Inspiration for my work comes from many different places. In this case, it came from scarf. And it wasn’t even mine!

Inspiration Scarf - Cindy Grisdela

Inspiration Scarf – Cindy Grisdela

I was giving a talk last month in connection with the opening of my solo show at the Crossroads Gallery at Goodwin House in Falls Church, VA. There was a lady sitting in the front row wearing a beautiful scarf. I complimented her on the colors, and I was so intrigued that I asked her if I could take a picture of it so I could remember the color scheme when I got home. She immediately took the scarf off and gave it to me! I was disconcerted, because I hadn’t meant for her to give up her lovely scarf. But she was insistent, and I brought it home. I’m sorry that I didn’t get her name so I could thank her properly here.

I kept the scarf in my studio where I could see it for several days, then I pulled out fabrics that seemed to have the same color feeling–warm yellows and golds, rich purple, and orange–plus light gray and beige.

Autumn Maze in Process - Cindy Grisdela

Autumn Maze in Process – Cindy Grisdela

I liked the curved shapes in the scarf and decided to start with that, but using improv curves instead of the matching edges in the scarf. I had some Angled Stripe blocks that I had made during a demo in Houston last year, and they had many of the same colors in them, so I added them in for some contrast.

But I wasn’t thrilled with the composition. This is a small piece–just 11″ x 14″–so there wasn’t a lot of room to play around. I set it aside for a day to marinate, which is what I almost always do to give myself some space to think about what comes next.

There are some thin dark lines in the scarf, and in my recent workshop with Nancy Crow, she emphasized the need for both light and dark contrast to make the composition glow. So I found some dark brown and black scraps and cut thin lines to insert into the design. And it made all the difference!

The name Autumn Maze came from the color scheme and the lines in the design. I mounted it on painted black canvas.

I decided to turn the piece to a vertical orientation and stitch simple lines in uneven widths to emphasize the color. The thread is a variegated range of yellow and gold.

Autumn Maze Stitching Detail - Cindy Grisdela

Autumn Maze Stitching Detail – Cindy Grisdela

Usually the line of my inspiration isn’t as direct as this one was, but I’m excited with this composition and I can’t wait to explore it further–starting with a larger size, I think. And I’m happy that I was able this time to incorporate some of what I learned in at the Crow Barn into my own work. Hopefully I’ll have something finished for my shows coming up at the end of the month in Oregon–Art in the High Desert in Bend and Art in the Pearl in Portland. Stay tuned!