On Giving Yourself Permission | Fabric Art Inspiration

For years, I have claimed that I’m creative, but I’m not really an artist. Since I was comparing myself to the historical masters I studied in college, my talented husband, and most humbling, the professional artists that I’ve worked with since becoming a part of the fine art and mixed-media communities at F+W (the parent company of Cloth Paper Scissors) I found it difficult to accept that title.

I’m still working on “owning” that title, so the following article in Quilting Arts Magazine was particularly inspiring. Perhaps you’ll think so, too. In addition to topics such as this, Quilting Arts Magazine includes step-by-step features, new trends in fabric art, and much more, including–my personal favorite–contemporary art quilts.

Until next time,

"Permission Slip" by Amalia T.P. Morusiewicz | ClothPaperScissors.com
“Permission Slip” by Amalia T.P. Morusiewicz

Mission: Permission
by Amalia Teresa Parra Morusiewicz

Once upon a time, in a land of my own perception, a royal decree invited artists to attend a fancy ball. Outside the palace, I stood in awe as artists arrived–formally educated in the finest of arts, crowned with artistic achievements, and adorned in colorful prize ribbons.

Until recently, I thought permission was a special gift that belonged only to them. I could dabble and play, but they created Art and were Artists. Wanting to dance in this world of art but feeling lost, I asked for permission, but permission didn’t appear. Instead my fairy godmother materialized as the Permission Princess. Seeing I wasn’t dressed for the ball, she waved her silver wand transforming plain fabric into a beautiful “permission slip.”

Trying it on for size, I gazed in the mirror. The veil of doubt disappeared–clearly I could see that I myself was the Permission Princess. I blinked again and saw the artist in me. I put on my tiara, ran off to have a ball of fun, and to live happily art ever after!

Wanna hear my real life story? I create, I always have, but something was missing in my art life. I thought maybe I lost my art groove, a.k.a. “artistic voice.” Seeking it, I took a workshop at a Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) conference. Near the end, Leni Wiener asked me, “What are you looking to get out of this session?” Ba-boom lightning came down, time stood still, I had my big Ah-Ha Moment. I lacked permission. My friends laugh; they view me as so out-of-the-box that they don’t think a box exists in my fearless world. Why do I need permission? I’m free in my process and creations, yet I hadn’t given myself permission to perceive myself as An Artist and my work as Art.

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I created my own permission slip from PFD (prepared for dyeing) white cotton fabric and I signed it! Along the way, I layered on paints and dyes, drew flowers, and permitted myself to play. I eventually added my creative mantras of “laugh-n-learn,” “embrace imperfection,” and “pressing matters.”

Life is more fun with friends and so is art. I invited friends, family, artists, and even total strangers (some famous, others fabulously human) to participate in my art experience. When I would ask for an autograph, often they’d respond with “Oh, I’m not important. You don’t want mine, you want hers!” to which I replied, “Oh yes, you are important. We all are!” I wanted to share the freedom of having permission. We chatted about our journeys, trials, joys, and fears. Don’t get me wrong, I got the autographs of the fabulously famous, too, often right next to the signatures of their sisters, husbands, and kids.

International Quilt Festival, Houston, at the end of October is like the royal ball. For Halloween at Festival, I dressed in my permission slip, a bright blue wig that matched my glasses, and a plastic tiara. As the Permission Princess, I was met with a wealth of smiles, giggles, requests for photos, and a whole kingdom of new friends.

Often I was asked “What am I giving you permission to do?” I shared my story and acknowledged that I had given myself permission to be an artist and to do so in my own way. As the permission slip evolved with each new signature, I began to see myself more clearly as an artist. I treasure the words of wisdom and wit, scribbles and sketches, stories and smiles.

How about you? What holds you back? Be you and be awesome. You are worthy. We all are! Come join in my fairytale ending, let’s all live “happily art ever after.” ~Amalia Teresa Parra Morusiewicz

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