intentional white space

intentional white space

By Patricia Belyea

SEATTLE WA  White space is something designers love. It’s the empty space in a composition that creates a focus, as well as allows the eyes to rest. Typically, as quilters, we fill our quilt tops with non-stop visual delights. And we fill up our time with non-stop busyness.

Last year, I made a decision to create some white space in my life—to focus more on what I love to do and also create more downtime in my fast-paced schedule. I have become intentional in saying no. Here are some upcoming ways that this decision will affect Okan Arts and my quilting:

NO MORE OKAN ARTS WORKSHOPS & RETREATS For seven years I coordinated and ran week-long and weekend Okan Arts Workshops and Retreats near Seattle. I met amazing quilters and enjoyed every bit of the experience. Taking these events off my plate means less administrative work throughout the year for me.

NATIONAL TEACHING I am now teaching at guilds and Woodland Ridge Retreat in the coming year. So I will still be teaching! This new direction is great for me as I get to drop in and just be the teacher.

OKAN ARTS ONLINE SHOP The Okan Arts Shop in Seattle will no longer be open to visitors. It will function as a stockroom and shipping center for the Okan Arts Online Shop.

NO MORE GIVEAWAYS I hosted the last Okan Arts monthly giveaway in December. It would be hard to beat that giveaway of a Sashiko 2 sewing machine with an extension table and Aurifil thread set—with 1988 entries! Giveaways involved asking manufacturers for goods, photographing the products, setting up the event and posting online, and then shipping out to the winners. So, less work each month for me!

BLOGGING I won't be giving up blogging as I love to communicate. You can expect blogs about the interesting people I meet, the textiles I adore, and the projects I am working on.

E-NEWS For those of you who have signed up to be on the Okan Arts e-newsletter list, you will still get a little missive each month. That's where Victoria and I catch you up on published blogs, shop news, and workshop info. I understand that most of you open it to see the video at the bottom from Japan!

SEATTLE HEADQUARTERS Our Yellow House in Seattle will continue to function as the permanent address of Okan Arts. Victoria will take the helm as the mistress of the house—taking care of online orders, coordinating the sales of Sashiko 2 machines, and doing the company books. I will maintain a bedroom and workspace in our family’s city home.

QUILT MAKING Starting in April, I intend to spend as much time as possible at our remote country home in eastern Washington. This is a wonderful place for me to make creative quilts.

MY NEXT BOOK I am working on a book about creativity for quilters. I’m looking forward to moving that project along.

JAPAN TOURS This month Victoria and I are taking a small group of quilters on our inaugural tour: 2020 Tokyo Quilt Festival & Japanese Textile Tour. If all goes well, we will continue offering a January tour.

I’m working to make more time for quilting and writing. I’ll report back in a year to let you know how I’ve succeeded with my vision and how I’ve failed.

How about you? Are you creating a focus in your life this year by saying no to some existing activities?

Process Photos from It All Adds Up, a quilt by Patricia Belyea: