Sunday, January 8, 2017

STUDIO NOTES---getting started

You are here, announces the sign. It is the start of a new year. Let's talk about getting started. Students are often interested in how to get started with improvisation. They have told me they were curious, or had a desire to work without a pattern but didn't know how to start. The conversation becomes rich with discussion of influences, inspiration and process. 

Get ready---get set---GO!

Much like Gwen Marston, I often turn to old quilts for ideas and inspiration. An antique Amish log cabin quilt with tiny logs and different colored centers had me smitten see the quilt  and has offered the starting idea for one of my quilts. When I become preoccupied with a quilt I have seen, I can work with those ideas without trying to reproduce the quilt.

Sometimes I draw a rough sketch, a really rough sketch----

and this idea turned into Breaking Trail 27" x 26" which went on to join the gallery in Free Range Triangle Quilts by Gwen Marston and Cathy Jones.

Get set---  Choosing a palette to start the quilt is part of the initial action. I select a few colors that interest me at the time knowing I will add or remove fabrics as I go along. 

GO---  Cut and sew, repeat. I cut a few random strips. I might have some interesting scraps left over from a previous project. Do one thing and see where that leads. A quilt is started without using a pattern for instruction, or expectation of what the quilt should look like. Improvisation is about self-expression after all. 

Here is what another artist has to say about getting started:  "I just put down a mark and start drawing. It is very intuitive and intuition is based on repetition." Matthew Metz, Potter, in American Craft on PBS.

It looks like one way to start is to begin!  pjb