Thursday, May 3, 2012


Monday 16th April:
"Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working" - Pablo Picasso

Tuesday 17th:
I've kept up with my 10 minute collages as a warm up exercise and really look forward to doing one each day. I have no inclination to carve but on Friday M leaves at dawn for a fishing trip in Pondoland. No more excuses about distractions getting in the way of work and I'll be seriously disappointed in myself if I don't make use of this quiet time.

Wednesday 18th:
Re-read Anahata's Five Stages of Creative Expansion ( here). I also started filling my Twyla Box with elements for my "new" project. In her book The Creative Habit, Twyla Tharp recommends filling a box with ideas, sketches, notes, objects etc. for a particular project as it helps one to focus. I've made this a habit since reading the book several years ago. It works! The only problem is I have many Twyla Boxes lying about collecting dust after the project is completed.

Thursday 19th:
New ideas for my wood quilt have been brewing. I started this idea about 2 years ago (blogged here) but with all the other projects on the go I haven't had a chance to get back to it.

Now is the time! I have no idea how big I want it to be but there are so many possibilities.

Friday 20th:
Just begin I said.... and I did!

Saturday 21st:
Inspired by a hat made in the Cameroon....

.... which led to this.

Sunday 22nd:
Inspired by my 10 minute collage ....

... and created this.

Monday 23rd:
M is back with fresh fish for a week's worth of suppers. I feel I've created enough momentum to keep me going when life get's back to normal.

"Each piece is defined by the time, space and materials in which it was created. the process feels like being present and unified with the world in a balanced way. When I notice resistance, I pause and do my best to step out of the way and let the momentum continue forward." - Kristen Balouch (see Kristen's work here)


  1. I've been those periods where the muse isn't whispering, where the world seems empty, where fear rules and your soul aches because you just can't create and that is what you so badly want to do.

    Yes. I've been there and because of having of been, I don't mind telling you that I'm sitting here with tears flowing over a huge smile because you've come out the other side and done so gloriously.

    What an amazing wooden quilt you've begun! It is truly spectacular. Your muse is back, whispering away and you are listening and creating. And, dare I say?...feeling alive again.

    Happy dance for you happening over here in Connecticut.

  2. R-love the quilt - sometimes the richest work is made up of sits like you quilt tiles. Would love to see a wall with a whole expanse of the quilt tiles - it world be mind boggling with texture and richness. Go well. B

  3. Robyn, love the quilt idea. that could turn out to be a king sized piece! how about mixing the contents of all those twyla boxes and seeing if there are more quilt squares in the mix?

  4. Hi Robyn, I love your hat inspired tile, made me smile :-) - the quilt idea is brilliant!

  5. Robin, I am so happy for you! the quilt is wonderful as is the exercise. I love Twyla's book as well she has helped me on several occasions. I love watching your process thank you so much for sharing.

  6. Good on ya Robyn.
    For hanging in there.
    For finding what works.
    A solid beginning indeed!

    I did have to laugh re: your Twyla boxes collecting dust. I too have done that ...baskets filled to the brim w/clippings and images and tchotchkes stacked on every available surface. Some going back 5 years or more. ;)

  7. rentré de vacances.. pas encore tout vu.. mais c'est formidable quand les idées circulent... le billet sur le design aussi , extra!

  8. Robyn,


    Passing through fire is a necessary part of the process.

    I was very excited to see this beauty emerging!

    And I love getting to see the conceptual path. Especially love seeing the sketchbook!


  9. woo hoo! you got started... the proverbial ball is rolling...
    that picasso quote is what often gets me up from where i might be and down to the bench... there just is no other way...
    and i have to tell you, i just love the image and thought of a wood quilt - and the patches you make... in a way, it changes how i view the work - in a most beautiful way... i am deeply moved by the quilts of gee's bend... your work is equally evocative...

  10. "Don't forget to play" that's a good one, I like it

  11. Just found a few moments to catch up on my reading of favorite blogs. So glad you conquered the wall! Sometimes the best comes out on the other side- I think that's true with the quilt!
    I have many looseleaf notebooks full of ideas, like your Twyla boxes. In my case, too many ideas is daunting and befuddling...maybe just taking the top one and go at it!

  12. You popped into my head the other day - and I was wondering how things were. I love the way your collage and the hat translated into the quilt. Beautiful piece. I love Barry's idea, too, what a wall that would be!!

  13. Oh I love the quilt! Taking things in small chunks certainly helps I've found. And I'm so happy to see more of your work as usual.

  14. Robyn, YAY!I am doing a happy dance for you. So glad you are on the other side! I love what you have done so far! Beautiful and a great way to get back into it, one small square at a time! You have been on my mind, I am so happy that the block has moved :-)

  15. Magnificent! Each piece is beautiful in its own right - but combined, they leave me breathless.
    Finally finding your muse dancing with you again must feel so good...

  16. i so related to your post for today. i, too, just came out from the dark side-after almost a month! and when it finally broke, i could not work fast enough. all these ideas in my head had been 'brewing' and were ready to come out. i'm loving everything i'm doing.

    in the past, when this happened, I used to fight back, making myself go to the studio every day, and trying to make art. it never worked.

    this time, i allowed myself some down time. i did other things, i pulled weeds in the garden, i made lunch dates with friends, i went for long bike rides.

    days later, when it passed, as it always does, it felt great! it felt the way the morning feels, bringing on the new day.

    Robin, thank you for sharing your process. and yes it is a necessary process we all seem to have to go through.

    ps: love the quilt idea. do you 'age' your own wood? all of your pieces have such a beautiful patina . . . i'm hoping someday you would be willing to share how you do that . . .

  17. sorry - i didn't realize my comment would be so LONG winded1 Yikes!

  18. Oh my gosh,,,I am so loving the idea of the wooden quilt, and what you've shown here is just super inspiring!
    I'd love to know how large you're making it?
    I especially love the hat inspired piece,,but it's all truly spectacular!
    I enjoyed seeing yur collage work too,as I wasn't aware you did those.
    Love this post!

  19. Go Wild!

    That's my five month plan. In writing, art, life. Risk splurge plunder the inner life. The time is going to pass us on anyway... might as well make it fun.

    soon, your trip to the sea. :)

  20. Robyn - your quilt idea is brilliant - each part small, achievable and then all together - amazing. That Twyla Tharp book has helped me many times.
    This art-life can be so cyclic - we can only ride the waves as they come.

    Smile, play, work, rest, repeat! Happy you are pushing through . . .

  21. Good to see that your muse has caught up to you (or is it the other way around?). What an inspiration this quilt is.

  22. Tremendous work here Robyn. I am sure all artists have these creative blocks and it seems to me that you have found just the right way to beat it. I love the work you have shown here.

  23. play is the key, most definitely ... so glad you are back after it. wonderful and inspiring... great quilt idea...

  24. I love how you found inspiration, it's a great feeling when that happens.

  25. I love the wood quilt! . . the small symbols . . "x", rusted circle thingies, the dots and wood projections, stripes, stitched wood, etc. I love grid compositions. Congrats on progressing through "small". Great idea!

  26. the wood quilt is fabulous. and thanks for the 5 creativity tips. i feel blocked right now both in writing and in the visual arena.

  27. Small steps leading to a magnifcent work.
    It looks tremendous, and just think how many posiblities there are by doing this.

  28. How fabulous to witness your process and to see the roots taking hold for the naturally unfolding organic results.
    you know that I'm a 'Luna-tic' and with the Aries moon comes THE beginning of the six moons of 'push into and take the action' to grow the Art/Life that we so are such a grand model...I'll share your blog post with my new 'Media Blend' group at the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art this coming Tuesday...the seven women that I'm working with will swoon!

  29. your 10 minute collages
    inspired me
    one thing led
    to another
    I am smitten
    with your carved quilt
    love adding
    one love at a time
    a rampart
    of love
    you do this
    with each and every
    many thanks for that
    and more...

    xox - eb.

  30. Wow, for someone who had a dry spell you certainly changed that in one fell swoop! All quite unique, interesting and beautiful.

  31. Your wood quilt is fantastic, a great concept beautifully executed, it has certainly inspired me.

  32. Small steps are better than no steps! I love that you showed your inspiration and that I learnt something knew about you...I didn't know you did collage too!

  33. What an inspiring post Robyn, I love the way you've found inspiration in your daily collages and objects around you and translated them in your wooden patchwork.
    Thank you for the link to more inspiration on Pinterest,simply amazing.

  34. ...going nuts over your quilt - and it sounds like you are totally in the zone.

    I have Twyla boxes... some have sat for ages, and some get worked on..that's life.

    I am inspired by the things that inspire you.

  35. Hooray Robyn, These quilt pieces are magical! I love the sources of inspiration...I love each one of these precious squares!

  36. Jennifer, yes I'm feeling alive again! Thank you so much for feeling and caring.

    Barry, I carved a wall of tiles for a small section in my mom's gift shop decades ago but they were completely different to these. I would never have dreamed of using found objects way back then. These ones are so much more exciting.

    Lyle, I cut up a few old totems to use (with the black patterns). Actually there could be quite a few found objects rattling around in the Twyla boxes.

    Kim S, the hat is quirky isn't it?!

    Thanks Lori, it doesn't take much to get going if only we can get ourselves moving.

    just jen, thank you! I'm glad to hear you also have the Twyla baskets gathering dust. Mine probably go back a few years too :-)

    Thanks ELFI.

    Thanks so much catherine. I also enjoy seeing ideas in sketch books and blogging makes it possible. What did we do before blogs?!

    mairedodd, yes the ball is rolling :-)
    The quilts of Gee's Bend are amazing and I'm thinking about ordering a book about them.

    Wim, when I forget to play I stop enjoying my work. Looking at your work, it is obvious that you have fun when creating your art.

    Thanks Robin, I know what you mean about too many ideas. As you say, the only way to get through it is to begin with one.... one day at a time.

    Valerianna, that hat really made an impression on me! It was fun to echo the idea in my wood quilt.

    Heather, we always need reminders don't we? Small things one step at a time.

    Thanks Annie, doing the happy dance over here too!

    Thank you Lynn!

    Thanks stregata, yes I feel a lot lighter now that I'm working again.

    Rebeca, it's such a relief isn't it?! Just like the morning of a fresh new day.

    Babs, I'm not sure how big it will be. Just going with the flow until it feels right to stop. The collages are just quick therapeutic tearings and glueings to keep the creative juices going. I did an e-course with Shelley Klammer (click on the link)some time back and often use this exercise to get out of a slump. Ideally I would like to do them on a regular basis.

  37. Mansuetude, you've given me permission.... Risk, splurge, plunder and go wild. Sounds like fun :-) Yes, soon my trip to the sea ..... oh what bliss!

    Thank you Judy! "Smile, play, work rest, repeat" .... makes perfect sense.

    Thanks Lisa at G. Yes i finally caught up with my muse and determined to keep a firm hold on her.

    Thanks Weaver, i think we all have those fallow periods no matter what work we do. It's a good feeling to be productive again.

    Cat, play is the key... We know this and yet we often forget.

    Kathryn, what a feeling!

    Thanks Jann, I'm back in the flow.Yay!

    Sukipoet, Anahata's creativity tips have often helped me. Glad you enjoyed them.

    Thanks Penny, I have 2 years worth of ideas in my sketchbook and still more brewing.

    Donna Iona, we're all Luna-tics together :-)
    I like that! Thanks so much!

    eb, oh I'm so pleased you are into the 10 minute collages! They can be so revealing. Thanks so much for your kind words.

    Thanks SooZeQue. How's your new grand daughter?

    Ian Foster, thank you so much!

    Lucky Dip Lisa, the collages are very quick therapeutic pieces that I do for myself but I enjoy sharing them every now and then just for fun.

    Thanks Maya, glad you enjoyed the Pinterest board. You probably know most of the artists. Whenever I see beautiful stitching I think of you'r work.

    Grrl, so glad you are inspired! The hat also reminded me of you.

    Mary Ann, thanks so much!

  38. I'm late to the party again - but I am just enraptured and infatuated with your quilt. What a perfect thing and a perfect way to do little steps back. It is stunning and a wonderful and remarkable expression. Just love it!

  39. What a wonderful creation...I love reading how A leads to B leads to C here. You are a true artist.

  40. My whole studio is a Twyla box! You see, you can ;) You make me want to revisit my square a day book, thank you x

  41. YOur 'quilt' is beautiful Robyn. Thankyou for the inspirational quotes and I had not heard of Twyla boxes, what a great idea.

    Am still blocked myself. It's been months now...!

  42. Robyn, I love your quilt idea, and the Twyla box, and the use of collage as a sort of sketchbook. Obviously, it's working for you; the piece looks brilliant so far. Getting a peak at your process and the evolution of the project is wonderfully inspirational. Thanks for sharing this.

  43. Levo daqui muitas ideias e fico com uma fantástica impressão.Um pouco da Africa que eu amo. Grato pelo seu trabalho.

  44. how wonderful to get a good glimpse of your journal.. and the creative juices and the inspiring.. love that last assemblage.

  45. You've got such a wonderful conversaton going on here Robyn--with yourself and with all of us who are reading your blog and all of us who are reading each other's comments--it makes for a wonderfully supportive net that we can rest in when needed. I was fascinated to see the ways in which the 10 minute collage pieces transferred to the wall work. Thank you for helping me to see my own studio wall more clearly!

  46. So fascinating to "get inside" the head of another artist and see the process unfold. Your quilt is quite amazing already.

  47. Robyn, so glad to see you've broken out of your rut...i adore Twylas Tharps book and find it useful in prompting me when i feel the need. As always your quilt is brilliant.

  48. I always love reading your posts but when they are about your personal creative expression, they really speak to me. A quilt can cover your body; the pictures and description of your wooden quilt covered my spirit. What a magnificent creation!

    As for the daily collage, I've often thought of taking it up again...After reading your post, I think I just might...

  49. What a lovely, clever and sincere post about inspiration! Thank you, Robyn, for sharing your process of creating and the discoveries you made "along the road"!
    I was impressed by the five stages of creative expansion, too! I'm writing a paper for a conference I was chosen to attend next month. But I lost my energy somewhere between the words and the materials I'm using... Maybe I'm in the Resistance stage (without knowing) and that's why yesterday and today I began to "ping-pong" with other "activities" that may nourish my inspiration?:))

  50. Thanks so much Fiona, I'm hoping I will be able to pick up where I left off before our holiday. Little steps ...

    Lisa Graham, Thank You!!

    Emma, you really ought to revisit your square a day! I'm a great fan as you know.

    HHnB, holding thumbs for your return to art. Just begin! I was having problems getting to the beginning stage even though I knew it would be easier once I had budged. Try the Twyla box too.

    Sharmon, we are back from holiday and I'm determined to keep moving forward.

    Manuel, thank you!

    Thanks Donna, glad you enjoyed the glimpse :-)

    Hannah, I really appreciate everyone putting in their 2 cents worth. It's hugely encouraging. Glad you have been inspired too.

    Thanks Seth, as you've proven with your book and on your blog, we are all inspired by each other's process. How lucky we are to be able to share!

    Lisa, I dip into Twyla's book quite often but I think it's time to read it from cover to cover again.

    Thanks so much Curio,. How are you?! The daily collages can be anything you want them to be and you can simplify them even further by pasting one pic and a few words or even abstracting the images... colour, pattern and script.

    Thanks Ioana-Carmen.

    Thespoena, thank you! :-)

    Rossichka, the ping-pong technique make's sense doesn't it?! It bounces one out of a slump. Good luck with your conference.

  51. I love that your "block" led to beautiful blocks Robyn. Have you ever explored SoulCollage? It is an excellent way to see deeper, below the surface of thought to subconscious energies. So healing.

    1. Laura I have thought about it but have never got around to it. It certainly appeals to me.

  52. DEAR Robyn, I am sorry to have been gone for so long, it is the end of the school year next week, and since I have been back it has been crazy. i did not know you were having trouble with your creative muse. But I am so clad she has returned with this glorious work and "diary." Now I am off to visit your other posts...

    1. Ugh! I go through these blocks every year but I am learning to accept it and use that time to do research for future work.