Monday, July 02, 2012

What If?

They say confession is good for the soul!  I'm not sure who "they" are, but I think talking about my what if problem may just help me beat it - so here goes!

When I'm in my craft room/studio I often just freeze!  No, I'm not talking about the temperature, I'm talking about the "what if" syndrome.  I hope I'm not the only one who suffers from this problem, but if I am or not I hope someone will send me a note of encouragement to just ignore the "what if!"

I love paper, fabric, paints, decolourants, felting, embellishments of all kinds - you name it and it's probably in my studio, but so is the fear of "what if."

Fear was once explained to me as false expectations appearing real!  A great way of looking at the word fear, but it doesn't always allow me to dig in and have fun.  I love felting, I love making silk paper, I love stamping and cutting, painting on paper, rocks and fabric and I have more projects ready to start than I can count. I open a drawer and see fun things and I say, "Wow, I really want to do that!" The next thing I hear is the drawer or the cabinet door closing and some day floating through my head.

I would love to say that I just don't have time, but I don't think that's the problem.  I think I have a fear of imperfection!  I want to know how to do things well before I ever begin!  I don't want to mess up even a simple piece of paper and then, I think "what if?'  What if I want to use this piece of fabric for something else and it's already gone?  What if I want to use this piece of paper in a scrapbook and I've cut it up?  What if I use all of this paint and can't get anymore of this color?  What if I start on this and I mess it up?  What if I start to sew and my machine messes up?  What if . . . . . . .   This could go on forever!  And it has!  Oh, I'll use plain paper or card stock or paper that I finally look and decide I'll never ever use it in a scrapbook, so scissors touch it.  (The funny part here is that I don't really scrapbook, and why?  What if I use the paper and don't like the results!  Oh my, this is a very strange because I'm famous when making cards for saying, "that's why paper has two sides" when I make a mistake. But with so many things, I just won't proceed. But, this week I think I had a small break through.

Craziest thing happened.  I have a fairly new friend that is talented beyond words.  She has written books, taught classes worldwide and thrills me with her encouragement and friendship.  I've honestly never known anyone as talented in so many artistic ways and I ask for her address so I could send her a birthday card!  She sent it to me with a sweet note that said, "I would love one of your special cards." Now I couldn't just send her a simple card.  I wanted to make something so special that it would amaze even her, but I froze.  I looked at paper, I thought of sewing, I thought of mixed media, I thought of all the things I've seen her do and wanted so much to try something new,  and I finally slapped some paint on a piece of paper!

But first, I actually cut into some handmade paper!  And guess what it wouldn't take glue or sticky tape!  Learned something there - sure glad I hadn't saved it for a major project down the line.  Then I tried some other things and I felt free.  I just kept saying it's just a piece of paper!  If you don't like it throw it away!  And, of course the finished project turned out different from anything I've ever made and it's in the mail to her.  It won't amaze her, but I think she'll enjoy it and that's really what it's all about.  Well, almost what it's all about, because something else happened to me.

Last night I sat down and I added paint to paper again. I played with paint on paper, I made a card for a long time friend who's birthday is just around the corner and I took some of the ideas from the first card and made another out of the ordinary card.  I also have multiple pieces of paper with paint on them - backgrounds for further cards or mixed media pieces who knows, but I had fun.  I used wire, I used pearl embellishments and most of all I didn't worry or say what if?  I'm telling you, I have it bad - I've not used buttons or pearls because, what if I need them and don't have any more!  Oh, my gosh, that is crazy.  I could use things in my studio every day for the next 20 years and still have more to use.  Maybe I wouldn't have those little pearl halves, but so what!  I would have something else that would work just as well.  Those of you who know me, know I love to paint on stones/rocks.  I never have a problem painting on a stepping stone and I guess it's because I know I can always get more, but I've had a rock shaped like a sheep for years and I want to paint it, but I've been afraid!  And it's a rock!  If it turns out bad, I'll throw it into the driveway and it will soon disappear.  My brain though says when will you ever find another rock that looks like a sheep?  Who cares!  I will be posting a picture of the rock and the painted rock soon!  It is my next goal!!!!!!

I can't wait to make more things or rather just play and see what happens.  When I first met Liz at the quilt show in Houston, she had a book with her that was all different types of stitching.  The pages were made of fabric and it was the most wondrous book I had ever seen.  I bought her book so I could make one of these myself.  She gave page by page instructions, but I've never done it.  Sewing isn't my favorite pastime, but this concept could translate into any type of art and I have begun several art journals and I know that has been stretching me in new ways.  Maybe someday I'll have a book that will encourage someone else to just let go and have fun!

Hand Painted Rock! Stepping Out!
I believe this has helped me release some stuff and will be able to jump in to my projects and I hope this has been an encouragement to some of you to dig into your stash and use it!  I wish you could hear me yell out -

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