Helen B.

The committee.  It is very interesting when you have the time to spend pondering who actually is on the committee?

I find myself going back and revisiting times when anxiety has struck me during the making phase, there is nothing like a deadline to really bring out the worst in a committee.

I didn’t really start my art phase until my early fourties and I guess this was when the committee appeared, not so much one person but the people that didn’t really know me or what I did.

My husband and I have a building company and I have always worked in the business doing bookkeeping.  After my sister in law passed away with breast cancer I was needed to help look after her 4 children as well as my 2, I decided life was too short to do bookkeeping when I didn’t really want too.  So my new years resolution was to get some one to do the job I didn’t want to do.

As a result I started doing art as me time which lead onto study and more study and exhibitions etc.  All of which surprised the community we live in (population of 13,000) as well as friends and family.

So my committee is a mix of these people, which sometimes makes me laugh because I don’t really care what people think, its probably more me thinking my work isn’t good enough for the critics.

I seem to spend hours, days, and weeks trying to come up with a WORTHY idea for what ever it is im going to work on, be it for an exhibition or because I can.

I attended a workshop last year with a well known Australian Printmaker who said to me Helen you need to go and PLAY stop worrying and just have fun.  It was great advice but I still find my head doesn’t always agree with just having fun, it wants the completed masterpiece.

I have written a letter to the committee, which I will burn in time.  I find this process so simple and effective and have used it since my early twenties.  It really does get rid of the crap you keep replaying, I seem to be able to write the whole script, play every role but don’t get the Oscar haha. Although I would have to say I can put in a good performance.

Susan L.

Removing a Committee Member

This is an interesting challenge. It was really hard for me to name my committee member, as it is more of an entity, than a person. So, I started with the idea that my committee member is Mother Time, as my constant enemy in life is time itself.

  • There is never enough, 
  • I don’t always manage it well, 
  • I want more of it, 
  • and so on.

So, in further reflection, and in trying to understand how time can be this committee member, I had to dig harder, and I realize there is more to this. This goes deep and into my childhood and upbringing. I was born and raised in a rural area, as a farm girl. Many strong memories from my childhood revolve around the fact that I must be busy, always, and if I wasn’t, I was ‘bad’. It was seldom that I could tuck myself into a good book, luxuriating in an imagined story, and even if I did, I dealt with guilt. The farm ethic that was drilled into me was the fact that one must never be idle because there was just too much to do. Not an easy childhood, and certainly not one most ‘city kids’ knew. 

Apparently, I have a committee and a sub-committee and I don’t know which is which. Is it a rural ethic that molded me or the need to use time well? Of course, my parent’s attitude plays into this also, but as an adult, I can see that they were products of their own upbringing, and just carried on the mentality that they were raised with.

So, how does Mother Time affect me when I want to be creative? Well, she barrages me with a series of questions and comments;

  • Are you sure you have enough time to do this?
  • Why would you start this now?
  • You know you won’t be able to perform to the best of your abilities.
  • You were crazy to have taken this on in the first place.
  • When will you learn to say ‘no’.

The business woman in me has learned to handle much of these challenges. I can stand my ground and retort that I know I’m not going to do my best, but I will be happy with what I am able to achieve.  I feel the need to create so strong, that I will deal with the demons that argue with me. Yes, I could learn to say ‘no’ more to commitments and distractions; this is an area that I know I can work on, and can achieve some level of success with.

I don’t think I’m going to be able to remove Time from my committee, but I do think we can come to a compromise. In reality, Time’s pressures have aided me greatly in my life and career. I get more done in a day than most people; I am a doer. I can dance circles around many, and achieve my tasks rather well. But the catch in all this is that I don’t necessarily spend my time in the way I want to. I am giving in to demands of my teaching career and my business, without much energy left over at the end of the day.

Why was Mother Time on my Committee?

Well, she monitored my success in the eyes of my parents. If I was busy, I was good; if I was idle, I was bad. So, my use of hours and minutes became the barometer of the person I was. I have never been able to shake this. As a child, and even to this day, I feel a strong need for approval. I realize my upbringing trained me to believe that if I was doing something productive I was worth something, and I was a good person; thus approved.

So, where does this leave me in cleaning up the slate of my committee members?

First, I know that my parent’s are no longer judging my value. I’ve already proved that in their eyes. So, I can wipe that one away. That leaves me with some form of reconciliation with Mother Time, as I have termed her. I think the best strategy, is not to remove her from the committee, but to reestablish and rework the relationship we have with each other. 

I actually like being busy and achieving a lot with the time I have. I have learned to make what I call trade-off decisions. For example, I don’t mind that the TV is rarely on. And, I don’t mind being an Internet shopper at this point in my life, as I don’t want to give the time to driving and shopping and doing the run-around. I know that I take on too much. So, I can work towards lessening my load (which I am proud to say, I am doing). This will take a bit of time to execute, but I am laying a plan and just have to stick to it. 

So, ahead I go. I will make strategies and lists and find a better balance that allows me the time I need to feel and be more creative. Taking this class was a step in that direction. Slowing down to read more was another step. I believe I’m working towards some level of recovery with my addiction of being too busy; I just need to convince Mother Time that my decisions are the right ones, and she can nudge me as needed to keep working in the proper direction.

And so to end…. A shot of the clock on my desk. My constant reminder of what is important.

Deborah S.

Exercise #3: Dismantling the Committee

Deborah C. Stearns

My first thought when reading this week’s essay and assignment is that I don’t have either voices or faces that intrude in my studio.  I can’t think of specific people who are on my Committee with regard to my artistic work.  (Now in my academic work, I am pretty sure I can name specific Committee members . . . but that is not relevant to this exercise.)

When I am stuck in my creative (non-academic) work, I have definite fears or worries.  What if this is the wrong choice (wrong fabric, wrong embellishments, wrong design decisions)?  What if my next step screws it up?  What if my skill isn’t up to the challenge?  (That starts happening once I’m in the middle and I actually like what I am making.)  I often experience decision paralysis.  So I know that I have an inner sense of judgement (this won’t come out right) – but I don’t have specific people in mind who are criticizing me.  It feels like an objective standard that I will fail (though I know it isn’t always) or like my own voice.

The other barrier is just the sense that I should do all the other tasks before going to the studio.  Everything else is a higher priority than artistic work – my teaching, house tasks, exercise, family and work obligations – those all need to be done with greater urgency than my studio work.  So months and years go by and I don’t do any work in my studio.  Obviously, there is an inner voice that makes those priority decisions, too.  But it feels like my own voice more than anyone else’s.  Of course I have a sense of the needs of my students, my colleagues, my sweetie, so their voices are in there to some extent, but mostly I just know that I have deadlines and obligations and I believe that those take precedence over my personal pursuits.

In other words, as far as I can tell, my Committee is me.  And if I want my Committee to quit getting in my way, I’d have to throw myself off.  I’m not sure what that would look like, but I guess I could pink-slip myself from my own Committee:

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Deborah,

I would like to begin by thanking you for your many years of service on my Committee.  I know that you believe that you have my best interests at heart.  While I certainly appreciate the time and effort you have put into working on my Committee, I must let you go at this time.  I am doing so for two reasons: Your overly rigid sense of priorities and your risk-aversion with regard to creative decision making.

I must say that largely, I concur with your priorities.  Indeed, I would say that I am morally committed to the same key principles you espouse.  I, too, believe that we should strive for excellence at work and meet our obligations to students and colleagues.  I also believe that making time for family and relationships is vitally important.  Health and wellness, too, are key priorities – without taking care of body and mind, we will not do our best work on any front.  In short, I cannot fault your core commitments.  However, I am concerned that you have left too little space for personal needs.  You are too quick to prioritize others’ needs over our own.  I wish to carve out a better balance that includes time for studio work and personal growth, even if this is only a few hours a week.

My second concern has to do with your overly risk-averse approach to creative work.  Time and time again, you remind us of the possibility of failure.  I, too, believe in minimizing unnecessary risk – I won’t be bungee jumping any time soon.  But growth requires risk.  Anytime we try something new, we must expect mistakes.  Mistakes represent opportunities for learning.  And, in general, the mistakes we might make in the studio are unlikely to be truly catastrophic.  As Q says, “satellites will not fall from the sky” because I chose the wrong fabric or made a poor design decision.  The worst that will happen is that there will be a waste of time and supplies, with no usable final product resulting from the studio time.  But if this process results in learning, the time and supplies will not have been wasted in the long run.  So your perfectionism and fearful approach to creative work has inhibited our learning and stalled our growth.

In short, you have become a barrier to getting the work done.  I can’t have people on my Committee who keep me from working – it just isn’t helpful.  Please find enclosed a gold watch, which I believe is the traditional retirement gift for Committee members.  I wish you the best in your future endeavors.

Sincerely,

Deborah C. Stearns

P.S.  Please do not contact me in future.  I think it is best that we make this a firm break.

Christine W.

This last week has been a spectacular illustration of procrastination. I feel like Doug the Dog, “Squirrel!” I have done everything to distract myself, unfortunately it was not doing stuff in my studio space. I did do a lot of writing though, which has been helpful. I just could not sit down and write my submission.

At this point, I haven’t found a committee, I think I disbanded it a while ago without knowing it. It’s just me being a catty critic. meow

I look at artists’ work that I admire and I think  "I could never make work that creative" and, “gee I don’t even know how I’d go about making something that complex and beautiful. I’d ruin it for sure”. Likely I would ruin work and it not be as creative because I would be imitating their style, not my own. I have learned to let those thoughts go when they come.

Then there is the other extreme where I see work that is less skilled and I think “ugh, I hope my work doesn’t look like that” (yes, shameful but true). I have learned to ignore those thoughts also because the person making the piece is one up on me – they actually completed pieces and they have fun doing it, and frankly they don’t care a fig about my opinion. No hang ups and no procrastination. Just fun and joy in making. That I greatly admire!

I get my anxiety when I approach my work table. I can be good for a day or two and think “I have all this figured out” but then I fall apart and start piling my work table with clutter, which becomes a physical and mental barrier to making. I’ve made this whole making thing too big in my head. This is where the committee comes in.

In the immediate

• I really should be doing something to clean the house and organize things

• I really should be making dinner

• I really do have to make jam with those oranges before they rot.

• I really do have to clean out the garden

• I should go get groceries, and hubby needs a jacket so I should go into that store too, and kiddo needs new party shoes so I need to go there as well (3hrs later)

• But I don’t have a good place to clean up the paints or dyes

• Oh, I need a nap (my favourite)

And on a grander scale

• Don’t make your hobby your work because you’ll end up hating it. (note I don’t say passion because right now I’ve lost my passion)

• You can’t make any money as an artist.

• You need a “proper” job so you can be financially secure in case anything happens.

• I don’t have an arts degree.

• What if I don’t have the stick-to-it-ness to make a go of it? And I don’t even know what “it” is at this moment.

• What in the world am I going to do with all the work I (theoretically) end up making?

It is all based on a scarcity and fear mindset. I’m working on it, starting with counting my blessings and doing a bit of writing every day.

Squirrel!

Sara N.

I have been thinking about the idea of the committee for some time, trying to identify who is on my committee.  My committee is small but powerful.  There are two people, one a family member and one a friend, both who do the most beautiful work, intricate, exact, very very skilled.  I respect them hugely!    I am also surrounded by the most lovely people, many many people, who are excited and accept what I would like to do.  What is interesting is that it is those two people are so influential in my mind.

My work is not 'skilled', never has been.  But I have always made for others, used what I make and enjoy the time doing so.  I go to my sewing room and can just sit and the world is ok.  It is my haven.

Getting back to the committee, I chair it.  I am an equal partner in crime, if not more so than the others, as I could choose not to listen, or not to be swayed by them.  I have to wonder if I am 'using' them as an excuse for my own poor chairmanship, for my reluctance to just do it.  Regardless of what I may imagine they think about my work, I could just do it and 'wear it', 'use it' with pride.  I could educate and explain, have discussions.   I don't believe either would criticise to my face.  We are friends.  But I have heard them criticise others, and for some reason I am fearful of that.

What really interests me is the quirkiness of the unstructured, the simplicity of simple stitches and what they can represent, the re-fashioning of the already used, the colours.  I love the look of Boro, and Kantha stitching. Am I worried I am trying to look like a person different to how everybody sees me?    This is the problem I have to work through.

I think what I am saying, is that I have no excuse.  I have not tried in the past to pull apart the committee, but have accepted their judgement, so I am as much to blame as they.  But this is where it stops.  I can make a difference.  Life is too short.

Rayne V.

So I ended up doing a stream of consciousness writing and a telling off letter to my mom.  I didn't get to a place of forgiveness but made it as far as compassion.  She was a constant critic and very judgmental person and she was my whole world when I was younger.  I remember working very hard to make her happy but she rarely was.  I remember asking her about her decision to be a wife and mom and she would say how women at that time were just suppose to get married and have children.  You get older, hopefully wiser, and see parents as just people who were doing the best they could at that time who really didn't have all the answers.  She is not here to talk to but I think she didn't believe she deserved to be happy.  I know why she is on my committee.  I felt responsible for her unhappiness.  I know why she needs to be removed from the committee.  I don't want to live that way or have that kind of relationship to my family.

A full circle moment came about a year ago when my stepfather sent me all of my mom's craft stuff. I gave a boatload of yarn to my daughter's art teacher for her weaving projects.  It feels good to let all of it go for something good.  I have some of my mom's unfinished knitting projects that, when finished, represent my freedom from her on my committee. There is a multicolored afghan. That will go back to my stepfather when it is done.

Another project in my mom's knitting were pieces of an afghan she complained about because she never finished it.  I could not throw them out, it was beautiful work.  I could not keep them.  My stitch-n-bitch club suggested I make scarves out of the pieces.  I love the idea that the original afghan was never finished because it really wanted to be scarves. I will enjoy giving away the scarves and letting go of everything I feel when I look at them. I hope they will be a blessing to someone else.

Anita M.

Gosh this is one to make me think and delve deep into myself. Lots of displacement actives have taken place before actually sitting in front of my computer to start!

My committee is me! It is my voice I hear, the comments that pop up are not attributed to any one. 

So that started me thinking I didn’t arrive in the world look around me and think….well as soon as I get the hang of holding my head up and walking…. I’ll start by cleaning the floor then everyone will be pleased!

So I reckon my committee has been learnt by absorbed subliminal messages from folk I’ve met along my journey.

My mother never has followed her dream…

Mum took on the wife & mother at home roll…..which I now think she found stifling. Little events that took place….going into London by bus one very cold January, she must have saved up ages to get the fare. With a flask of hot tomato soup and us kids, we sat in St. James park and watched the ducks land and slide for ever on the frozen lake and skid all over the place trying to take off….it’s one of the funniest and exciting events I remember. 

But, I also now know how desperate she must have been for change…..much later in life she took up drawing and painting, such a talent that could have travelled further…..I think a bohemian life style would have suited her well!

My father was never still, always working, fixing, making, providing, as well as loving and playing with us, when he had the time and energy left.

Having now inherited some of his engineering books from his RAF days. they are stunning, beautiful technical drawings of screws, pistons etc. Did he ever really achieve his full potential, his desire?

l can see now I have taken on those traits, family, work first; make sure every one is OK first.  I also picked up from dad that I can do anything, fix anything, make anything but it should relate to the first criteria, or is that me, my self imposed rules?

For some reason I’m now sitting with tears streaming down my face.

These folk were/are into their 90’s, from a completely different social structure, where self didn’t enter into it, life was harder. 

So that’s two strong re enforcement for me, others first, should I choose to accept the mission…which I have fully taken on board.

I had a grandmother for whom everything had to be done as quickly as possible, she could knit me a cardigan in 2 days! while still doing everything else. A grandfather who was the life and soul of any social gathering..both had victorian values (that’s the era they were born in after all)

I had some amazing teachers, but one, in primary school managed to crush any self confidence I had, out of me…unfortunately I had her for two years…do teachers ever really realise the influence/power they have over children? 

Why didn’t I let the amazing teachers, who I had later, dominated like odd my primary school teacher?

Having difficulty in hearing and possible dyslexia, neither which were recognised or addressed, didn’t do a lot for my self confidence either.

So where does all this leave me now…..?

I have a husband who definitely has/is followinghis dream….our business is built on it…I have toddled along quite happily…though I can see now it is not my dream. Family and house have to come first. After all, making stuff, drawing etc doesn’t bring in money, it’s for pleasure when other tasks are completed.

He often says I must make sure I do what I want to….but I always feel yes, you mean after I have completed all the other things. He is surprised when I say that…but I still end up cooking the supper. Do I ask for help, no, my rule says people should notice what needs doing and offer!

Self imposed limits learnt through life and my own interpretations, often not questioned, but taken on and then built on even further, have lead to feeling out of step with life.

Starting…( is everything else done) and finishing projects (gosh must stop to do….) are the boundaries my thoughts put on me. The next thoughts are…well is it useful…could it be sold…will anyone like it ( hence the desire to sell…thoughI have never sold any thing I’ve ever made or even tried to) so perfection is needed straight away and that could lead to success or failure, best to stay fiddling on the edge so I don’t have to take responsibility.

I’ve never really been/felt part of a tribe, or particularly needed to, but still have a need to be accept….. by some of them!

I’m gradually learning not to be upset by unthoughtful words, that it’s a choice to take offence or be upset…..words said often say more about the other person than the person the words are directed at….So to add to my learning will be allowing myself time or even just acknowledging that I’m am doing a displacement task…….rather than exploring an idea…if I get as far as the table then to enjoy being there for it’s own sake and enlightenment, that it doesn’t actually have to mean anything or be a master piece…not to seek external praise….it’s not easy being human! 

Having said all that, can I stumble straight away? ……is this piece too long and I have strayed from the task or even addressed the task!!!!

Amber M.

"We all have heard the saying, which is true as well as witty,

That the camel was a horse that was designed by a committee."

(Allan Sherman, "Peter and the Commissar")

My committee. I've got some names in mind...Mom? Her biggest and really only crime was making me her mirror, and projecting her dreams onto me, instead of allowing me to find my own. My sister, Susan? Nah..she was just being an older sister; it was her job to torment the younger. Uncle Bob? Good golly, I've got an entire other page dedicated to Apple Bob. He terrorized us with his brilliance, influencing my family in ways I'm only now appreciating, all the way back to my mom's childhood...My dad? The spiritual thrillseeker? He valued creativity over the workaday; wanted to write and be published someday. He told me bedtime stories then went upstairs to write them down; he brought Dave into the house; the stories were illustrated and creativity blossomed in all directions. 

Mom's influence will never leave, of course; and one of the PeoplePleaser people I try hard to please is her. I'm still afraid to write anything critical about her that she might read, because I don't want to hurt her feelings. Of course. But over the years, I've gradually stepped further away from being the mirror of *her* identity and created a mirror of my own. If I hear myself thinking in old patterns, as if Mom still had control over my choices, I just tear a yard of quilting cotton into fat quarters, and in my mind's eye I see her wince and frown: "Aaugh! Cut it, don't tear it! You lose half an inch tearing it that way!! Cut it!!" And I smile: ONLY half an inch? You should see how much I lose if I try to *cut* it straight. Shrug: "It's the best way I've found to do it, Mom. Love you."

It's not just Mom chairing the PeoplePleasing Department of me: I want EVERYONE to approve of what I've made. I genuinely cannot understand how anyone can look at a piece of beautifully dyed cloth and not get utterly lost in how the colors broke, how the dyes made Rorschach patterns all over. It makes me so excited; why aren't you as blissed out as I am?!

Hmm...Still thinking...I could make an amalgam of all the elementary school teachers who stomped me flat, call it Mrs. Crumpotbottom or something. Other kids were awful, too: what about Ann Wysocki, who tried to steal my solo in junior high chorus and nearly succeeded? Yeah, she's there, sandwiched in among the other girls who chased me into the bathroom to torment me (kinda like that scene in "Carrie" but different). Then there was that awful swim coach. Ooh, I hated him. "COME ON, MILLER! You're worthless and weak!" An expression that's made it into the joke portion of my brain, though I can still hear him shouting it. That dude was sadistic. Heck, I didn't even want to be ON the swim team. I wanted to be a mermaid.

I can no longer name the art teachers who did their part to stomp me flat but whom I was desperate to impress. I've made a stick figure in my head, and put on it the face of a Watercolor class teacher of recent acquaintance. She made the beginners in the class come to her desk, when she could clearly see the impossibility of *this* beginner weaving the wheelchair through all those tall tables. Another art class abandoned in tears.

I could go on, but I think it would be disingenuous of me. I've forgiven them, for the most part. (Except Miss Wysocki and the Marquis de Swim, grrr.) All those sarcastic voices and blank disinterested faces grow hazier with every successful piece of cloth I turn out. They re-emerge at times of low esteem and dim hope, but I've by and large got them corralled. Except for one.

My harshest critic -- the most heinous and horrid member of my Committee, the one who stands behind a 1000 watt torture-bulb and spews vitriol at whatever I do, the most unforgivable and unforgiving presence in the sensory deprivation chamber where I can hear nothing but its haranguing, see nothing but its cold unyielding condemnation, the snarky bitch who only grudgingly admits something *might* be sort of pretty but don't get cocky, kid -- is Amber. Oh I am a hateful critic. HATEFUL. Here we are at the third week, the 4th writing opportunity for this class: my introductory bio was a week late and weeks 1 and 2 were hard; I nearly didn't make it. Tearing hair, self-flagellation, roaring at my own uselessness, pacing in tight circles muttering moldy curses. "I'M DOING IT WRONG I'M DOING IT WRONG I'LL NEVER GET IT RIGHT OH WHAT'S THE USE." Well. Week 3 just asks me to write; an activity I know I can do well, so there's very little pressure to "perform" (that word should be in circus poster font, with a small brass band nearby squawking Sousa.) This is the first written assignment that hasn't had me screaming about my own worthlessness. Yet.

Paradoxically, I have been engaging in avoidance behavior even here: I wrote a bunch of stuff (the "shitty first draft") right after the assignment was posted, then spent the rest of the week in the studio doing necessary but kind of boring color testing. Avoiding the work designed to teach me how to stop avoiding the work I'm not avoiding at the moment because I'm avoiding *this* work.

Huh?

I should point out that a couple of henchmen accompany Amber the Tyrant of the Board: Major Depression and Colonel Chronic Pain. (I might also throw in General Malaise, but I think that's pushing the metaphor.)

The Major keeps my self-esteem low, points out the uselessness of making things no one's ever going to see, let alone BUY, and really what sort of person wants this stuff anyhow. Major Depression keeps me walking along the edge of an abyss, where there be monsters; periodically one of the monsters grabs me and pulls me down, and it's a while and a struggle to pull myself back up. Depression makes the abyss inevitable, non-negotiable: where there is Depression, there is Pit. The making of art keeps me sane; occupied; keeps the monsters distracted. Put a price tag on it at the Craft Show? Hell, I'd do it for free, and it's not like it's Professionally Done and whatnot, so I really should only charge people for the materials used. That'd be great. That'd be enough (humble head dip). 

Except: Why doesn't anyone value my art?! Oh man, the monsters are right! I *am* worthless and weak! Start the climb back up to the edge. Sigh.

The Colonel is no joke either. Pain is the Boss, a Video Game Boss, by which I mean Pain is the toughest, meanest Monster I have to defeat in order to clear this level. It cuts me absolutely no slack. I work around it, I work through it, I work past it, I cater to its demands to SIT DOWN GODDAMMIT, and sometimes I just let it procrastinate for me, so I don't have to think of an excuse to avoid joy. Other days I am legitimately flattened -- cold wet days are the worst, when even breathing becomes difficult and all I can really do is lie around like third base. Whimpering. Pain constantly reminds me there's a Degenerative thing going on, and there's a reason they used that word, and not something like Sparkly. "Dearie, don't forget what Degenerative means: the more you use it the faster you'll lose it, so go right ahead and push past it, go ahead and ignore it ... for now ... You. Will. Pay."

And this feeds right back into Major Depression, who takes over and reminds me that if I had any real courage and/or commitment to my art, I'd be down there, pain or no, and boy what a wuss to stay here under the blankets wheezing.

I hear atonal circus music playing...is that a Mis'ry-Go-Round? I don't think I like what the horses look like. They all have humps. And don't get me started on those stupid cows.

Jo V. L.

A native American woman once explained to me the difference between the way traditional white middle class Anglo Saxons think and the way indigenous people think. The process for the people that are not close to mother earth is very linear. It is step by step progressing from one thing to another. The indigenous process is more global. It is all things coming together at once without a scaffolding or direct line. As I try to put my thoughts together on my committee, I am feeling very much like my indigenous friend. All my thoughts are coming inward refusing to line up so I can put to words what I feel.

 My committee does not bother me when I am working. It strikes when I have finished a piece and I want to present it. My committee has unknown names but the common name is “artist”. I find myself intimidated when presented in a new situation where I respect the art work of others. An example was when I was accepted in the art cloth mastery program. I was thrilled to be there but once I saw the work of the other artists I felt I was not worthy of being there. With encouragement from Jane, I realized that I do belong and have value.

The best gift I have given myself lately is to call myself an ARTIST. By naming myself artist, I push the little committee that says my seams are not straight or my binding is not full, right out of my head. It feeds the need to be recognized as a creative, skilled person not a crafter making cute things.

I have a friend who is well known in the quilt circle for many years. She hand quilts all her quilts and was the quilter for an internationally known quilter for years. She recently juried a show. I submitted a piece for the show and it did not get in. I tried to invite her to my committee. I realized what I was doing and told myself. The choice not to accept my piece in the show was her opinion and it did not make me less than.

I have two very intuitive daughters. They often zing me with one liners that help me redirect my committee’s voices. I once complained that when I had returned from a week long quilting seminar, my husband did not ask how it was or even want to see what I did. One daughter pointed out that when he returns from a fishing tournament, I really am not thrilled or interested in hearing how many and how big were the fish!! Perspective. The other daughter encouraged me to enter shows. I had entered a few and was rejected. She suggested a list of what I enter and what are the results. I now know I have about 50% success rate on entering shows. I feel good about that.

My best defense against the committee is to keep learning. The more tools I have under my belt, the stronger I will become.