What is a Niche? And how do you find it?
Researching online led me to this definition in the Urban Dictionary:
1. An activity that particularly suits somebody's talents and personality.
2. An area of the market specializing in one type of product or service.
Okay, so now we have a broad idea of what a niche is. But how do I find out what my niche is?
From a quilter's perspective, your niche obviously must be related to quilting. Of course, you are well aware that quilting is a broad based term that covers so many styles and techniques. Art quilts. Modern quilts. Hand quilted quilts. Free pieced quilts. Traditional quilts. How do you find your style? What techniques work for you? I can't tell you what your niche is, but I can share with you my experiences and personal story behind my journey to finding my niche.
"What quilting style and technique am I passionate about?"
|Krazy Katz - my first quilt|
When I sketched out that very first quilt for my daughter, and worked through the process of making this quilt, it was obvious to me right from the start that I was passionate about quilting. I started out doing a lot of appliqué work. Partly because appliqué allowed me to make the fabric go where I wanted them to go. And partly because I was intimidated. What? Who me?
This is not easy to admit.
I was intimidated by the PERFECT 1/4" seam.
Let's Bee Honest.
While making my first quilt, I googled everything quilting related. I had no real idea of how to accomplish many of the processes in making a quilt. That googling led me to spend a lot of time reading quilting blogs. I found the answers to all my quilting questions. But I also developed an unreasonable fear of perfecting that 1/4" seam.
When I later started my own blog, I had a strong desire to find my niche. A purpose and a way to fill a need in the quilting community. I set out to provide my readers with quilting tutorials, My hope was to face my fears and help others do the same. This led to my writing the Top 10 Tips for New Quilters
Gradually, I became less intimidated by the Rules of Quilting. I was up for the challenge. And took on the lessons in practising piecing. I mastered that 1/4" seam. Tackled curved piecing. Thumbed my nose at the Quilt Police. Tamed those triangles. Tried every binding method known to mankind. And shared my experiences with posts about the processes and all kinds of tips and tutorials.
Along the way, I found out what I liked to do and what I did not care much for doing. I like to design my own patterns. I like piecing. I like using solids. I like making picture quilts. I like collecting fabric. I do not care much for doing a lot of repetitive blocks. I do not care much for doing appliqué. Along the way, my passion began to have a focus.
This passion, for fabric in particular, led me to an admiration for the artist, Charley Harper, whose style falls in the category of Minimalism. The simplicity of this art style appeals on so many levels. And lends itself well to designing something that can be pieced. My first instinct was to copy this style. Charley Harper's Birch Bark and Birds
could easily be made into a quilt that would fit well in the Modern movement that is so prevalent in quilting today. So tempting. But I don't want to copy. I want to create.
What can I take from Charley Harper's style that can be used to create my own unique style? What is it about his style that appeals to me? Simple design. Simple shapes. Perspective. Point of view. Repetition.
When I was young, I used to spend hours drawing animals. Those sketches were always in a style I would describe as Realism. But I enjoyed those hours. And was proud of my work. Life got in the way of that practice. But now it's back. And it gives me so much joy.
So this is my niche...
Designing patterns for and piecing picture quilts in a modern minimalist style.
My style is still in it's infancy. But I have a focus. And it is likely to evolve as I grow in my quilting experience. And I know I am on the right track. I know this because my friends (Yes, this is YOU...) tell me so. And so does my heart.
Let's Bee Honest!
Are any of you interested in joining a never ending linky party where you share a Let's Bee Honest post? Maybe about facing your fears? Or telling us how you really feel about any given subject?
Are you willing to share?
What intimidates you?
What are you doing to overcome the fear?
Have you found your niche?
Share your thoughts in the comments. I would love to hear about your experiences!
Keep On Quilting On!
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