08 April 2008

UFOs Again

I had family in this weekend so had little time to blog or do any creative work. I've inspired my mother to learn how to sew, so we spent Sunday in my studio--she was working on pillowcases while I was finishing a set of Bargello placemats, which is a leftover UFO started as a class sample.

That got me to thinking about my UFOs, which are currently heaped on my drawing table. I've lost count, but I think that I've finished eleven projects since the New Year. This has been a slow and steady progress, teaching me a lot about patience, time management, as well as really increasing my free-motion quilting ability. But while I am making good progress, I know I have plenty more to go.

I just took a quick turn around my studio and counted the obvious UFOs. I came up with 14. This includes only traditional quilts and/or unfinished class projects. This does not include any unfinished art pieces, which I have put into a different category.

Fourteen is a lot. It's taken me three months to finish eleven pieces, and I picked a fair bit of low-hanging fruit from the pile. I am really trying to stay focused on the task at hand, but I am finding new creative energy and the desire to start something new with each UFO I finish. How do I manage the competing desires: completion of old projects and creation of new works?

When I made my resolutions in January, I wanted to finish one UFO a month while concurrently working on creating new art pieces. But the sense of satisfaction I got from finishing inspired me to keep plugging away on the UFOs. My single-minded focus has helped me progress quickly, and I'm glad for that, but it is time to reassess that decision.

Rather than continue finishing UFOs until none remain, which could take the rest of the year, I think I want to set a deadline. I'll continue my focused work on UFOs until a certain date, at which point I shift focus. With the seasonal shift from spring to summer, an anniversary to celebrate at the shop, and an annual trade show to attend, June feels like a natural transition to me.

What I envision now is taking my list of UFOs and prioritizing them. Then, over the next two months, I'll work my tail off trying to finish as many as possible. Whatever projects remain unfinished will sit for a while until I am established enough in my new work to not be distracted by them. Once June arrives, I'll transition by finishing my unfinished art pieces. By the middle of July I should be mentally and creatively ready to start new work.

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