching possibilities (felting/fiber art) at the local community college
  • Mentor artists through the Montana Arts Council program at the store about the business of art
  • Participate fully in our new virtual studio The Felting and Fiber Studio
  • Continue exploring the combination of hand and machine stitching with felting
  • Begin making video fiber art tutorials (which I’m sure will involve more than I think it will)
  • Learn more about Photoshop and use it more frequently
  • Continue to explore surface design including more eco-printing with leaves with my local group
  • Begin researching and planning for The Yurt Project

Now if you were paying attention, you might be saying “What yurt project?” I have really wanted to make a yurt  in the traditional way with a felt covering for a long time. It will be a ton of work and I’m sure I won’t get it all done this year. But I’m going to start working on it this year. I have already gotten some books from the library and my hubby is going to help with the frame construction. I may see if I can involve some school groups or civic organizations and teach more people about felting. The idea is still brewing but I’m excited about moving forward.

What are your plans for 2012? I’d love to hear about them.

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