Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Fluidity of Designing

When I had to clean everything off my table to tie the charity quilt a couple weeks ago, I ran across this sketch. I'd looked for it earlier when I was writing about What To Do With Inspiration but couldn't find it, deciding I must have tossed it (even though I know I rarely toss anything). It's only 3-1/2 x 4 inches, a scrap of paper that happened to be by my bedside when an idea started to form. I'd been trying to figure out what to do with a challenge theme "Flights of Fancy." I was trying to stay away from the obvious, but then again, I'd always wanted to play around with undulating flying geese. I think my original thought for the center might have been just quilting, and you can see I was considering just swirling lines. I was sketching in pen, so rather than being able to erase lines, I just kept drawing when I considered the more vertical curve with traditional feathers. The quilting type feathers are on the lower part of it, but then I started thinking about reverse applique at the top. That is what I eventually went with.

Now see what happened once I got into the studio and worked up a full-size sketch. Where is that wavy flying geese border? Couldn't do it for several reasons: too predictable (and yes, there were many entries that used flying geese in one form or another); I was short on fabric; by the time I got to the borders, I'd run out of steam to design and sew them; the challenge rules said "No odd shapes;" and then there were the muses that interceded. While I stared at the finished center trying to decide what to do, I started seeing this kind of border around it. I've never used this kind of border, wasn't even thinking it. Closed my eyes and shook my head and tried again, but that border of rectangles kept fading back in place. So I succumbed and think it is a better solution than the geese would have been anyway. Plus it allowed me to use the few scraps of challenge fabric that were left and more easily mix in similar fabrics from my stash.

I don't always let go of an original concept as easily as I did this one. Usually I spend much time trying to make it work, even if I suspect it isn't the best idea after all. But in truth, when it comes to design, you often don't know where you're going until you get there. It's best to remain fluid.

3 comments:

Mad Max said...

The ancient Greeks said that those who accept their fate, the muses guide. Those who refuse, they drag.

"I don't always let go of an original concept as easily as I did this one. Usually I spend much time trying to make it work, even if I suspect it isn't the best idea after all."

Doesn’t it feel a bit like being dragged? You suspect you should be going in a different direction but yet you resist. There are times when you must have the courage to let go of a design and just let the muses guide. Or as I like to put it, you have to let the project talk to you; it knows what it wants to be.

marion said...

The flow of this piece is lovely.

Nikki said...

My quilts are very bossy about how they want to be made. I've learned to just listen to them and not fight it. They are always right.

I love how this turned out. The undulating flying geese thing is cool, but kinda overdone I think.