Marilyn D.

Big and Obsessive

For a couple ofyears now I’ve been working with fabric by designer Marcia Derse.  I love her solids and her prints.  I’ve made lots of wonky log cabin blocks with her Enso print as the center (see photo).  From the beginning, I’ve had the idea that I would put them together in a grid, each block connected to the others with ribbon or leather strips or narrow fabric sashes, maybe 3 to 7 per block, maybe some beading embellishing each connector, all of it hanging from a bamboo rod (see sketch).   

I’ve been nervous and intimidated though.  I can’t figure out how to implement it.  So, instead I’ve made a series of 20” x 14” intuitively pieced placemats and a 60” x 60” piece with relatively traditional sashing framing each block that, once I finish binding it, I’ll probably hang or use as a comforter (see photo).  My comfort zone. 

This lesson has prompted me to return to my original idea and turn those blocks into my BIG piece.   I bought some ribbon and leather strips this week, did some more sketching, and asked my local SAQA chapter for advice on how to to connect the blocks.  I’ve resisted making the big piece because I’ve been afraid it’ll turn out all wrong and that I’ll have wasted time and fabric.  I’ve resisted making samples because I haven’t wanted to spend the time, and haven’t wanted to face the risk of being frustrated when things don’t turn out just right.  I’ve wanted to plunge right into the big piece and have it  turn out exactly as I envision it, and because I know it won’t, I gave up on the idea.

And then the Obsessive component of the lesson kicked in for me.  Now I see that I need to make samples to see how different options might work for the big piece, and learn how to master whatever techniques I finally adopt.   I finally get it that I really want to make the big piece, that I need to spend time learning how to make this piece happen, and that I’m willing to do the work.  I really do need to make the samples. I need to learn how to make the blocks sturdy enough to stay flat while suspended, to experiment with different kinds of connectors, to experiment with beading and knot tying in case that kind of embellishment might work, and god knows what other problems I’ll need to solve.  And so, I’m beginning!

The voice that tells me I’m a poser and the voice that tells me that I’m being frivolous are LOUD.  I’m working hard to tell them to back off, while I get busy.