The Power of Sketching – New Work

I finished and delivered the commission piece I’ve been working on for the last couple of months–that’s a great feeling.

On the list I belong to for members of Studio Art Quilt Associates there was a thread not long ago about the power of using a sketchbook to record ideas and thoughts for times when you need inspiration. I hadn’t really thought about it much before, but while I was working on the commission, I decided to try and keep some record of ideas that I’d like to try out when I was finished.

Below are some of my sketches and at right is my first attempt at a new piece based on one of the sketches. So far, I’m really happy with the process. Before I started doing this, I would have an idea or see an image that I wanted to explore and I was sure I would remember it later, but the reality was, I usually didn’t. I was also self-conscious that my drawing wasn’t really very good. But then the light bulb went on and I realized that it doesn’t matter–all I’m doing is recording an idea for later, so when I’m ready to start on a new piece, all I have to do is look back at my sketches and decide which one to work on first.

This piece isn’t named yet, because I’ve just started it, but I’m excited with the possibilities. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know I’ve been working on a series of quilts that explore color and color interactions without the distraction of patterning–I call it my Color Block series. For this one I used scraps of Cherrywood handdyed fabrics I’ve been collecting. I really like the soft look the handdyed pieces have, compared to the Kona cottons I’ve used before. To create this piece, I started with the idea of a vertical strip of wonky improvisationally pieced units. I just started sewing the units together and let the fabric do the talking. It needed to have colors that were similar in value–not too many lights or darks, mostly medium values. Then I wanted to set it asymmetrically on the piece, with yellow on one side and soft orange on the other. Initially I thought the wider side would be green, but when I put it up on the wall, the green didn’t work. That’s what I mean by letting the fabric do the talking. I’m not sure about the yellow triangle near the bottom of the strip–now that I see it in a photograph, it stands out more than it does in real life, so I may have to do something different with it. That’s what I enjoy about this process–the give and take and the intuitive nature of the design–Stay tuned!

2 comments

  1. |

    Always use a sketch book. I believe it is my ceramic training, but it really helps in my textile work. I really need to get my ideas on paper as fast as I can – plus it’s great to look back through your books and see how your work evolved from your concepts.
    Can’t wait to see what comes next!

  2. |

    Thanks Chandra! I wish I’d done this all along, but better late than never, I guess.

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