Saturday, April 22, 2017

How I Gear Up

Goodness! I feel like I've left you hanging after my long discourse about working in a series and my intention to work with the leaf cluster image, exploring variations in the format of a series. Perhaps you thought I got sidetracked again, but no - I've been making progress, just not sharing it. Actually, I have been sharing it, sending weekly progress reports to a friend that I call on Mondays. I've used this kind of accountability enforcement before with him, and sad as it is that I can't always keep myself moving forward on my own, I'm fortunate to have someone willing to be that conscience asking each week if I've done what I said I would. These reports are brief with a few pictures and quick to compose because he doesn't need all the details I put in my blog posts and can ask questions when we talk. It's excellent motivation for me to get something done each week, a bit like the rush to pull something together for the monthly art group meetings, and it makes me feel like a student again, the one who puts off the homework assignments until Sunday night. The very first thing I needed to do was put together a "plan" for what I wanted to get made for ArtWalk (June deadline) and the annual Fiber Exhibit (sometime this fall). This was all floating around in my head with vague dates, but when the ArtWalk application arrived in the mail with its own earlier deadline in April, well,that is when I panicked and started writing stuff down. I needed to get at least one new piece completed to submit with my application and only had a few weeks to do it.

After jotting down my ideas for the two exhibits, it was time to get out the big sketchbook and start listing there the variation ideas that had been floating around in my head. And as is often the case, the more things I listed, the more things came to mind. Then I needed to start trying out some of the ways to orient the leaf cluster. I was thinking that I'd have to do more test prints on newsprint and not looking forward to cutting more paper to size and inking up my stamp. I get so tunnel-visioned that it took me awhile to remember that I could make photocopies of the stamp image to twist and turn and align in endless ways. Photographing the different variations would give me the lasting reference I would need in the future. This method would be quicker than stamping or sketching and give me the advantage of working with full-size motifs.

One of the things that occurred to me as I shuffled the photocopies around was that rather than be the focal point of a square quilt, the leaves might simply cascade down to form the currently popular long thin banner-like shape. And so I tried multiple renditions of that.

And that play led me to realize that the leaves might also form a border and not show up in the central part of the quilt at all.

From there, it was an easy transition to move a few leaves to form a rectangular shaped design.

Lordy, one could keep at this for a long time, but eventually it becomes procrastination. Time to start pulling fabrics and thinking about my ArtWalk plan - a minimum of four framed 10 x 10 inch leaf cluster variations. These will be wrapped over 3/4 inch deep stretched canvas so for simplicity sake, I cut squares about 15 inches square. The light fabrics would have the darker reddish-black paint while the darker fabrics got me thinking about a red and a green that would pop against them. They've been set aside for now, but each one for the dark leaf printing session got an arrangement pinned to it for reference.

Here are three ready to go, one with its reference paper having the size of the stamp cut from it in a particular slanted position. The others are placed using center lines or an outside line as guides but again, the reference print is pinned to one of the squares, and the top one will be stamped in the center.

I got the idea for that top one, whose background is pieced from triangles, while doing research on the liturgical stole project. Paging through a book on symbols, I spotted the unicorn superimposed on a very familiar patchwork design. I'd been thinking about cutting up that striped batik into different shapes and collaging a background, but this was much more exciting to me. And a good reminder that you never know where you'll find ideas and solutions for your designing. I printed out the image and pasted it into the sketchbook with more notes.

As I was sorting through fabric possibilities for the 10 x 10's, I ran across a few pieces the right size for larger quilts that would accommodate the entire leaf cluster print arranged in a fairly traditional 4-block design. These too have been set aside, but not without the paper variation reference. Because past experience proves I will not remember what I came up with this day weeks or months down the road when I get back to it.

So this is what I got done in the first week and a half, at the end of March and into the first week of April, after getting that wake-up call of the application due date. Planning is good, especially if the next step is working with paint which will dry up if you dawdle over what to print next, but eventually one has to quit thinking and arranging and planning, and move to the next step - printing. Time to stop dragging my feet and mix up some paint...


The Inside Stori said...

Oh ya……you are definitely working hard… the direction you are going!!

Lucia Sasaki said...

Dear Sheila, thanks so much for updating, it is so cool reading what are you doing. Your comment about having a friend to get accountable with art work reminded me that in the church we have this too in discipleship or prayer partnership. It helps a lot in spiritual walking. I, for example, tend to be very anxious and stressed about everything and I got a partner that is so calm that she helped me a lot through the years with her example. About exhibition deadlines... yes, I know them too, as in the Sumi-e classes we are counting the months until the first weekend of July, when Japan Festival happens.
Thanks for sharing so generously your creative process and your life.
It is a joy reading your posts.

The Idaho Beauty said...

Lucia, you are so right about the value of a partner, especially one that is perhaps the opposite of you. My friend is much like your partner in that he is calm and steady and can calm and steady me when I start to get stressed. I think he is even more helpful to me because he is not an artist so any of his experiences he might share come from a totally different place than when I share frustrations with my quilting friends. I love that he can be firm with me, and then make me laugh!

And isn't it amazing how quickly those deadlines sneak up on us if we don't keep an eye on them and have a plan. Good luck to you as you get your work made for the festival.

Thanks for your comments about my posts - so glad you enjoy them.