Thursday, January 05, 2012

Settle down - or not

My last post talked about the scattered feeling I had as I assessed my progress toward the upcoming exhibits. I've thought a bit more about that, knowing that part of the scattering is just the way I work. I try my best to focus on one idea and project at a time. But as I work, other ideas and variations and possibilities suddenly flood my mind and before I know it, I'm off on another tangent. Yesterday was a darn good example. I'm stuck a bit on the 3 x 3 discharge piece (Fading & Forgotten may be its new title), unsure how to proceed with quilting around the outside. It is slated for an exhibit with a "found object" theme. But long before I picked up that metal plate from the side of the road, I'd picked up the costume jewelry pin above, also from the side of a road. I've had the idea for using it in a quilt since I held it in my hand 7 years ago. I would love to have it done too for this exhibit, but if I don't, it can be in a different one later.

But out it has come because it occurred to me that the quilting motif I'm contemplating for the discharge piece would make a great quilting motif for the pin to rest on - something I had not resolved in my contemplation of its design. Since the background is the same fabric as in the discharge piece, maybe I could get a better idea how this garnet stitch might look without actually doing it on the other piece. I have spent several happy hours stitching round and round and marveling as the texture emerged.

But wouldn't you know it, this exercise presented an option to use in the future that never would have occurred to me either. Since I will be wrapping the finished pin quilt over canvas to mount in a floater frame, I decided I did not need a layer of backing under the batting. That's Hobb's 80/20 black batting (on the right), and when I'd done a bit of quilting and flipped it over, I was quite taken with the look and feel of the batting so heavily quilted. Sigh...see? there's no end to the ideas that present themselves and I need to be a better manager of my time if I'm to get to even a small percentage of them!

So creative idea generation that sends me off in different directions aside, I've targeted why it has become more of an issue at the moment. This is perhaps the first time that I have had so many exhibits all converging at approximately the same time. They are all sponsored by my local arts council, and all are giving opportunity to get going on quilts that have been in the planning stage for a long time. Not all are themed, but of the ones that are, I am not trying to come up with an idea to fit the theme, the theme is conveniently fitting an idea I already have. And I have long used themed exhibits just that way - I seem to need that deadline or excuse to bring an idea to fruition. If this causes me to jump from one type of design to another, it doesn't usually pose a problem when exhibiting opportunities come one at a time months apart. I work on one or two quilts, hang them in the show, take a little breather, then start on the next. Fresh start, fresh direction perhaps.

I went into this round knowing I wanted to be involved in all of them, but also knowing if I didn't get something made for one or two of them, it would be ok. ArtWalk is my main focus, a place where I feel I can shine and show off my latest direction. Now that I have taken a more reasoned look at my original (and I'll admit a bit panicked) plan, my direction is becoming more clear. I can do this, and enjoy the process, explore away but know when to rein that in as well. Frankly, it feels good to be working like this, and bit by bit, I see common threads, how some may work together, how things may shuffle, what needs to be set aside for another time. The important thing is, I'm working - with enthusiasm.


bj parady said...

You know what? It will all work out in the end, as it should. I look at my pieces and see scattered, random ideas that are unrelated. Others look at them and see continuity. I don't understand why I can't see my voice and others can, but there it is. All you can do is make art.

June said...

Glad its feeling good -- it's looking good! And the way you work is, as bj said, the process that works out in the end. Carry on, m'dear, carry on!