A blog! A blog! How 2003 of me. Better late than never I suppose. This inaugural post was written on Feb 23, 2015.
I am currently on a flight from AUS ➡️ JFK, the first leg of my trip back home to Montreal. I’ve just spent 5 days at QuiltCon, The Modern Quilt Guild’s soon-to-be annual modern quilting conference and show, in Austin TX. The five days have been glorious – inspired quilts and quilters, everyone abuzz as this newest segment of quilting seems to be on a path towards reaching critical mass. It feels like the tipping point is coming and everyone is excited to be a part of it, including me.
For the flight home, I grabbed the issue of Uppercase in my swag bag from the show. And it just happened to be the quilting issue – the one that immediately followed the end of my subscription. Flipping through it now, I’m thinking that not only do I need to renew my subscription, but that perhaps that little delay in being able to thumb through it (and let’s be honest – ogle it), might actually be kismet.
In the pages of Issue 24, I feel like I am reading equal parts story of my life, a glimpse of (dare I say it) what’s to come, and a whole bunch of the reasons I started quilting in the first place. I just saw so much of myself in that one issue. It was startling. As I’m reading each article, there’s a feeling in the pit of my stomach that I know I’ve felt before. It feels exciting, but uneasy. Intense for sure. My body feels like it is actually buzzing, and my mind is definitely racing – finding patterns and putting puzzle pieces together. When I get this feeling, my first thought is that I feel like I am about to miss the boat on something great – really great. Naturally, this feeling is upsetting. It’s easy to let that feeling consume you. But I am so enjoying the articles and images that I continue reading, and puzzling and pattern-finding in the back of my brain.
Then it hits me. And the puzzle pieces start clicking into place.
That feeling is my instinct telling me that I’m about to embark on something life-changing. When I feel like something is so right, and so good that I might miss it or others will do it before me, or better than me, it is the urgency that comes with knowing what you should be doing with your life. And the intensity of knowing that it will be big. And good. And scary. And yes, life-changing. But back to the puzzle pieces.
Just before my flight I was hanging out at the gate with my friend Jacqueline of Soak Wash fame. We have been friends since the days of my store Six Degrees on Queen St W in Toronto. Spending time in Austin together was a great way to catch up and talk shop – something we don’t often get to do in person.
At the gate Jacq and I were talking about the quilting industry, modern quilting’s place within that, and various projects we are each working on. As I’m reading through Uppercase, I realise that one of the last times I had that excited/uneasy feeling…I was with Jacqueline! It was the summer of 2000. I had closed my retail store in 1999, and was focusing on wholesaling my hats (Six Degrees’ raison d’être). But, things were changing in my life and I felt like I was at a crossroads. I knew I wanted to do something else to expand my experience. In a way I felt like I had gone as far as I could as an entrepreneur without a major injection of a different kind of knowledge. And to be honest, I wanted to start making some decent money. Bricks and mortar retail is hard. And I don’t shy away from hard (some might say I gravitate to it, for better and for worse). But I needed a change in perspective.
Anyhow, one day, Jacqueline came over and we did an exercise together of grabbing a bunch of magazines and tearing out any page that we were drawn to. When we were done, we switched piles and looked for patterns in each other’s piles. We were trying to see what subconsciously the other person was gravitating towards, to give each of us some hints about what we might pursue next. It was a fun exercise, and we did uncover some patterns. The discoveries for me led me to Cirque du Soleil. When working at Cirque was becoming a distinct possibility (and even in my first years there) , I had that exiting/queasy/‘get it before it’s gone’ feeling. The same feeling I was having on this flight home.
Because I love connecting things and finding patterns, I started thinking “When else have I had that feeling?” It’s very particular and doesn’t happen to that intensity very often. So I wrote down the dates:
1989 – made the cut for Ryerson’s fashion design program
1995 – Opening my store (lifelong dream)
2001 – Cirque*
2015 Modern Heirloom Quilts + more (sorry…no spoilers 😉 )
Putting them in order, it was starting to become obvious that these major perspective changes have been happening about 7 years apart – much like the pattern that life cycle theories surmise. But what was in between 2001 & 2015? Nothing particularly earth shattering in my work was coming to mind. Do the math in my head. Start to feel a little light headed…the birth of my son L. Right smack dab at the 7 year mark in the middle. Life-changing without a doubt.
For someone who loves patterns, figuring this out has been mind blowing. I had not, until now, connected all the pieces together. Or perhaps it was that I did not have enough pieces to connect and reveal the pattern. One thing is for sure, I’m excited (and a little scared – in a good way) for what lies ahead.
*rest assured, my partner in life is not forgotten in all of this. We met a few years after I moved to Montreal, and had I not moved here to work for Cirque, we would have never met (and oh how the universe previously tried, on multiple occasions and in different cities, to unite us…but that’s a story for another time).