Cheryl Arkison’s insightful article “Don’t Fear the Curve” reminds all of us who have settled into our own comfort zones that it’s time to break out! Curves seem to be a quilter’s Mt. Everest, when in reality they’re more like rolling hills. There is unexpected terrain, but with the right equipment, and a bit of practice, we can navigate them with ease. Her tips for overcoming a fear of curves begins not with a specific tool or technique, but with our mindset. She explains, “Fear is just another way to say lack of confidence.” We all naturally gravitate toward areas where we feel secure. We may see a beautiful curvy quilt pattern we’d love to try, but then, as she says, “we build it up to be something BIG and SPECIAL and HARD when really all it is is something new.” Our mindset stops us from venturing into that new skill area at times because we are afraid to make mistakes. But the truth is, we can’t learn anything without making mistakes. Once we’ve decided that making mistakes is okay, then we can continue on our journey.
To conquer our fears, Cheryl recommends three important courses of action, beginning with the idea that it is the journey that matters, not the destination. She explains, “There is this belief among quilters that what you make ... has to turn into something at the end.” We all have a goal in mind, but the surest way to feel disappointed is to set high expectations. Instead, we need to allow ourselves to actually play! Let it be an experiment. What’s the worst thing that could happen? More scraps? Well, we know how to deal with those.
For the next step, she reminds us that “fabric is just fabric.” Go ahead, dip into that stash and see what happens! Now, don’t break out your favorite hoarded print you’ve had squirreled away for years, but start simply with solids. And if it doesn’t work out? Here’s her simple solution: “cut it apart and add the scraps to your scrap bin, no fabric wasted!”
Finally, it’s important to embrace the notion that “everyone Is a beginner once.” We all start somewhere, and wherever that place is, we can always improve. We never actually arrive at our imagined destination. With each step we improve, but even experts know there’s always ways to adapt and change. And, above all, beware of comparison. This stealthy joykiller keeps us prisoner. As artist Lisa Congdon said, “Seeking validation gets in the way of creativity.”
Don’t be afraid to play. Do you hear the curved quilts calling your name? Go forth and conquer your fear!
Don't Fear the Curve by Cheryl Arkison is available in our Curves Issue - Get yours today!