Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Vision Gap Trap

I have noticed a phenomenon in myself, and have to wonder if it isn't share with many other quilters/artists out there. It's what I like to call the Vision Gap Trap. I'm sure you've all experience it, at least once!

This is how the story goes:

You have a great, wonderful, extraordinary idea for a quilt. You can see all of the glorious details in your vision, the color choices, the fabrics, the design, perfect applique/etc., to die for quilting! You close your eyes, and you see a Paducah winner! Right?

And throughout the entire process, you keep that vision in your mind, pushing you on to completion. However, once you get it done, you feel that little stab of disappointment. You can't quite match the vision image, to the physical piece that's now in front of you. Something isn't quite right. You notice little areas where your quilting isn't quite what you had in mind.

If you had extremely high hopes for this pieces, you may now find that you're not happy at all with what came of the process. The vision in your head still shows a winner, but you brain is translating what you're seeing as somewhere under less than a winner, if you get my drift.

What's going on here? You've spent countless hours on this piece, you took your time, you planned things out, you really focused. How could this be?

I have had this happen to me many, many times. I would get so disappointed in myself and the piece. But after awhile, you begin to realize that everything is not as it seems. The big difference here is how you're seeing things.

You vision is non-filtered, non-judged. You can imagine every little last detail in depth. But when you look at your finished piece, you immediately begin to filter: I like this, I don't like that, that quilting line waggled more than I wanted, that thread didn't "pop" like it did in my head. That's the Technical Filter having its say.

Then, Comparative Filter comes in for the kill. Comparative Filter uses cracks in your self-esteem and sensitivities to do it's thing. You start to compare it to pieces done by a "famous" quilter that you look up to and respect. It tells you that your piece is not as good as the ones they do. It starts to "show" you that it's right, by pointing out any imperfections in your piece, and insisting that "famous quilter's" piece has no flaws.

But that's the problem. "Famous Quilter's" quilt more than likely does have it's flaws, but you have already deemed their work as better, perfect, above yours! Your self esteem and the inability to bridge the vision gap, has trapped you into viewing your quilt more harshly, and judging it against an impossible feat.

I'm pretty sure that Michelangelo looked at the Sistine Chapel ceiling and hated at least one thing on it. I bet he found imperfections, little nuances that looked better in his head than they had translated to in the paint.

We need to be kinder to ourselves, and less judgemental. We have to try and remember when we're looking at our pieces, that they will NEVER be exactly as we envisioned them. And that' it's OKAY! If we could perfectly recreate our vision in to exact replicas, we would be inhuman, omnipotent. And while that would be nice, it is impossible!

So the next time you look at your piece, try to look at it from different perspectives. Look at it from a non quilter's perspective. Look at it from a new quilter's prospective. Look at it from a five year old's perspective! Don't judge the piece for what it is missing in your mind, but rather from what it is offering to the world. Something beautiful!

What I've Been Up To

Well, I have been pretty busy, but on Monday I did manage to get two smaller pieces on the longarm and quilted. Keep in mind, they haven't been trimmed/squared and bound yet!

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