I was recently invited to participate in a group show at the art center to which I belong. All the works are to be in paper. The artist who invited me was inspired by my Army Wife show, so i thought it would be a good idea to continue somewhat in that vein. Everyone there "knows" me for my aprons, so I wanted to make a paper apron. In my head it's an apron woven out of security envelopes in a businessy type of pattern (houndstooth in this case). More paper would be used to make a lace-like border and accordion folded and fanned ties. It looks great in my head! But after hours and hours and days and days of cutting strips, glueing, and weaving, I realized that I had made many mistakes in the weaving, and each time I tried to fix one, it exacerbated another. Also, the weaving was not lying as flat and clean as I wanted.
These are problems that could be fixed by starting over. If I made several pieces I could work out the kinks. Practice makes perfect. However, this has a deadline, and it is not the only project I'm working on. Nor is it the only one with a deadline. I realized that I was spinning my wheels trying to make this work straight out of the gate. My time would be better spent saying no to this particular invitation, and getting back to my usual work.
It's frustrating to turn my back on something, but I hope to return to it when I have more time to trouble shoot and refine my process. I'm afraid it's also easy to stay with what one knows in order to avoid just this conundrum. How easy it is to stick with the nice safe process and materials we are already familiar with. I'm excited about my cloth projects though. I don't want them to suffer because I spent too much time trying something new. So it's a delicate balance between staying on the path we know and finding the place and time to branch out. When I've finished the art quilts in progress now, I will return to this paper idea. Plastic bags are calling to me as well. I'll miss this paper deadline, but I'll make some other art quilt ones. All in due time.