Friday, January 4, 2013

Juggling Many Projects

Between link parties from WIP (work in progress) Wednesdays at Freshly Pieced and Freemotion Fridays on the Freemotion Quilting Project, we've got a great start in generating interest in the 5 x 7 challenge for 2013!

Hand-painted and block-printed fabrics and papers
by Christina
I've been struggling with how to juggle getting a project done while designing and/or conceptualizing one or more others. It's not like I don't do this all the time in my everyday life... What woman doesn't? Even my studio has a minimum of 4-5 things going at a time-some on the design wall, others in various states of completion. But when you come down to a commitment to produce a finished product each week, my stomach gets a bit tight, I wonder if I'll be able to persevere throughout the year, and I feel a bit frantic about wanting to work ahead and get a bunch done, so that if things come up, I won't end up with nothing to show for the week.  But that seems a bit off-target.  After all, the idea is to learn to consistently produce art, right?

Christina's gradation run of sunshine yellow Procion MX dye
So, I'm taking a deep breath and thinking about how I'm going to do my next piece.  I also think that I'll allow myself to work on design ideas in my sketchbook, which I can then decide whether I want to produce in a more finished form at a later date.  But I won't actually have more than the current week and the coming week's projects in any phase of production.

What I'm wondering is what would be the best way to balance getting my "other" projects complete.  After all, I do have other goals for 2013 which I need to make progress on.  I didn't even put in additional time for dyeing and surface design in my goals, nor did I mention any of the pieces I have in various stages of completion, other than a vague mention of "ramping up my pictorial quilts" and having a couple pieces completed to enter in various shows.

As an example, in a little less than two weeks, my small art-quilt group (the Fiber Funsters) has our next meeting where we reveal our second challenge quilt.  (Details about this challenge are posted on my blog post "The Fiber Funsters 10x16 Group Challenge.")  The current challenge is based on the word "Celebrate."  It seemed appropriate for the holiday season and I had hoped to incorporate something which would work both for this theme and "Salsa!" the theme of the CQA Mighty Tieton show coming in early summer.  However, it just didn't really work for me.  I designed a piece using photos from a cathedral door with a chili-pepper wreath on it, but when it was shrunk down to 10" x 16", it just didn't work for me.  I may still create that piece in a larger format for the Salsa show, however.  So, now I'm working on something more abstract and playful with my hand-dyed and painted fabrics.  With time running short, I'm going to have to get a lot of time in behind my sewing machine this weekend!

Hand-painted and block-printed fabrics and papers
by Christina
Realistically, what I'm talking about is time management.  With my background in business, I understand and can get focused when I think about it in this way.  I can schedule my sewing sessions, make a timeline for when I have to get things complete, and have to-do lists for each step of each project.  The main thing is not to get mired down in the daily muck of being run by your plans and schedules.  That, after all, doesn't really allow for free-flowing creativity.  However, it can be very useful for managing showing your artwork and possibly for getting more accomplished (I haven't really tried it for managing my work in the studio.)

How do you manage your time, projects and priorities?  Do you work on one project or many?

You might also be interested in:
Making Fabric
Scope Creep
The Art of Organization


  1. I'm not going to fret and worry. I tell myself that but do get antsy about deadlines. I plan on trying to do something once a week but it will not necessarily be worthy of much other than a learning experience. usually a really good piece either comes together quickly just by chance and kismet or more often it has to sit awhile for me to add or take away, so don't worry about the 5 x 7 projects having to be perfect. i don't think anyone would expect that. I just like to see what others are trying and learning and hopefully that is what it's all about, right?

    by the way - I don't see where to follow you so I can see your blog when new posts are up. at the very bottom i see the networked blog thing but that you have to log into facebook and i don't like the new facebook so am not using them anymore. I could try subscribing by email although that might just be comments.

  2. Yes, I agree with your thoughts and rationally know I don't have to make "perfect" art. I think that it gets tricky with how you feel versus what you know. Over-riding the feelings of worry and just creating consistently will be a good exercise for all of us.

    Thanks for letting me know about the subscription issue. I've added some options on the right side of the blog. Let me know if that doesn't work for you and I'll play with it some more. :)