I set myself up for an ugly February. I like to set an intention for the month, something to focus on. I have a two person show coming up in July and not a big enough body of work. I thought a good plan would be to finish up any unfinished art that I have lying around. That would quickly produce some work to hang. So I set my intention as finishing up UFO’s (unfinished objects). I allowed that whatever I didn’t finish by February 28th just doesn’t get finished, gets put away again or repurposed. No pressure right?
I am feeling so much pressure. I’ve hung all the ufos or laid them out in my studio. I’ve stared at them all month trying to figure out how to finish them. Each piece has a story or reason why I created it. A couple of them still hold some interest for me but I’m afraid I’m really excited about the new body / style of work I’m brewing in my mind and I’m having a hard time finishing up old stuff. So I agonize and torture myself. I hate that I’ve put so much work into these pieces and now I don’t even care about them. I tell myself when I finish the old I can start the new. Why do we do this?
As a means to distract myself from actually getting anything done I search the internet, go to the library, cook new food… In my desperate attempts to procrastinate I came across an article by Jen Daly (in Quilters Newsletter June/July 2012) about making peace with your UFOs. She listed her quilts and said why they were unfinished.
So I decided to look at my pieces and think about WHY I didn’t finish them instead of HOW I could finish them. Some of them were unfinished because I thought they were finished but didn’t love them. Some were unfinished because some bright shiny thing came up and drew my attention away from them, and others I was just plain stumped on.
I worried, as Jen did about the waste of time, fabric and brain cells that went into them. I started to feel guilty about starting a new project when they were unfinished. Then Jen goes on to remind me that in making these pieces I learned new skills and made discoveries that I brought forward to my future art. Maybe I need to call these finished projects after all. Maybe all they were just meant to be were lessons, not works of art. Maybe its time to cut them up or hang them for what they are. Maybe I should give or – gulp – throw them away. Do I really need that pile of nagging stress in my studio? Tomorrow is February 28th. I have a frog to finish and 2 pieces to set aside to turn into covers for notebooks – easy repurposes that I can sell on Etsy. Good bye old junk! Good bye unfinished stress. I’m moving on!