After about 40 years of working in fiber (not count making my clothes from grade school on) being advised to set limits comes as a relief. I was (still am somewhat) drawn to new materials and creative methods like a magnet. They were my “bright shiny things” (like a magpie!). New classes were a drug—after all I had worked on my own for years with only traditional techniques. I never thought of myself as an artist so dedicated my time to good craftsmanship. How exciting to find quiltmakers experimenting with color and pattern. Some of the classes truly fed my making. Most of them taught me something about ways to create but didn’t really fit my working style. I did learn why and how to work from each teacher—invaluable stuff. And it was fundamental to test out each teacher’s methods (and fun).
Now I wish to do my own work which will include all those things I learned but with my own approach. Just recently I studied basic design techniques which has given me more confidence and better success. I still don’t know where this is all taking me but I am enjoying the ride.
I had already begun to limit my supplies to what I had on hand. For years I collected tools and fabrics. So many fabrics that the closet is bursting and it is difficult to find what I need. Weeding out pieces I will most likely never use is a relief.
Now I consciously do not seek out quilts made by other artists (fabulous as they might be) to use as inspiration for my work. Instead I draw on photographs that I or my husband have taken, or artwork from other cultures, eras, and media. I ask why they excite me and try to narrow down just a bit of what that excitement is. Still a long way to go…
Sewing by machine and sometimes by hand excite me more than other techniques. And color influences whether I enjoy working on a piece.
I took a class from Katie Pasquini about 15 years ago. I loved the class and admired Katie’s work and techniques. Our instructions were to use about 15 graduated values of many colors and use ghost washes. Many of my classmates turned out marvelous works. I discovered that I can’t actually see multiple gradations over many colors. And my piece failed abysmally. I didn’t want to throw it away but couldn’t figure out how to improve it—make it into something I liked. Studying it, I realized that to make it look better to me it needed a strong organizing element. (Life was crazy this past week so I have done a paper mock-up of what I might do.)
This was the original piece.
This is the new design.