Taking Your First Step, and the Next, Again and Again

Laura Quilligan
3 min readOct 22, 2021
photo by author

I have been downsizing for the past year and a half after living in my home for over 30 years. It has been truly a challenge, as I have collected things, and art supplies that I have saved for over 20 years.

Having worked in my studio, that is detached from my house, has been a wonderful, magical, and productive experience. It was in my studio that I could explore, create a line of wearable art, observe the beauty of my surroundings, and simply be. I live in northern New Mexico, the Land of Enchantment, with spacious vistas, immensely colorful sunsets, and amazing large cumulus cloud formations. The sky here has attracted painters and artists since the 1880’s.

Because of various reasons, however, it’s time to move from this spacious setting. The reasons are part of the need to downsize, and be free of maintenance costs, as the house has aged.

Coming to terms with this reality is hard as an artist. I have dyes, paints, patterns, silk, brushes, a steaming pot, and 3 large 4’x 6’ tables. From my windows I can see for 30 miles into the distance, and watch the shasta daisies, butterflies, and hummers just outside my large solar gain windows. It has been a quiet sanctuary for many years.

However, life is filled with changes, and my art discipline requires lots of water usage, a washing machine, and plumbing usage for washing silk. It has been a wonderful journey of exploration, painting on silk (the best) and selling my work in public.
My future may include a rented space to continue silk painting.
Textile art, in general, requires space. My website for my fiber art work; improvcloth.com

Moving On

During the pandemic I started exploring mixed media on paper, and in altered books. My thought was to transfer, eventually, to a smaller format. Because the medium aligns with used and recycled things, I like the process. I love silk, and many natural fabrics, but since I’m painting on a blank silk canvas, (silk scarves) I need to purchase the silk. After painting, all the washing comes next. Therefore, the equipment is a big component to the process. Silk painting is truly magical, but it has a lifespan due to the equipment needed. I have saved many years of silk scraps as I try my best to downsize. Difficult for artists, who are natural collectors.

Letting Go

In Buddhist thought and philosophy, the realization of impermanence supports the reality of letting go. Things, as we all know, are changing all the time. One mantra I learned from a very wise Tibetan (western) nun that I repeat often to myself:

Whatever comes,

let it come Whatever goes, let it go

Just be kind

This saying, I believe, encourages a sense of flow while letting go.
Holding on to things, places and beliefs when causes and conditions suggest otherwise, can create anxiety and more stress.

Taking your first small step, and then the next, is a way to begin letting go. We can see this first small step as a new journey of discovery.

When one is on a new path, each step can become a different view, a new discovery, or an adventurous experience.
For me this is my hope as I transition into walking towards new horizons.

I would like this for you as well. xo

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Laura Quilligan

Artisan, certified Kaizen Muse Creativity Coach. Your creativity is a journey of courage and perseverance. I can help with your blocks. Wanderinyourwonder.com