Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Sketching and Fabric Selection

I set aside one day last week to work in the studio. I deliberately crossed several holiday preparation tasks off my list the day before. I was working on a few crafty projects in the weeks leading up to Christmas, but I wanted to make time for some deeper creative development. Plus, I have deadlines approaching.

I began by doing some sketching for the first quilt in the 2012 Series of the 12x12 group. The theme is metamorphosis. I'm ruminating on the cycle of plants -- from bulbs under the earth, to buds, full flowers and wilted stalks.

I've been gathering inspirational images on Pinterest. It's fantastic for this task! Take a look at my Plant Life Cycle board if you wish. I took my lap top down to the studio and scrolled through the images as I began sketching.
I made some notes in the beautiful journal that Nikki gave me. Plus a thumb nail size rectangle in the same proportions as the new 20x12 size requirement. Making notes (rather than sketching images) is a big part of my initial design process. I like to have a list of techniques or motifs that I want to include in the piece. Sometimes I try to make a "mind map" of themes and ideas that could be incorporated -- even if they would be very subtle.

Then I did do some actual sketching. You can see it on the right in the image above. Mostly I'm thinking about proportions and composition as I sketch. Two bulbs here... three bulbs here... one stalk leaning left.... one stalk leaning right. Deliberately empty space here... shapes overlapping there. That kind of thing. I'm not thinking too much about the precise shapes of each element when I sketch.

Then I began to gather fabrics. I pulled out some solid fabrics, knowing that I'll be adding some personalized surface design with paint.
I'm trying to think about contrast and give myself some options. I don't want the "flowers" to bleed into the background too much. I won't use all those purples, but I was a bit surprised by all the dotty purple patterns I had in my stash. I've got lots of options.

I actually got the background of the quilt pretty-much set -- it's not yet fused, but it's ready. I won't share an image of that since part of the fun of the 12x12 group is our reveal day. It's February 12 for Metamorphosis.

It was a productive day in the studio. I think I had about 4 or 5 hours of good work. (Kids come home from school at 3 pm, so my day is still shorter than a regular work day.) I was reminded that the process takes time. Five hours seems like a long time to basically slap four fabrics together to create a background. But so many small decisions go into the process.

Which four fabrics? What proportions? Cut edges or torn edges? Surface design in what color and pattern? Paint or ink? Fused or pieced? A little less or a little more?

It was a good day. I'm looking forward to getting back to work on this piece. Are you surprised that I chose mostly greens and purples?!


Misty said...

it's so interesting to see others' processses. i wore green and purple the other day and i thought of you!

Gerrie said...

Oh, now I am feeling very lame. No studio work here. I had plans, but haven't made it as yet. Darn tummy bug. This is looking very good.

Loralei said...

This is a great post - thank you for sharing your process. I am new to art quilting (though I've been quilting traditionally for a few years not), and I really enjoy seeing how others think. I especially like that you put scraps of fabric in with your notes - a new idea for me!

Kristin L said...

Your process and mine are similar -- lots of notes and prep before any fabric gets chosen. I'm not at all surprised with the choice of purple and green, but they are quite appropriate here even if they weren't your favorite color combo! :-)

Karen M said...

Its fascinating to see how you go about developing your ideas. How you managed to focus during holiday time is still a mystery, though!

Karen said...

Your post followed some interesting morning pages for me that started my creative process going again. Thanks, especially for showing your sketch book and the draft drawing. Happy New Year of creativity. Karen