Subsequently I found myself going off into directions that, far from pleasing others, seem to be alienating them. I don't know where this path is going to lead me eventually, but in the short run it is taking me away from the pleasing place.
I think it started a few years ago when I had a dream of a graffiti quilt, an ugly pink field with the word "QUILT" across the bottom in big, spray painted letters. I actually talked to a graffiti artist about painting a apiece of fabric for me, but he was repelled by the idea. He seemed disgusted that I had suggested it. Now, that is funny: the idea of putting graffiti on a quilt disgusts quilters and graffiti artists alike, because the worst possible thing is for them to be associated with each other.
This spring I ran across this idea in an old notebook and realized that it would be perfect for a bias tape quilt. Graffiti, I figured, would so obscure whatever was in the background that it would not matter what the background consisted of. So I just assembled an abstract field of scraps upon which I could scribble. The day I started sewing it, I received in the mail a package of bias tape from a woman who had seen my lecture in Seattle the week before. It was all various shades of pink. Obviously, fate wanted me to execute my pink graffiti in a sort of mirror image of the one in my dream.
As my friend Barbara Brackman said when she saw some of my new quilts, "Sometimes you can be TOO abstract." Maybe so, but at least I am no longer being a people pleaser--that's for sure.