I’ve been in a bit of a creative slump since I got back from Houston last November. And it’s a shame, because I had a break from traveling and had hoped to get quite a bit of work done. But life happened–there were the holidays, and family, and well–it didn’t get done.
But I feel like I’m back now!
Before Thanksgiving I put together some blocks that I had used as demos in some of the classes I taught last fall. I had deliberately chosen a color palette that I knew I wanted to use later for these demos–kinda getting a two for one deal.
This is a new color palette for me–less of the brights, but intriguing. I thought it needed a little punch, so I added in some turquoise–you know, to add the spark. I like to use an unexpected color or value to create interest in the composition.
And it sat like this for a while. I use these Angled Stripe and Improv Circle blocks a lot in my work, but I wanted to do something different with them–not just the same style I’ve done before. It’s definitely a challenge to work outside my comfort zone, but I feel like it’s necessary so my work doesn’t become stale. By the way, those vertical black lines were markers for a previous project that I didn’t take down before beginning the work on this one.
I went back to my Improv Puzzle style compositions–you can read about one of those here–to get some new ideas for where to go, and began by opening up the block with some light values.
I liked this design idea a lot, but the construction was looking quite difficult and I wasn’t sure where to go with it. So it stayed up on the design wall for weeks. I call this is the marination phase–and it has nothing to do with procrastination! I would go to the studio and look at it periodically, but no solution jumped out at me.
After the holidays were over, I decided I either had to do something with the design, or take it down and start over. There’s a scene in one of my favorite movies, Finding Forrester, where the young would-be author is stuck on what to write and his mentor, played by Sean Connery, shouts “Just punch the keys!” in that famous Scottish brogue. The point being that you just have to write–something, anything–to jump start your creative brain. So I just started sewing. Putting scraps together, making blocks, not knowing how they would ever fit together.
But that’s the beauty of improv design for me. I don’t know what it’s going to look like until I’m finished and I have to trust the process. Ask “what if?” over and over and evaluate the results.
I added some coping strips to make the difficult construction work better and the dam broke–I was able to finally move forward!
The final flimsy top is the featured photo on this post and it ended up being a little different from the image above–I always seem to make changes as I stitch.
I’m considering adding some asymmetrical borders in the light cream fabric, possibly with some striped inserts–I’ll keep you posted!
I will be teaching my Improv Puzzle class at the Enclave Retreat in Leesburg, VA on March 25-29, 2020–click here for more information and to register. It’s a lot of fun!