Monday, January 4, 2010

Music in the Studio



I was thinking about music and the part it plays in creativity.  Music is one of the most abstract forms of art (well the sort I listen to is, anyway!).   It’s really helpful at several stages of the process of creating an art quilt.


In my workshop on Inspiration we explore all the senses and different experiences as a starting point for a design: different pieces of music, poetry, visual stimuli, relationships, taste and smell, feelings – both internal, and generated from external situations, activities etc.  I play Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, or by contrast Vaughn Williams Sinfonia Antarctica…(brr!! the howling winds!) and ask them to  doodle in response to the music – from ear to hand.   Satie is another good one, or the Beatles!

The Design Wall – The Zone
After I have my small value study, and have made my fabric choices, I begin to work on the design wall.  I really need to tune out the old left brain criticizing, or being too literal at this point.  I want to get into the “zone”, the  alpha rhythm and dream my way down this design river…letting myself draw onto the fabric fairly freely within the dictates of the small sketch.  Good Zoning music for me is a capella singing – either one voice or choral…Cleo Laine, June Tabor, David Daniels, or just about any bunch of monks omming their way through a piece!  The old Ravi Shankar records (d’you remember those!) are great too at this point.

Putting it together – piecing and applique
Thse are fairly tedious steps so I always do it by colour!!!
I look for green or blue or red music!  You know how that goes, I’m sure you can divide your CD collection up into colours!

Machine Quilting
Okay, the top is sewn, layered with batting and backing..onto the machine quilting!!  This is where Bach and Mozart really come into their own with their driving complex harmonies and constant rhythms!!!  The pace they set really help to keep you moving evenly (shoulders down now!) under the needle.  Debussy or Dave Brubeck have no place here!!  We need no changes in tempo!

Handwork Finishing…
This is where I like to listen to something new, something I want to understand and absorb, I don’t need my mind on the stitching and I don’t need to be “in the zone” either…so I’ll play my newest CDs:  at present a fascinating album of gypsy music arranged for violin and 2 guitars: Nadja Solero-Sonnenberg and the Assad brothers.

Okay!! so let me hear from you – what part does music play in your creativity?
AND, if you have been, thanks for reading – or is it listening?!!


Jackie said...

Because I haven't divided my music into types, I sometimes just have no music. Particularly when I'm solving a problem, I need no interruptions in my train of thought. I have one huge mix of music that plays randomly and most of the time is great, but I'll investigate breaking it into sections. Great idea, thanks!

Nellie's Needles said...

I'm glad to have discovered Pandora Radio:
A favorite artist(s) or genre of music can be selected to make a personal music station. It's free up to a certain number of hours per month. I've opted to pay the yearly low fee so I can listen all day long to music that suits my mood/needs and that I like.

I've recently discovered zydeco music. I like the fast, steady, and lively beat of that genre for machine quilting. Otherwise, piano concertos are a pleasant background for general sewing.

Dave Brubeck and Sting are on my list along with Il Divo, Eva Casady, and Liz Wright.

When there are times I need to concentrate I like instrumental music ... violins and piano being my favorite.

Jill said...

I like to listen to Kirtan chanting while machine quilting...favorites are Deva Primal and Snatam Khaur Khalsa...

Linda M said...

When I need to be in the zone I listen to a cd of the Dali Lama chanting.

Dee / Cloth Company said...

sometimes Al Green, sts. Bonnie Raitt, sometimes Clannad, chanting, or African drumming...

Linda B. said...

I hadn't realised that I had different music for different stages but you're quite right:

Inspiration = Eric Clapton, Queen, Rod Stewart (I am my age!)

The zone - Vivaldi, Handel and very recently Göran Söllscher baroque guitar

Construction - the radio, tuned into a mix of oldies

We can't get Pandora in the uk but I do use Spotify to 'collect' oldies!

California Fiber artist and composer said...

As a composer as well as a fiber artist I have to be careful what I listen to, or I start analyzing the music which makes me left-brained again. So I tend to turn on KUSC (a classical radio station) and listen to whatever is playing. If that doesn't work I go down and chose a CD which talks to me at that moment....usually something written around the turn of the century or later. I had not thought of different music for different phases of the design process, but it makes wonderful sense.

*karendianne. said...

I really enjoyed this post! *karendianne.

Quiltdivajulie said...

Well said! Happens in my studio, too.

Eclectic? Oh, yes!

Nina Marie said...

I've found that I really can't create without music on especially at conference or in a class. I find that it pushes the world back and pulls my creative self out. That said - my mp3 - as I've told Elizabeth has changed my life. I mean, where else can you put 1000 of your favorite songs in your front pocket? You can put playlists in it for ever occasion and mood. That said - I would say that I mostly play it at radom and if the song doesn't fit - I click next. Christian Rock/Praise though usually fits mornings - dance hip/hop gets me through mid afternoons. I've been known to put a novel on it for when I'm sleepy or bored and need to stay awake.