Blog - Valerie Wilson - Fibre Art. My studio, work process and inspiration.

A Picture of Innocence

Here is my picture that I am titling Innocence.
This portrait is of a baby stitched on fabric.

If you’ve been following me for any period of time you know that I love working from vintage photographs.

The original photo showed the baby seated on a fur throw that had been placed over a chair. I fell in love with the photo.

I created this piece for an exhibit with the Fibre Art Network called Chromatopia. The rules are that we had to do two 12″ x 12″ pieces and wrap them on canvas. We were provided with 2 paint chips and told that we could only use one colour on each piece. 

The green paint chip is an odd shade of green and I couldn’t find a suitable fabric in my stash.

Initially, I did find one piece of fabric that had the right green and I was thrilled!

Until I realized that some yellow showed in spots. I was unlikely to be able to cover that yellow with anything without getting a yellow-green which this colour is not.

Creating the picture.

To improve the lighting in the photo. I edited it in Adobe Photoshop Elements. In the next step, I cropped the photo and enlarged the section that I wanted to use.

I painted some white fabric with some green paint that I found in my stash. I’m not sure when I created that mix of paint but it was perfect!

I then traced the main lines that I wanted onto tracing paper and then pinned it to my fabric sandwich (top green fabric, batting, and backing fabric). As a result, I now had the design ready to stitch on to the fabric.

Next, I stitched through all the layers to create my design and quilt it at the same time.

After quilting, I decided the background was blah, so I carefully lifted the top fabric and placed some lace underneath, pushing it as close to the child’s head as possible.

I then used an Inktense pencil in Hooker’s Green to rub over the lace giving me some texture in the background. I lightly sprayed the background with water to get a more intense colour and blended it slightly with a paintbrush. More shading was added to the baby’s face and gown as well.

It turned out to be a fun project. 

Now on to the second piece that will be in yellow-orange. I picked a different photo for that one. I am thinking of hand-stitching it.

Watch for a future post!

Fabric Portraits

Picture of a book cover with a quilted portrait

This latest piece I’ve just created is different from what I normally do.

Here you can see one of my previous portraits.

This portrait was created for my beginner portrait course – Introduction to Portraits.

And that is the one that I used in my recently published book that is the essence of that course in book form.

Watch for an announcement on a study group to go along with this book.

If you already have the book, you may be interested in checking out the kit that has all the essentials for creating the portrait.

I’m Published in Art quilting Studio magazine!

A few months ago an editor at Art Quilting Studio magazine approached me about submitting some of my work for the magazine. Some wonderful news came shortly afterward.

Firstly, my work was accepted for publication! Secondly, it would be a Series Showcase feature article that they scheduled for the September (Fall) issue of the magazine.

Much happy dancing here!

That issue of the magazine is now on the newsstands. 

Cover of the Fall issue of Art Quilting Magazine

Picture of art quilt with man and motorized bicycle

Capturing Character in Fabric

Photo of magazine spread showing art quilts


I hope that you will check it out!

Can’t find a copy? You can get one here.

8 Ways to Get Yourself Unstuck

Getting unstuck can be hard to do.

Quilters, and others, are having trouble getting going these days. It’s tricky because we’re all feeling a little discombobulated. Don’t you just love that word! For those of you who are not familiar with that word, it means disconcerted and confused which to me describes the feeling perfectly!

We’re feeling stuck. We’re feeling like we don’t want to do much of anything. We don’t feel well. Things aren’t normal. I know they call it the “new normal”, but it just makes it so difficult sometimes to get up the enthusiasm to get going and actually work on some projects and/or be creative in any way.

Here are eight ways to get unstuck

A Survey

The Canadian Quilters’ Association did a survey of their members to see how quilters were dealing with the current circumstances. Making masks was a biggie.


piles of fabric masks

These are ones made by the Rayside Balfour Quilt Guild

A lot of people have been making masks. And that is a really good thing to do because it gives one a sense of control. You feel like you’re doing something about the issues that we’re dealing with right at the moment and helping others out. 

There is that good feeling of accomplishment. One which, hopefully at some point, leads to looking at what projects you have lying around that you would also like to work on.

Finishing UFO’s

A lot of people are pulling out all their UFO’s and actually completing them. Again achieving a sense of control. Believe me, I think that’s a wonderful idea. I’ve got a few I should be working on!


floral quilt


Another idea was cleaning your quilting area.  Get into the quilting area or studio and start tidying, putting stuff away, and sorting stuff out. This, again, can give you a real sense of control over your environment and a feeling of satisfaction with a job well done. And it feels so good to have everything nice and tidy again and often leads to finding something that sparks your interest.

picture of quilt studio

When I’m working on a project, stuff gets everywhere. I end up with piles of fabric all over the place. Although, I do have to be kind of careful about that. I have a cat who, if I leave any fabric out whatsoever, likes to lie on it and therefore it gets very furry, very fast. So I tend to have a big basket where I put things away at the end of each day.

But I’m getting a bit sidetracked here!

A Sense of Play

Another idea that people had was playing with scraps, taking out all your scraps and trying to find things you could do with them. Perhaps sewing a bunch of little scraps together or making fabric out of all your little scraps. Fabric beads are really cool to do too. Check Google or YouTube for tutorials online.

Fabric Leftovers – Simple Adaptable Ways to Use up Scraps” by D’Arcy-Jean Milne is one book that is all about using little scraps of fabric. Another book is “Quilters Playtime” – Games with Fabrics” by Dianne S. Hire, where the author takes you through a variety of games with bits of fabric that create interesting blocks or segments and shows you how you can combine those pieces into art quilts.

By doing that, you’re getting back to a sense of play which gives you joy. And I think it’s joy that we need so much now and that feeling of hope that we’re moving forward, that we’re actually doing something. We’re not just sitting and stagnating. It is a really good feeling to have at this point in time.

Fondling Fabric

We’re quilters and we love fondling fabric! So decide to go through your fabrics and see which ones are being used the most? Maybe they should be front and centre. Are there ones that are used for other times when you just need to make a block for a quilt for a friend or a quilting group and can be stored elsewhere.

Do you like to sort your fabrics by colour or design? Have they gotten mixed up and could use some sorting? Or just look at all your fabrics and take them out and dream about a future project!


Connecting with Friends (or Family)

One big thing that has been helpful for me during this time is getting online on Zoom, with my regular quilt group.  We meet once a month online for about five hours and we can still have our lunch together and we can still see what everybody is doing.

People can hold things up and show us exactly what they’re working on, ask for advice and it’s a wonderful feeling to be able to reconnect with people, at least in some way. Definitely not the same as person to person. Well, in person, so to speak. But it’s kind of cool because you can see what people are working on and sometimes you get a little mini-tour of their quilting area if you’re lucky. 

woman at a design wallOnline get-togethers

On a Zoom call recently with my class (fabric portraits), one woman said she’d never been in Zoom meeting before. She had had a number of opportunities to meet up with other quilters on Zoom but hadn’t because she thought it would be too difficult and was very pleasantly surprised to find out that it was really, really easy. Her plans are now to take advantage of more of those opportunities and she is very excited about the prospect.

So, this is something to keep in mind if you’re feeling like you’re missing your friends and/or family. Give yourself a break and just try it. You might find out like she did, that it’s really quite a simple process.

Here are some simple instructions for using Zoom:

Once a meeting is set up and someone sends you the link, all you do is click the Zoom link. If it says to download, you download Zoom and boom you’re in and you can see people face to face and you can share whatever it is that you are working on. And if you’re on a big computer especially, you’ve got a really big field of view.


Browsing through Books

stack of art quilting books

Sometimes you have the feeling that you just don’t want to do anything. That feeling of being very heavy and like the energy has departed and gone elsewhere. Try pulling out some of those quilting or art quilting books and flip through them. Who knows what treasures you may find!

And if you’re like me, you buy all those books and you browse through them when you first get them, but you don’t necessarily spend a lot of time reading and trying things out.  Now you discover that there are all kinds of cool ideas in there and you get inspired to try something new!

What about those Quilting Arts magazines that you bought and never looked at again? Pull them out and look through them. Look for things that you can try with the supplies you have on hand so that you won’t have to go out and find them. Trying new things can really get your energy levels up and you unstuck.

It can be simple things that really help to generate that feeling of excitement, feeling up, and wanting to play again. 

A News Diet

Have you become just a touch obsessive about checking the news all the time. You know, how many cases were there lately? What are the restrictions now? What is the latest thing to worry about?

Try cutting back to once a day.

My plan is five to 10 minutes to check out what’s happening in the world, and that’s it. And I have found now that some days I don’t even look anymore. So it’s gotten to be every couple of days.

I recognize that we’re very, very lucky here in Manitoba as there are very, very few cases of Covid 19. So we’ve been very blessed that way. We’re kind of trying to keep it that way. But still, I’m trying to avoid too much exposure to too much negativity. So I’m really reducing my exposure to the news.

Favourite Shows

Have you found any fun TV shows? Maybe you have a favourite show that you like and you can just kind of bliss out, not thinking about anything too much. Just follow the show and see what happens there and that can be a really comforting kind of thing too.

I love mysteries, particularly British mystery shows on TV. I know that I am currently addicted to Acorn TV! And that’s my evening perk – to pick one of those shows and take the time to watch it.

Finding Your Sense of Play

The trick is to find any little thing that feels more like play rather than a “have to”.   That will provide a really good opportunity to move forward with your creativity and get unstuck!

You know, digging in your drawer of goodies, maybe it’s not a drawer or maybe it’s shelves. Digging through all those wonderful art supplies that you bought once upon a time and thought that you were going to do a lot with.

What art supplies do you have hidden away?

I just pulled some out. I think they are called gel pastels or something like that. And they were really fun to play with. And I hadn’t really done very much with them. That playtime gave me some ideas for how I might use them in future projects.


Maybe you have a set of Inktense pencils. Have you done much with them?

I had a couple from a little mini-workshop that I had attended. I really wasn’t sure how to use them so therefore I wasn’t doing much with them. But I wanted to learn so I bought a set as a treat for myself and the first thing I did, which was really fun, useful too, was a chart of all the different colours. That wasn’t anything particularly earthshaking, but it didn’t have to be.

It’s just finding an activity that is going to lead you back into a sense of calm, a sense of wanting to create again. And for some people that may not be quilting, but instead knitting or crocheting, or maybe playing with paper.


Which brings me to my friend, Geesje Baron, look her up on YouTube. She does some really interesting different multimedia kinds of things. One I played with the other day was using a napkin, a piece of sheer and some tea leaves and created a textured paper-like piece. 

And that was really, really fun. How much I’ll use it, I don’t know. The pieces have been tucked away for now, but I’ve been thinking about them. For a small art piece, the “paper” would be a very interesting kind of textural background. The fun was in the doing – just trying something new. Check YouTube out as Geesje’s been doing a number of other things such as creating books and doing stamping. So if you’re looking for a little bit of inspiration, YouTube can be a source of inspiration.

What will you try?

It’s all about figuring out what is going to help you move forward because we can get really, really stuck.  Then we are afraid of trying things or of doing anything creative at all. It’s really important to try to keep that flow of creativity going so that you don’t get totally stuck.

So, again, dig into that pile of art supplies that you’ve got. See what might be interesting there. Play with your fabrics. Pull them out. Sort them. It can reacquaint you with all the beautiful colours and patterns you have in your fabrics. Clean your quilting area or play with scraps. All these kinds of things can really help you move forward. 

One of the big things is getting together with friends (online) because that really gives you a sense of connection. Other than my quilting group, I also meet once a week with a couple of friends who do hand embroidery. And we chat about anything and everything and how things are going at our end, that kind of thing. How the gardens are growing and our families. It feels afterwards like you have had a little mini vacation.

Hopefully, the weather is wonderful where you are and you can get outside and maybe enjoy the great outdoors and maybe take some photographs, which you might decide later to turn into something new and wonderful or not. Maybe just do a little gardening.

Whatever “it” is give it a try!

It is my hope that these suggestions will help you to get unstuck!

For further resources check out:

Choosing a Photograph for a Fabric Portrait

Choosing a Photograph for a Fabric Portrait

When teaching a fabric portrait workshop, the question I get asked most often is “How can I know that I am choosing a good photograph to use for my portrait?” 

Choosing a photograph can be an easy process by paying attention to the following tips.

Use these tips for a stress-free experience!


1. Head and shoulders photograph

For someone starting out doing fabric portraits, it is best to start with a photo that shows only the head and shoulders of a subject.

This generally means that the photographer got closer to their subject and that you have a clearer, larger image to use.

This also means that it will be a manageable size for a first attempt

Portrait photo of a older woman. Fits with the text about a head and shoulders photo.

Head and Shoulders Photo

2. The lighting is balanced.

You want a photo that shows good light and dark areas (contrast) like this one:

Example of photo with good lighting. Fits with the text on lighting.

Even lighting

a. Avoid Photos where the lighting is Not balanced

If the lighting is too bright, it will be hard to distinguish the planes of the face and will make it very difficult to create a pattern for the portrait.

Here you can see that the detail on one side of the face is lost. 

Face overexposed in a photo.

Too bright

b. On the other hand, if the lighting is inadequate, the face will be all dark and it will again be hard to distinguish the correct values and the details of the features.

Underexposed photo of a man. Relevant to the text on lighting.

Too dark

 Lighting is insufficient. Photo is too dark.

 3. Copyright-free Photograph

You want to be sure that you have the right to use the photograph that you choose. 

The person in the photo has some say in how the photo is used and the photographer holds the copyright for the photo, particularly if it is one taken of a famous person.

Ask for permission to use a photo and get that permission stated in writing (emails are OK).

There are a number of free image sites that provide copyright-free photos.

Just be sure to check their rules of use.

Some sites for free photos are:


4. Have a good quality photograph

size and quality matter

Since you will be enlarging the photo for your fabric portrait it is a good idea to choose a good quality photo in the beginning.

The best size to have is no smaller than 6″ x 8″ (15cm x 20cm), taking into account tip #1 above.

Or at least 1mb in size when scanned into the computer.

Small photos with a number of people in them generally do not enlarge well for a portrait.

As well, blurry photos make it difficult to accurately determine the outlines of the features and without this critical element; the resulting portrait will look distorted.


5. Choose a photo for your fabric portrait that tells a story

Choose a photo that intrigues you. You will find it more interesting to work on the portrait if it tells a story.

My method for choosing photos is to look at the expression on a face, the clothes and or/the stance of the person. The combination of these elements adds to the interest and appeal of the portrait.

For example:

You may want to create a portrait of a grandchild.

Do you have a photo that shows them doing something memorable?

If the photo is of a parent or spouse, is there one that shows them as you most like to think of them? 

Does it tell a story or create a mood?

These are all elements that add interest to a portrait.

Lite Steam A Seam 2® – Top 10 Tips for Success

Tackiness and Lite Steam A Seam 2® 

1. Buy the Steam A Seam 2 Lite® on the roll. In my classes, we have found that the sheets in the packages seem less tacky and are more difficult to get to stick to the fabric.

2. Be sure to wash all fabrics before using  Lite Steam A Seam 2 as it will then stick to the fabric better.

3. If the Lite Steam A Seam 2 will not stick to a particular fabric, then layer (sandwich) the fabric, with fusible, with one side of the paper removed (sticky side against the back (wrong side) of the fabric), and the other piece of release paper still in place.

Place this sandwich on your ironing board and quickly run an iron, set on medium heat, over the fabric side of the sandwich. Check to see if the Steam a Seam is sticking to the fabric. If not, then repeat this procedure.

Be careful to not allow the iron to stay in one place too long or the fusible will melt and stick to the paper and the fabric and be a mess!

4. Instead of pins, use Wonderclips (see picture below), or a similar product. The problem with pins is that they will get a sitcky residue on them and then will leave black glue dots on lighter fabrics!

wonder clip, binding clip


Fusing Lite Steam A Seam 2®

5. Use steam when fusing for effective fusing.

6. Fusing requires a lot of time (30 sec per section). If you have multiple layers it will take even longer. I fuse from the front and again from the back of the fabric.

7. Be sure that the faceplate of your iron is clean. You don’t want black marks on your art!


8. If when you are stitching and your sewing machine needle gets too gummed up, try going back to the fusing phase.

9. You can clean your sewing machine needle with rubbing alcohol. Put some on a piece of paper towel and rub the needle.

10. Use the right size needle for the thread that you are using. I tend to use finer threads 60 wt to 100wt). The advantage is that the finer needle size leaves smaller holes too.


I hope that these tips help you out when using Lite Steam A Seam 2 ®.




What is holding you back?

Is there something holding you back from what you would like to do or try?

There are many things that can hold us back from achieving our desires.

One of the top ones is self doubt. If we think that we cannot do something we are right. Interestingly, though, is if we think that we can do something we are also right!

Mindset plays a huge part in what we can accomplish. If we think we can we are more likely to try and therefore to succeed. If you don’t try, you will never succeed and you will never get anywhere.

Sometimes we need to act “as if”.

As if we were an art quilter of fibre artist. The idea is to think about what someone like that would do to further their skills and take action accordingly.

A second factor

–  being a perfectionist. I struggle with this one. I had a father who would rip out half a sweater that he was knitting because of one tiny mistake (barely visible) he had made early on. It is very tough to try to live to that standard of perfection as it is unattainable and makes us miserable in its pursuit.

You are never able to appreciate what you have created but instead, see all the things you could/should have done differently.

I liked my Mother’s philosophy when she was teaching to wallpaper – yes, back in the days of wallpaper! She said that I needed to learn to fix mistakes, as it was inevitable that I would make some. A much more freeing idea! And one that I try to use to this day.

The third factor

–  “going it alone“. You search the internet for clues and follow a bunch of different people to see what they are doing and try to decipher it all by yourself.

This can work for some but it takes a lot of time and energy and it is a lot easier if you seek out a course or workshop for advice, tips and tricks and get support to learn something new.

As Margaret Burger said about my workshop Facial Expressions (everything you want to know about fabric faces):

“I wanted to learn how to do faces in fabric. I was looking all over the internet and could not find the specific way I would like to do it.

The live sessions in the workshop helped me to see that other people also struggle with the same issues.

I would recommend this workshop to anybody who is passionate about fabric and art. It put me on another level.

It helped me to realize that I can be an artist. I always wanted to be one! ”

Would you like to feel like an artist and create a fabric portrait of someone you love?

Check out my workshop Facial Expressions that starts January 27.

There are lots of great bonuses included:

  • The Eyes Have It mini-course
  • PDF on Choosing a Good Photo 
  • PDF on Accurate Shading of a Face

So act now as registration closes Friday, January 24 at midnight CST.

Fabric Portraits Workshop

Registration is now open for the online fabric portraits workshop – Facial Expressions.

Fabric portrait of a young boy by a student of the Facial Expressions Workshop

Student’s work from the Facial Expressions workshop.

Fabric portrait of a young woman by a student of the Facial Expressions Workshop

Student’s work

If you have been wanting to learn all about creating fabric portraits this is your chance!

This is an online workshop that you can do from the comfort of your own home.

Check it out here. 

I hope that you can join us!



Fibre Art – My Top 10 Picks on Facebook

           Listed in no particular order.

These are my favourite groups/pages that focus on art quilting/fibre art on Facebook and I encourage you to check them out: 


1. Textile Fine Arts

 This group has some incredible fibre art posted on a regular basis. Wonderful eye candy!

  2.  Remade Fabric Collage Quilting

 Sandra Deprey’s group is low key and engaging. Learn different techniques and follow along with interesting challenges.

  3. Artful Quilting and Sewing  

 A great place for beginner art quilters/fibre artists to get started and show what they are working on.

 4. Fiber Arts/Mixed Media

 A great eclectic mix of fibre art and mixed media work.

 5. Collage Quilter

The mission of the Collage Quilter group is to provide a welcoming community for aspiring and experienced collage quilters. Our community enables learning, provides inspiration and promotes support of one another!

This is not a group that I have joined as yet but I know that a large number of people that I know follow it.


6. Canadian Quilters Association

Promotes Canadian quilters and quilting in Canada. They have a comprehensive annual Canadian show that is scheduled in different cities across Canada.

Become a member, and you will receive 4 magazines a year jam-packed with quilting patterns, information, what is happening around the country, and much more!

7. Fibre Art Network

 The Fibre Art Network is a cooperative of Western Canadian fibre artists that have regular exhibits of their work and are an incredibly friendly, supportive group. This page features not only their art but other artists as well!

8. Walking Foot Quilting Designs

 Melissa Marginet shares her wonderful quilting designs based on the techniques from her book of the same name. She also posts photos of her latest quilt patterns as well.

9. Maggie Dillon

 Maggie does wonderful collage-style portraits and often shares her step by step photos of the process.

 10. Susan Carlson

 Another collage artist who creates gorgeous colourful quilts using her personal collage style.


          Check out these great groups/pages and enjoy the tour!

Let me know what you think of them.

Creating a Dynamic Fabric Portrait by Focusing on Value Challenge

Image of a fabric portrait of a little girl.

This is a FREE challenge to help quilters learn more about value in colour and how best to use value effectively when creating fabric portraits.


Do any (or all) of these describe you?

I want to know how to blend values.

I want to be able to determine value in fabrics.

I want to be able to select fabrics in the right values for a portrait.

I want to be able to to use shading to create dimension


Imagine for a moment what it would be like to:

  • easily identify value and choose fabrics effortlessly
  • know how to blend values
  • create depth and shading in a portrait

This can happen!

By putting into practice what I’ll be teaching in this challenge, you’ll see how easy this can be.

Learn what value can do to add dimension, realism and excitement to your art quilts!

Join the Challenge Now!

I look forward to seeing you there!


Valerie Wilson Fibre Artist

P.S. Coming soon  – Facial Expressions workshop!

Starting September 16 so get on the waitlist now for the first chance at registration. 

What is it About Taking that First Step?

The biggest problem with starting something new is taking that first step. 

Often, we get stuck because we don’t know where to start or what that first step should be.

Part of this problem is an underlying unconscious fear. Fear that we will not be good enough, fear of not being able to do it at all, or fear of the unknown. So we procrastinate and “it”, whatever “it” is, is never attempted.

Procrastination comes into play and we never start, often using the excuse that we don’t know where to start. This is fear of the unknown or of making a mistake. Our inner critic warns us not to try as it could have horrible consequences.

I see this with people who want to create fabric portraits. Many yearn to create one but are afraid to start. They worry that the portrait will not accurately enough represent the person, or that “they” will not like it or that they do not have enough skill to create a portrait.

They stop themselves before they even try!

This fear can also generate strong emotions.

Even though I am now aware of the problem, I find that when I want to try something new that is outside my usual experience I get flustered and uptight. Have you ever had that experience?

If you take time out for a few minutes, or maybe for an hour or two, to do something pleasurable you will find that the feeling subsides. The best thing to do is something with physical activity involved.

Recently for me that meant going to Staples for some envelopes I needed, getting a latte at Starbucks (it was yummy!) and buying some embroidery floss at Michael’s.

Let your mind work on the issue in the background and later you will find that you are relaxed and have decided on a first small step.

Great resource

There is an excellent book by Susan Jeffers called Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway. Susan explains that fear is a built-in natural reaction to what is new or strange. 

She explains how we can reeducate our minds to accept the fear as normal and learn how to expand our zone of comfort so that the fear does not control us.

Does researching your topic help?

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

It can!

However, another aspect of this fear of starting and a way of dealing with it is to research your topic. This feels safer and you tell yourself that once you know “how to” you will proceed. This can be an excellent idea if you restrain the impulse to keep on researching looking for that final perfect, definitive answer.

The problem here is that you can get lost in the research and it becomes an end in itself or you get lost in contradictory advice which leads to analysis paralysis. The result is the same – inaction.

My Experience

Taking the first step

This happened to me when creating my first quilt. I had picked out a Kaffe Fassett design that I loved and was excited about making. Here I was taking the first step! Then I started shopping for and collecting fabrics which ultimately became a stalling manoeuver, as I continued to feel like I never had enough different fabrics to start. Sound familiar?


Eventually, I got past that hurdle. Then I made the mistake of researching. Remember this was my first quilt (so picture me nervous).

I read the debate about prewashing your fabrics, or not, before making a quilt. I was now worried about what would happen if I didn’t prewash the fabrics.

Time passed and I decided that I would wash them. Yes indeed, including the triangles that I had cut out! It was a fast way to find out the quality of the fabric that I was using.  Can you relate?

Then I read about how difficult bias edges are to stitch as they stretch. Now I was terrified to go further. What if I wrecked it! So on the shelf, it went.

Eventually, it came out of the closet and was sewn on a vintage Singer sewing machine. That quilt turned out to be exactly the size it was supposed to be. I was thrilled! That experience gave me a larger comfort zone and a belief in my own skills.

That quilt turned out to be exactly the size it was supposed to be. I was thrilled! That experience gave me a larger comfort zone and a belief in my own skills.

Kaffe Fa


Can you see how researching too much and getting information from random sources can lead to never starting or having too many problems along the way?

What to do?

  1. Just start! Decide on a first step and go.

 Take the first step is like a leap into the unknown, but you can do it! 

2. Give your self permission to make mistakes

Mistakes are a part of learning. The best advice that my mother ever gave me (when wallpapering together) was to plan ahead what to do when there was a mistake. It was inevitable that there would be mistakes. It took all the stress out of learning.

Resource: Here is an interesting discussion on the Role of Failure in your Art Practise by some artists on Alyson Stanfield’s blog.

I tell my students that if they don’t like something they are working on they don’t have to show it to anyone. They can just toss it and use it as a learning experience and try again.

On the other hand, sometimes it is great to get feedback on specific issues and find out that it isn’t so bad after all and may actually look really good to others.

We are our own worst critics! 

3. Seek guidance.

A guide can help you figure out those steps and support you along the journey.

Seek out knowledgeable people, take courses or workshops and get support when trying something new, so that you don’t have to struggle to figure it all out by yourself. 

You don’t always have to agree with instructors and may decide to do things your own way in time but you learn the basics and have a solid foundation for future experimentation.

Remember that every time you start something new and then work at it you build up your confidence and expand your comfort zone.

What stops you from starting? How do you deal with it? 

I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject!