just do it -- moving from dreaming to doing (and discovering new passions)

What have you been dreaming about doing or trying or learning? I know there's something. Maybe there are lots of somethings. Little whispers from your spirit. Are you listening to them, or pushing them aside? There are always reasons not to start. Sometimes those reasons are valid -- you don't have the right tools or enough space or knowledge. Often those reasons are really excuses, fear, or worse, laziness.

I've been there. Again and again. It's hard to overcome inertia. It's hard to break free from fear and try something new. But it's also so very worth it each time you do.

When I overcame my inertia to experiment with lino cutting for last week's 2x2 Sketchbook, I had so much fun.

linocut, linoprint, bubbles, bubble wand, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry, 2x2, #2x2sketchbook

And I wanted to do it again.

goldfish, linocut, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

And again. And again.

linocuts, lino prints, goldfish, pansy, violas, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

I think I'm hooked.

With each one I get more and more comfortable. I still haven't cut myself. Or "messed up." Each block brings me joy. I've learned that it's best to work slowly and that the tool carves much more easily if I'm working lightly (it also keeps my hand from cramping up like it did the first time). If you're interested in learning linocutting, don't worry about needing a lot of instruction before you start. I read the booklet in my kit (extremely basic) and the tips on this website. Creativebug's fabric design series also includes a segment about block printing fabric by hand (enthusiastically taught by Lizzie House) that helped me to have the confidence to get started. The main way to learn is to dive in and get comfortable with the tools. And remember to always carve away from your fingers and yourself.

I know my blocks aren't perfect and that I still have a lot to learn, but inking up a newly finished block and making a test print in my sketchbook fills me with glee each time.

It leaves me asking the question, why didn't I try this sooner? And, what was I so afraid of?

So I ask you, again, what is it that you've been wanting to try? Why aren't you trying it? Stop letting inertia and excuses hold you back. Maybe you'll try it and you won't like it. Or, maybe you'll try it and discover a new passion. Isn't it worth the risk?

Have a wonderful, creative, joy-filled weekend and if you try something new, I'd love to hear about it!


  1. Yeah! Love this post! I've been trying to say yes to things more often these days and it's totally terrifying at times but so worth it. Gosh. I know I said this on IG but these pieces are awesome. Have you ever considered making them into fabric via Spoonflower?

    1. Thanks so much, Laurie.

      Saying yes to more things is good. Sometimes it's good to say no, too, though. I guess it depends on the reasons behind the decision.

      Printing fabric (and wrapping paper!) on Spoonflower is an eventual goal, but I hadn't thought of doing it with block-printed designs. Thanks for the idea and the encouragement!

    2. I could see the fishie print as a lovely fabric.... so cute for a duvet cover in a children's room. Anywho, keep up the great work!

    3. Thanks, Laurie! And oooh, that would make a fun shower curtain, too.

      I hope to buy a roll of plain paper, print all over it and use it to wrap the pieces I sell.

      I appreciate your sweet encouragements!

  2. It's funny, I've always wanted to carve stamps, but never "dared"! Now, you have inspired me once again, Anne!! And why on earth would you want your stamps to be perfect? I think irregularities are the most charming part of artwork! I am trying using pastels on fabric right now! Will post about it soon! xo

    1. Haha! So funny the restrictions we put on ourselves. Often for no good reason. I hope you do go carve some stamps, Judy. And I'm looking forward to seeing your pastels on fabric... what an interesting idea (that I'm sure you'll execute beautifully!).

      I love the irregularities of block printing, too, and with my most recent carvings have tried to keep more of the background bits for more texture. As for the "perfect" that I'm referring to (which I guess is silly, considering) are all the small mistakes I made while carving. And I'm probably the only one who would notice them. We artists can be so hard on ourselves!

  3. Hi Anne,
    Such a great post. You are so right. We can be so afraid to try new things or even be who we are to be!! That has been something I struggled with for many years, worrying about what others think of me.

    1. Thank you, Carla!

      I think we can be our own harshest critics. And for no good reason. Wish I could wave a magic wand and change for me and for all my creative friends.

  4. Your prints look great, Anne. Very, very inspiring!!!!!


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