Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Ideas to chew on...

I've been thinking that my blog needs more meaty thoughts about creating. I think it would be good for me to write a bit more about my process, my struggles and my moments of delight or success. And maybe good for you too? So, what I've been "chewing" on lately...

Last night I spent some time in the studio working on two pieces: my 12x12 gray piece and another piece that I've been slowly puttering with for over a year. I spent a bunch of time just standing and staring at them. There was a line in the most recent SAQA journal about the actual process of creating art being the very hardest part of the job of being an artist. The marketing, administrative stuff and documentation tasks of an artist are all comparatively easy. I hadn't really thought of it that way. But, it is so true. Creating an art quilt that meets the vision I have in my mind, says what I want it to say, feels how I want it to feel, and is created with appropriate and successfully mastered techniques is hard. That doesn't mean the work is unpleasant, obviously. I actually enjoy it... usually. So, I'm embracing the fact that it is a challenge and walking into that willingly.Last night, I spent a lot of time pondering ways to incorporate free motion stitching into my compositions. More and more, I think of my work as a collage.

Collage:

a technique of composing a work of art by pasting on a single surface various materials not normally associated with one another, as newspaper clippings, parts of photographs, theater tickets, and fragments of an envelope.

an assemblage or occurrence of diverse elements or fragments in unlikely or unexpected juxtaposition

(I think that's a rather inspiring definition!)


I have a regular selection of images, techniques and materials that I include in my fiber collages: hand stitching, sheer fabrics, recycled fabrics, surface design, embellishments and free motion stitching. But, I haven't used much free motion stitching lately and I really want it to re-emerge in my work because it is so integral to the idea that I am creating an art quilt and not just a collage of stuff glued on a single surface.

Yes, I've been using the stitched arch at the top of several of my pieces lately. But, it's not even free motion stitched -- I'm using a regular foot for those lines.
I don't want to use all over free motion quilting, rather I want to create a block of stitching that is part of the composition creating an additional shape and layer that relate to the other elements in the collage. I've done this effectively with simple stacks of straight lines, as in the purple lines in my 12x12 Passion piece.

But, I'm tired of the blocks of parallel lines. I want to find new collections of lines and motifs that can say something a little different.

Obviously, I need to pull out the sketch book and just doodle. Standing around staring at the needle and thread is not going to open up any options or ideas. I have to do the work. The hard work.

10 comments:

Hannah O. Koch said...

It is true, creating is the hardest AND being happy with what you have made!
Your arsenal is full of great techniques. And your work is so very cohesive! Best of luck finding that new collection of lines....don't we sometimes want lines to be so much more than what they are??
hannah

Gerrie said...

This is so amazing because I have been pondering the same thing. I have gotten very comfortable just doing straight line quilting. Time for a change or to go back to what I used to do - maybe!!

Kristin L said...

Always pushing and growing -- that's a great place to be, even if it is hard. I think there'a a lot to be said for standing around and staring, but you're right: sooner or later you have to sit down with that sketchbook or sewing machine and start making.

Joanne S said...

Could you begin with free motion "writing"? That is already something in your artistic toolbox that you could switch up.

Your passion flower reminds me that mine is still only 95% finished. Oh, dear. Well, last year at this time it was only 75%. I am making progress.

Anonymous said...

I proudly showed friends last night the back of my "Day at the Lake" hanging. We all marveled at the free motion quilting you did of a fish, turtle, birds and more. We all agreed that this hanging would be just as beautiful hung backwards!
love, mom

Diane said...

I totally agree with you, Deborah -- that thinking and pondering and responding to what you see -- that is hard, but fun and satisfying too. These days I'm finding the hardest part is the time and mental space for that sort of thoughtful gazing and responding to what a piece is saying.

Diane said...

Oh, I forgot to say I have an idea for you. Get a big piece of muslin or other plain fabric -- sandwich it with batting, and with a marker draw off a grid -- 3 inch or 4 inch squares, maybe. And let your self play with free motion quilting, trying different doodles in each section of your grid. Giving yourself a contained space might be a good way to feel your way to shapes that will work as collage elements.

k2sews@hotmail.com said...

Debra,

Check out Leah's website "freemotionquilting.blogspot.com" for some ideas. She's still working her way through 365 days of different stitching patterns.

Terry said...

I love that free-motion quilting is so much like drawing. It becomes the part of my work that feels the most spontaneous and loose. I can see a great potential for that in what you do. Have fun and report back!

Vivien Zepf said...

Wow, lots to think about. Is what I'm making what I should be doing or the best of what I can be doing? Heady thoughts...