Monday, July 13, 2015

Seven reasons to think first.....

"Don't be in a hurry to get your brush into paint" was told to students by the Old Masters.
And to quilters we might say: don't be in a hurry to get your scissors into the fabric!

Unless you really really know what your doing!

Well why not?
I think the big reasons are:

1.  You can waste a lot of fabric - great for the fabric manufacturers and the shops! but...not so good for you

2.   You are more likely to play safe with color, fabric and shape choices, it will be much harder  to be really wild.  We do tend to fall back on the tried and true - there's no doubt!  And, in a way, the more experience you have, the more likely that is to happen.

3.  "Art does not need to reproduce the visible," said Paul Klee, 
"rather, it needs to make visible the invisible." Imagination 
plumbs the well of experience, memory and dreams. This deep 
place is also where design is sharpened and style is honed. 
Without imagination, work becomes dependent on reality and 
lacks the magic of the artist's personality. Unfortunately, 
many do not trust their wells to be deep, and by so doing, stay 


Starting with scissors, definitely limits your imagination - for one thing you use only the fabric that is there....maybe your design would suggest a trip to your dye/surface design studio! 
 AND the fabric shop!  but not to replace something you inadvertently cut into and then couldn't use, but rather to make/buy something you don't already have (yes that actually is possible!).

4.  You can also waste a lot of time - if you haven't decided where the darks and light go, for example, you might try the idea with a light background all cut out with dark elements on top and then think "oh no it would have been better  the other way round", then cut out everything all over again so you can see it the other way.  If you had had a simple sketch that you duplicated and then shaded in both way it would have been easy to see.  Even easier if scanned into Photoshop and values inverted.

5.  You are less likely to achieve your dream.  So many people say "oh I have this great idea in my head, but when I cut into the fabric and pin it up on the wall, it never looks like I've imagined."
  That's because those imaginings are often largely amorphous (without shape), atonal (without values indicated), desaturated (few people, for example really do dream in color).

6.  When you're going to build a house or climb a mountain, it's very helpful to know the style of house you want to build, or which mountain you want to climb.  Seems obvious, right?
the same is true of a poem, or a piece of music.  For a poem you can't just start writing down random words "snipped" from the dictionary and expect a nice coherent, telling result.  And with music, random notes that are snatched from the air, sound like nothing at all.  They recently did an experiment in writing totally random music - no note could be predicted by the previous note...and they used all 88 keys on the piano.....the result was arid, formless, atonal, and utterly boring  - except to the mathematician who worked it all out!

Here is the link:

"the world's ugliest music" you don't want to make the world's ugliest quilt!

7.  and you know, those monkeys typing away randomly never did write a Shakespeare play!!

I really don't understand  the current mode in art quilting for  chopping directly into the fabric with no real idea or goal in you?

well, perhaps a nice cup of tea will help me sort it out!!
And, if you have been, thanks for reading!


PS my next blog should be from the Pacific North West where I'm headed shortly, teaching a workshop with a whole raft of new Power Point Presentations!!  I'm always saying "make visual decisions visually" and now I'm going to teach visual material visually too!


Faith said...

LOL. I was reading this and halfway through it just disappeared! Glad the second version showed up.
I'm one of those people who likes to jump in without a plan. For me it's about experimentation. But even without a plan, I do usually have an idea of where I'm going or what I want to accomplish.

Faith said...

Nonetheless, I also appreciate what I learned in your class about planning and values. There are definitely projects when I will use planning for the reasons you've listed.

Elizabeth Barton said...

Thank you Faith! It disappeared because I hadn't got everything in and hit the send button too soon!!! How often have we done that? At least with blogs, the text can be changed/augmented.... Thank you for taking the class! And I agree experimentation is great - the more the better!

Anonymous said...

I have not been much of a planner, either, but taking your Master Class last year really taught me the value of it. I haven't done a full blown plan for everything I've worked on this year, but where I've taken the time to plan it has been to my benefit.

Lois K

Linda said...

Beautiful fabrics and colours.