I recently organized by studio and believe it or not I threw away some pieces that I didn’t feel were worthy of salvaging. These works were lackluster and weren’t worth the investment of time and effort to save. As I watched them disappear into the bin I didn’t have any sense of loss or disenchantment because although these pieces weren’t masterpieces. I learned something about myself and my creative voice by attempting them.
The piece I’m posting was my most recent attempt at creating small works for experimentation and education (education of my soul and artistic ability). I had created some works in the past that were simply cut outs of fabric placed on a batting and a backing. I followed the old recipe and as I began quilting the piece, but the components started to shift and fall off the quilt. I became increasingly frustrated by this less than perfect creation, and finally decided to stop.
I took the piece out from under the needle and assessed the errors of my ways. What I came to realize is that I needed to secure the small pieces of fabric down on the base so I would have a sturdy foundation when it what time to quilt. I made a commitment to taking a little more time in the preparation so I would have success when I went to finish the art.
This small adjustment made a huge difference in my attitude toward making small works as well as the increased completion rate of the work. I don’t feel that the piece was a failure. I made some wrong decisions and what’s most important is I learned. The learning process is what propels me forward in my creative endeavors. It also gives me the motivation whenever I reach an impasse in life to see what I could do better next time the situation arises using this information.
I think this is especially important when discovering ways of easing our anxiety, lifting depression, or reducing physical pain. If we only try one avenue of healing and it doesn’t work we think we’ve failed instead of it failing. If we assess what didn’t work with this method, then we can look at the alternatives, make new selections, and discover better options that fit our life and our situation.
We’re resilient beings! I hope you’ll look at what’s not working for you today and then ask yourself what else is available that will improve your quality of life!
2 thoughts on “Is Not Succeeding the Same as Failing?”
Years ago a fellow quilter introduced me to the concept of replacing the words “unfinished project” with the word “study”. If you have learned what you need to from a class or project, you are free to move on without feeling guilty. I found this very liberating!
I agree wholeheartedly. The most important part of the process is the takeaway. The liberation is a great catalyst for creativity!!