I was looking at the photos from the recent AQS show in Paducah. I looked at them (thanks, Leslie, for posting!) and thought they were unbelievably gorgeous. The work, the time, the creativity. I also thought that there was no point in me ever enering anything in Paducah, because that work is different from what I do. It isn’t that I probably couldn’t do what Sharon Schamber and Caryl Bryer Fallert do, but I really don’t want to. I love the work that I do and want to continue on the path that I am on and not make something just to enter it into Paducah.
Today when I read the Word of the Day, Struggle, I thought of these feelings I had when looking at the Paducah photos.
Deng Ming Dao, from 365 Tao writes (abridged by me!):
“Goals are important. Forbearance is also important. But the very process of struggle is equally essential…Without it, we cannot know any true meaning in our accomplishments.”
“A writer will write significant passages as if they were dictated. Each might say, ‘It happened so fast!’ But in reality, it took all of them years of dedication and struggle to come to that moment of climaz. Thus even the virtuoso performance is the tip of a lifetime of struggle, and the gem of meanin is set in the metal of long perseverance.”
Struggle has a negative connotation at first glance, but this passage is great because it acknowledges past work and sums up success.
I think that we have to acknowledge our past work as we achieve success in the present and the future. We have to acknowledge how much we have learned and struggled to get where we are at this point. Caryl Bryer Fallert and Shawn Fanning (founder of Napster) did not have immediate success. What appears to be immediate success has some kind of backsory. Caryl Bryer Fallert had years of machine quitling experience behind before winning best of show at Paducah. Shawn Fanning knew about the Internet and programming before he created Napster.
I don’t think that a person can have instant and immediate success. There is always something behind doing something for the first time: family, classes, related experience. There has to be a foundation.
TFQ turned me on to a Flickr group called Mod Sampler Quilt-Along. It is related to the blog, Oh fransson! It seems that this is where people are gathering now and sharing their quilts in a way that is different from the Paducah show. TFQ and I had a long talk about the AQS show and how it relates to new quiltmakers. She is starting a blog and I hope she will write more about our discussion, but if not, I will pick it up later.
Note: You can see the beginning of the WOTD project on the January 1 post. While I am still doing the project in my journal, I am only posting WOTDs here when they really related to something I have seen or done. My last WOTD post on February 1, 2009 explains a little about my thinking.