Limitations: “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.” a phase that was made popular – out of necessity - during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Some of the most remarkably inspirational quilts I have ever seen are those that have been crafted combining art and utility – Gees Bend quilts, for example, and other vintage scrap quilts. They exemplify the beauty, and even perfection, of limitation.
I’m fortunate in that I have most of the tools and supplies (fabrics, papers, dyes, inks, paints, printmaking materials and equipment, etc.) that I need to work on the projects that appeal or interest me, as well as a decent studio to work in. But some of my favorite projects incorporate materials left over from previous work. I keep a lot of scrap (and by scraps, I do mean everything, down to the tiniest bits – not just strips and blocks over a certain size). It can get out of hand from time to time, and does require the occasional purge, but most often scraps get incorporated into new pieces. Working only with scraps can be a restorative, self-imposed limitation, and is often quite meditative. Removing a lot of the formal planning which might go into other work, the random surprise of working with scraps is liberating, and I find, very calming. It’s been a while since I worked on a pure scrap project (too many other pieces on the go), so I know there are plenty of materials waiting to be used!
Organizing: There’s not too much organizing or purging that I needed to do, until I looked at the tangle of embroidery floss currently being used. All the digging and picking can make a mess (yes, I know there are ways around that) I dumped and resorted several small bags of floss (that usually get put together by project so I can take them with me on trips or to meetings) and found just what I needed… or at least what I will make do with. And out went a pile of tangled threads!
Rules: I don’t have too many rules, but there is one which is a favorite. Whenever I have the opportunity, at a workshop or a sharing circle of some kind where supplies or project materials are being handed out, I always wait to see what’s left after everyone else has made their picks. Some of my favorite pieces have come from this approach. Some hand-dyed dull grey, mottled scraps were all that were left in work shop that I attended several years ago. They were so inspiring to work with that I have gravitated to those shades ever since. That experience is what made me set the “be last” rule for myself. It usually works out for the best.
Work With It: I have to go with “fast forward to content” on this one. It’s a busy week, and I hope to get back to some of the other exercise in this section for but now… content. I like the idea of considering a topic or words for two minutes and writing down everything that comes to mind. I have been considering this word for a while.
“Light” – sun joy open circle bright absorb reflect blind blinding stars moon orb spirit white clear scattering sharp laser focus eyes cones and rods god nur path ultraviolet colour prism light my way.