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Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Artistry or Creativity?

(Technical problem may be the wireless router....not sure yet)

I've heard it said that everyone is an artist. Interestingly enough I don't feel like I have an artistic bone in my body....however....I am very creative.

When it comes to messes, I have noticed that my creativity is very messy and I tend to think that an artist would have a purposeful mess.  Maybe I’m just splitting hairs here….maybe not….I’ll let you decide.

Take for instance Mary Jane, my late girlfriend. She did have some piles, 99% of them were project based and in her sewing room.   The projects typically had a container that could be put someplace so it could be easily found.  I always loved that about her.  She had an engineer’s mind and lots of artistic abilities.  The yardage of fabric in her stash frequently contained hand written on the salvage: the name of the fabric line, yardage she had purchased, store it was purchased from along with the price and sometimes the date as well.

My brand of creativity is free floating and typically uncontained  I have a mess makers mind and it can be a struggle to find the right container to hold my projects or even find my supplies sometimes.  Recently I wanted to punch more you think I could find my hexagon punch?  Nope!!!  I looked high and low and still no punch.  The good news is that Mary Jane and I each had a punch and I knew right where her punch a labeled container!

The engineer in her had put all the fabric she was using along with scissors, needles, thread and the punch to work on her project.  Contained artistry....something I have yet to master.  However....I am making progress :)

This is what you can currently find sitting in front of my sofa.  A re-purposed container from Costco filled with lots of tiny zip lock bags holding my various hexagons.    To be really fancy, I have Aaron's discarded pencil box from elementary school to hold my punched hexagons and fabrics cut to size to be assembled travel kit if you will.  None of this stacks neatly anywhere...but do I spend my time in the isles of a department store looking for the right size container or do I make do with what I have?  My creative mind says... make do and save your money for more important things.  See how I think?  More like a mess maker than an engineer...the struggles we face...ROFL.

I really like the well engineered discarded pencil case because it is so easy to take along with me where ever I go.  Last week it traveled to the snow hill....this week to a few doctors well contained little mess.

A small digression.....At last month's guild meeting , my girlfriend Barb  brought her English paper pieced project and it is absolutely beautiful.

English paper piecing seems to be all the rage and there are many people doing amazing works of art.  After seeing Barb's piece I began thinking about all those little hexagons I have put together over the years...another mess brewing!!!

You see when I learned to do English paper piecing it was with small little hexagons...

yep.....the size of a nickle.  Mary Jane taught me and that was the size she was using at the time.  Naturally I had no idea that hexagons could be different sizes or that I could put 1/2 hexies with diamonds and triangles in with the hexagons...not a clue.   Mary Jane thought I needed a car project to keep my hands busy during those long trips between Ohio and Pennsylvania  so I set about making hundreds if not thousands of little hexagons.  With no planned project I just kept stitching those tiny little fells and over the years I now have a tote bag full.  

I began organically piecing all my hexagons together....letting the "story" unfold.
Some are put together by theme or fabric....I do love the little girl at the bottom of this one....with her legs kicking up to the side...cracks me up.

Another cute piece I like...where will they fit in?  The mystery will continue to unfold as I go along.

A larger piece here....just adding as I go.

This is the current size of my "mess" with several other larger pieces I have yet to stitch on.  I hope when you click on this photo it will enlarge because I gave a monkey a bikini top.

Artists...I tell myself...know the direction they are headed, they have an idea in their mind and they set out to bring that picture or project into being.  My creative mess makers mind sees all these nickle size hexagons and thinks....just start and let each speak to you and add them as you go.

If you have started any of these English paper piecing projects....I'd love to see and hear about them.  Are you an artist or a creative mess maker?  

Giggles and Smiles,


  1. Well - I WAS a mess maker - but just last Sunday I bought some plastic baskets at the dollar store, and now my 3 messes are completely contained. I don't function well in chaos, although I sure know how to create it. I frequently have a plan in mind when I start, but somewhere along the line creative juices kick in and things morph out of control....I may be schizophrenic. Love your hexies!!!!

  2. I'm a mix. My studio is a wreck. But my hexie projects are fairly orderly

  3. Messy vs organized I think of as different mind sets, I'm messy and every time I try to get organized I end up frustrated and walk away to make a quilt and more of a mess. I tell myself I'll eventually use it all up and no more mess, most sew faster, LOL.

  4. I disagree with "artists know the direction they are headed" - it is a some do, some don't. It is important to let the work speak - sometimes it says things you would never (consciously) say - or perhaps it says things you just didn't think to say.
    I have huge messy piles. I want to organize it - and I do attempt to do that. But usually I start with great intentions and find a project that speaks to me right now- so I try to follow the muse.

  5. I"m not artistic at all. I can't draw a feather, which is probably why I can't free motion quilt. If I can't draw it with a pencil, how can I draw it with a sewing machine. I'm a disorganized, creative person. I'm always losing things in my sewing room. I have buckets all over the place (different sizes, shapes and colors). Of course, none are labeled. What few hexies I do have are LARGE (2.5") not tiny. Have fun with those. Cute!

  6. what a fun project, I've done lots of EPP projects- some Ahhhh's, plain hexagon flowers and purses-found a great purse hexagon pattern on pinterest... great to see you blogging again btw.
    I'm an organized messy quilter I think :)

  7. I do not have an engineer mind. NOT ME. I have been cutting squares - large to small; strips to 1 inch. My sewing room looks like a tornado is swirling. It is not a calm, peaceful space. My husband walks by and keeps saying "I am in a FIRE HAZARD." We have a trip to purchase multiple fire alarms. And so it goes.

  8. I can work in most of my mess okay. My problem is I'm easily distracted and wander off to do something else forgetting my original goal. Age has really increased this problem so I don't even cook without someone in the house unless it only takes a few minutes like toast....LOL....I know it's not really funny, but what are you going to is what it is.

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  11. I think there are many kinds of artists, some of whom walk deliberately toward a goal and others who wander around a lot on their creative journey. I rather enjoy the wandering about approach.


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More Later-Beth


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