I love my art group.
Not only does that monthly meeting drive me to do something when I'm in a slump or frustrated almost to the point of giving up on something, so that I'll have something to talk about or ask about when the time comes, the talking out loud and then hearing other takes, other ideas about how to proceed, can bring solutions into focus, spark even more ideas, take me forward in a way I often can't do on my own.
Such was the case with April's meeting. We had not met the previous month, which was a disappointment because I'd wanted to go over my ideas about the Dolphin Fountain quilt and some of the technical challenges puzzling me. And so that quilt sat while I did other things and even started piecing together ideas for a different fountain quilt. But now was my chance, and in getting a few things collected to take to the meeting, I actually answered one of my questions. But there was more I wondered about, how to use that piece of silk from the tie, and especially how to make it look like it was flowing down steps. I'd worked out in my head (while trying to drop off to sleep) that I might be able to mimic some dimension of steps by sewing little tucks into the batik, but I'd not actually tried manipulating the fabric. But I did now, in front of the group, and then started talking about how the silk might be arranged over the tucks and maybe a narrow strip of sheer added across at the top of each step. Others tossed in some tentative ideas.
And then, one of my brilliant group said, "You could attach the silk to the batik first, before folding and sewing in the tucks. Then it would offset the design automatically." Oh my gosh - she was right! And now so obvious. I still have some things to work out but this was such a big step forward on designing this quilt. And I'm not sure I would have gotten there without the kind of collaborative thinking that happens in my art group.