Friday, November 12, 2010

Doing the Work, part 1

People ask how I get ideas for quilts and I don't have a good answer.  I could be driving and see something that makes an impression on me, or hear a great phrase that is just begging to be made into a quilt.  I am always sure that it is the best idea in the history of ideas, except for maybe fire and the wheel.  I have a couple of post-its near my desk where I write down these random thoughts before I have a chance to forget them.

Some artists sketch out their ideas.  I don't.  Working from a photograph is one thing, but drawing my own idea? No.  Not because I can't draw (I am a little past stick figures), but because the quilt isn't going to look like the sketch when it is finished, if it does get finished.  The two times I sketched out an idea, I got so frustrated trying to adhere to the sketch that I stuffed those attempts into the bottom of a deep drawer put those attempts away to perhaps reappear as something else some day.

During the summer of 2008, I took a five-day workshop in Traverse City, Michigan, with Pamela Allen, an art quilter whose work I truly admire.  She encouraged us not to overthink what we were doing.  The scissors are her pencil.  Everything is thought out so that she develops a sketch, but in fabric, not on paper. Those five days were incredibly intense, but I came away from the workshop knowing that however the work got done was just fine.  If sketching doesn't work, don't do it!

2-color study from workshop

Restructured fabric from workshop

Next step, running with scissors ideas!

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