What inspires us to design? I’m not asking what images do we find beautiful, intriguing and inspirational. Instead, I mean what is it that will make us sit down and make a proper job of designing an art piece? There are many “design guidelines’ with which I’m exceeding familiar but in the heat of the moment, or very often, on my part through sheer laziness, I say oh what the heck and just plunge in! And in nearly every case I am soon confronted with a mess. So then I spend ages and ages trying to fix it and simply end up with an overworked mess!! I think this can happen in any medium, so the solution to this might be found in any medium. I can aim to improve my eye and my working process with mediums other than fiber if only unfibrous opportunities present themselves. As they have!
For, as well as practice, we all need feedback, and the more informed the feedback the better. I give a lot of feedback in my classes, both in reality and online, but I realise I need it for myself too. In my situation I’ve found it more helpful to get feedback from people who work in other mediums because they’ll address the compositional issues. Another quiltmaker would be inclined to focus more on the stitching or technical issues. So I joined a plein air painting group. My cogitations led me to the idea that if I came up with a good design or selection of colors while composing and painting in the fresh air I could translate those to a quilt design. Now this is a keen group of people working in many different mediums: oil, acrylic, watercolor, pastel, colored pencil, sumi-e ink, photography, collage, mixed media and sculpture. (so obviously they needed a textile person too!) The leader of the group drives around the area seeking out inspirational views and then we are all emailed with a time and destination! It’s great fun and one is much more inspired to design in the company of others. As well as not feeling like a blinking idiot sitting on one’s own sketching on a muddy farm track or in the botanical gardens!
Everybody sets about the task with great seriousness, and because we will all share the results at the end of the morning, I find I set to with proper intention and am much less inclined to mess about. Also there’s the added fact that the computer, email and scrabble games don’t work in the middle of a field of canola! I’ve learned a lot from being in this group. It makes me really use the knowledge I have. I was reminded of this by a comment from a student in my ongoing Working in Series QU class. She said: “thanks for Lesson 3. It's great! I may have read most bits of information, but I found it very very useful to have it together, supported with lots of your personal examples”. It’s no good just knowing it, you have to practice it too!
Registration is still open for my next Inspired to Design class at QU but only for a few days since the class begins on Thursday. I am so grateful for how much I’ve learned from teaching!
Use the knowledge!
And, if you have been, thanks for reading, I’m headed off to a grass verge somewhere! Elizabeth
PS All feedback is sooooooooooo helpful…please, just hit the comment tag and speak!