Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Back To Textiles

I've been feeling a little guilty that I haven't had more fabric-related things to blog about lately. I simply got stuck the last week or so. But yesterday, the log jam that was my creative brain kicked loose, and the ideas as well as motivation are flowing again. And, I think it is all due to solving the closure issue on a padfolio. I can't tell you how much time I spent thinking, envisioning, experimenting, with no luck. It was a puzzle I could not get my head around although I was sure there was a simple solution. And when the solution came in a flash, I wanted to kick myself for being so dense. I wanted to use a button but I didn't want to use velcro to keep the flap in place. I was sure elastic was the answer, but I got hung up on thinking it should also attach the button to the flap. Why did it take me so long to realize I could butt the cut ends of elastic together and stitch them to the right side of the flap, then sew the button over the join to hide it? Well, now that it is done and has worked as well as I hoped, my mind is on to other things.

I keep talking about doing a water series this year based on my experiences in Rochester in 2012, and people keep saying they are curious to see what I'm going to do with it. Frankly, I'm curious too...and just a little bit scared. The idea hasn't gotten much beyond a jumble of reference photos floating in my head, this wall of "water" fabric that's been up for a year, and one firm design idea for which I've done just a few sketches. I think I know what images I want to incorporate in the series but I have no idea how I'm going to do that in an interesting way. The scared part is that I'll do this first one, and nothing else will follow. Or worse yet, I'll do this first one, struggle with it, end up unhappy with it and junk the whole series. My experienced side is trying to remind me that ideas do not flesh out until I start working - then the ideas and solutions often start flowing uncontrollably.

But where to start, even on this first design? I've mostly sketched on memory, but I decided I needed to look at my reference photos again to get a better sense of proportion in the odd-sized blocks I thought I'd be using. I need to start drawing it out closer to full-size and I need a kick-start. I chose one of the many photos I took of this fountain wall, thinking to have it up on the screen while I sketched, but the color was getting in the way. I took it into Paint Shop Pro, reduced it to grey-scale, then applied the pencil effect to it. I printed it out today and I can't believe how that print-out is getting my juices going.

While I was in that particular file of reference photos, I decided it might help my thoughts about the series and where I wanted to go with it if I pulled specific photos out of this rather huge file and grouped them in their own "water series" file. That process alone helped remind me of my original thoughts about the series and expanded my thoughts about what else could be included. Now I'm getting excited because I'm not just stumbling around in the dark, but have some solid ideas to work towards that I've organized for easy retrieval.

Of course, the problem with series is that the mind does not always go along with the idea that it must be disciplined and only work on this theme. Diversions are cropping up everywhere, vying for attention with promises of being straightforward and fast, or a way to warm up. Yeah, I know how that works - straightforward and fast often just leads me down a lengthy rabbit hole! However, "Upward Tick" is a Rochester-related idea I wanted to complete before launching into the water series. And it is on my January list of things to work on. I've already printed out a couple of possible mounts but had been dragging my feet about settling on a background and moving on. Well, today I cut a couple of backgrounds so the moving on can begin.


Chris said...

I have never done a series and seem to jump from one idea to the next. Personally I don't see a whole lot wrong with that, but I guess it would be nice to explore one idea to see where it would go. If it turns into a series fine. If it doesn't that's fine, too. Sometimes I think there is too much pressure in the quilting world to do a series. This quilting thing that we do should be fun and sometimes I think a lot of things out there try to make it not very much fun for us.

Enjoy your quilting and see where it leads.

Sherrie Spangler said...

If you want some really cool and artistic ideas for closures, find a copy of Lois Ericson's old book, "Closures."

Sherrie Spangler said...

Oops -- The correct name of Lois Ericson's book is "Opening and Closing." It a real gem.

June said...

It's always delicious to come unstuck. Congrats. The circling and circling first feels satisfying but easily becomes frustrating, then maddening, then somewhat frightening -- what if I never move out of this state? Luckly we all move on, one way or another. And you have found a good way. Of course, by now, you may be in another stuck place --snort--

But you'll keep finding ways to move along that are production and/or fun, I am sure.

June said...

And oh yes, I don't know anyone who doesn't get stuck when working on a series (or even thinking about a series). The nice thing about those stuck places is that sometimes the "circling" (or distractions) lead one to move in directions that feed the earlier path. Keep your eye out for ways that your series can be broadened or changed by the distractions.

The Idaho Beauty said...

Oh June, you always have such sage advice. Of course, if I said what you did in your second comment, it would sound like rationalizing! ;-)