Thursday, February 18, 2016

Creative Minds: Can They Work Together?

"Just wondering if you had any creative differences and if so, how did you overcome them?"

This was a question asked by one of our readers, and although I answered it, there was so much more I (Kara) could have said about our two-year creative journey, which included our quilt inspiration and a business start-up, so I thought I would tell the rest of the story in a blog post.

Teri and I have been friends for over 20 years and have quilted together for many of those. Our quilting adventures have included navigating Pennsylvania back roads together, sleeping many nights over the years on her parents' pull-out couch, and a cheap motel incident (you can read about that here), just to name a few. Our husbands are good friends as well, and they patiently put up with our quilting shenanigans. Given our long and not-so-illustrious history together, we know and understand each other pretty well. We sometimes speak solely in sarcasm, thus Teri's gift of this mug to me for my birthday one year. 

Our primary form of communication

While we can be very opinionated, especially when talking about color, we are both willing to compromise and pick our battles. During the creation of our Fairy Tale quilt, we had just a few differences of opinion, starting with the selection of which fairy tales would make it into the quilt. My favorite fairy tale was the Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson, but Teri was not familiar with that particular story and thought it was too close to the movie "Frozen," so it didn't make the cut. Although the story hardly resembles the movie, I gave up on that battle with the hope to someday make an entire quilt based on The Snow Queen and its seven stories. Not too long after our Snow Queen discussion, we got together for a trivia competition, and the answer to the final question was "The Snow Queen." I thought it was a sign, but Teri thought otherwise, so we had a glass of this particular vintage and moved on.

A quite decent fairy tale pinot

Both Teri and I are very particular about color, but we each gravitate toward different colorways.  I tend to like brighter colors, and Teri prefers more tonal variations. Our original plan for this quilt was to do two quilts; one in bright, pure colors with just fabric appliqué and another in more muted colors with lots of embellishment. We decided to start with the brighter quilt, and it quickly became obvious that only one quilt was going to get finished. Teri still has hopes for a more tonal version of this quilt, but for now, we are happy that we were able to finish this one.

A representation of the colorway we used.

During one of our Pennsylvania fabric adventures, Teri happened on a bolt of striped fabric on sale. I didn't see a good use for it, but Teri, being the greater visionary, bought the whole bolt for someday. Well, it turned out that "someday" came as we were figuring out the borders for our quilt top. One of the stripes in that fabric was perfect for our inner border, as it looks a lot like book pages.

I saw no future for this striped fabric, but I was wrong.

Throughout the the two years of working on this quilt, we had many instances of one of us saying exactly what the other one had been thinking. This happened so often that it became quite humorous at times. The last instance was after the top was finished and ready to be sent to the quilter. We were going to be taking the top in that day and needed to decide what type of quilting should be done. The quilt was on the design wall, and I began to describe to Teri what I had envisioned. I turned back to look at her; her jaw dropped, because I had said exactly what she was going to say to me. We had never really talked about the actual quilting before, so we took it as a sign that our quilting plan was a good one. 

Both Teri and I envisioned swirls and feathers in the border

There are many other stories that we could tell about how we came to this point, but here is the real reason why we were able to accomplish what we have over the past two years. Both Teri and I share a strong faith, and this journey would not have been possible without that faith. When I answered our reader that it was by the grace of God that we were able to join our creative forces, it was because Teri and I truly believe that. The last two years have involved a lot of give and take and a blending of our creativity in order to make an idea become reality. Not only have we gained a small business, a growing blog, and a beautiful quilt, but our friendship and faith has grown immeasurably along the way. We are so blessed to have you, our readers, willing to travel along with us as we continue on this story-laden path. Thank you!

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