Monday, June 07, 2010

Breaking the break

It doesn't look like much, but this is the beginning of a creative battery jump. While I took a break from my quilting, I'd filled some of the time with a major slide scanning and uploading project. I've had that big metal box of slides sitting out for months, waiting for me to say it finally had some priority. What better time to deal with it than when feeling lukewarm about my quilting? I hadn't realized how heavily it had been weighing on me; now that it is done, my energy for a quilting project surged back and I opened the studio door for the first time in over a week. I was headed for the misty fuse which got some paint.

I had a bit of an urge to tackle the Rogue River piece too, but sometimes a good way out of a slump is with something totally new. This idea has only been playing in the back of my mind a few weeks. Perhaps you recognize these shapes and fabrics - the background is the same as for the Rogue River challenge and the rest are some cutouts that did not get used in Lights of Las Vegas. I love the squiggles and had set them aside for future use - I just knew something would come to mind. Once laid out, they reminded me of primitive dancing figures - already this is going in a slightly different direction than I'd originally thought.

There'd been some issues with fraying with the non-batik fabrics, so the back-of-the-mind thinking had pondered how to secure them to fabric. It's a pain to add fusible web to a pre-cut shape (although I have done it in a pinch). My mind wandered over to the idea of laying down fusible web over the entire background., letting the part not covered by fabric become part of the design. I'd played with painted fusible web a long time ago, noting what I did and did not like about it, and always meant to revisit the technique to try a possible solution to one of my dislikes. Here was my chance. I wanted to see if I'd get a less shiny, less plasticky look once fused if I used a different paint. This time I tried the ink-like Dye-Na-Flow in Midnight blue. I'm not that thrilled with the color - it reads a bit greyed and a bit brown - but I'm not adverse to the way the web of the fusible looks.

My piece of Misty Fuse wasn't big enough to span the width of the background, so another piece has been cut and painted. We'll see where this goes - I think it is heading in a good direction. And I think getting moving on this might be partly due to this recent post of Olga's. As I said in my comment, it reminded me how many steps there are from the initial spark of an idea to the culmination of the completed piece. Often where we end up bears no resemblance to where we began, or just faintly so. When I stall out, I realize later that it is because I've expected it all to be clear from the beginning and track perfectly to my original vision. I fail to acknowledge the many steps that need to lead me along different tracks to a more inspired ending.

I loved the response I got from Olga today - it is so true as what I'm working on right now shows: "What I find constantly amazes me is how we keep all those stashes of things taken into the the brain in disparate fragments, and are able to slot them together when the right bit of input comes along to make something quite other. Magic - and great fun." Yes, indeed - fun! If it isn't fun on some level, it's a real shame.

A side note about Misty Fuse - the more I work with it the more I dislike it. I have certain expectations based on the ravings of others, and it never lives up to them. So I was happy to sacrifice it to this experiment. However, I have discovered one thing to like. I had a small painted piece of it I'd set on top of the background fabric just to see how it would read. Somehow in the process of shifting fabrics around, it ended up between my ironing surface and the background fabric when I fused the larger piece to the top. As I pulled up the fabric, I discovered that small piece fused to my cloth ironing surface. At least the background fabric pulled away from it leaving just a few specs of the fusible. I wondered if I could remove any of it if it was still warm, and this is the part I suddenly liked. Since Misty Fuse doesn't adhere by virtue of adhesives, I was able to "roll" it off with a plastic scrubber and my fingernail. No sticky gunk remained. I really didn't want to have to replace that June Tailor Cut & Press.


June said...

Lookin' good.

Margaret Cooter said...

Getting the big jobs out of the way (or even those pesky little ones) is a good way to regain energy...